The Okanagan valley was settled less than 150 years ago, and people from all over the world are drawn here for the lifestyle. So is it possible for the California of Canada to have it’s own identifiable style of residential architecture?… Certainly.
Though you will find the same-old, same-old in low-to-medium income residential neighborhoods (as you would anywhere else), there are some key features to luxury homes in the Okanagan.
Whereas brick reigns as king in Ontario and peel and stick cultured stone reigns as king in Alberta, the Okanagan valley is home to stucco. Depending on whether an Okanagan home is modern or traditional, you will find smooth acrylic stucco or textured, slop-dash applications. It seams that twenty years ago the only available stucco colors were peach or salmon, but we are all glad that those days are past. The soils in the Okanagan are light tan, while rocky outcroppings are light to medium grey, and whether stucco or otherwise, new homes are displaying colors that are in harmony with the natural environment.
Homes here are increasingly modern, but typically avoid being ultra-modern. Kelowna residents are happy to live a comfortable lifestyle and their homes reflect this mentality. Lower pitched, prairie style roofs are popular. Flat roofs are also common and, though it snows here in winter, snow-loads don’t pose a problem. Each of these roof styles are accompanied by accentuated overhangs that provide protection from the hot summer sun, making homes cool and comfortable. Residents here enjoy the outdoors. Golf, skiing and lake activities abound and these large overhangs create welcomed areas for outdoor living and dining. Outdoor dining rooms, barbecues, fireplaces, cabanas and water features are essential components of a luxury Okanagan home.
The Okanagan is blessed with beautiful views in all directions. Many homes have 180 degree and sometimes 270 degree views up and down the valley, so well placed and proportioned windows are vital. The orientation of living spaces can make or break a home and a good designer will take advantage of a site’s attributes to maintain view corridors, while maintaining privacy.
By-in-large the residential architecture of luxury homes in the Okanagan is clean and comfortable with horizontal lines and natural materials. The best homes are well proportioned and seam to grow out of the site itself. Top designers such as Carl Scholl, Denis Apchin, Bill Daniels and Karl Willms have been pioneering this architecture over the past 2 decades, and by following their cue Okanagan homes of the future will continue to attract people from around the world to this beautiful corner of the earth.