Overlooking Okanagan

Overlooking Okanagan

The VistaLuxe Collection fulfilled the desire for natural light, a connection to the outdoors, and a contemporary style that was still casual and comfortable for this busy family as they moved forward into their new life and new home.
Video - Modern Views: Kelowna, BC


Architect: Mullins Design Group | Builder: Wilson Custom Builders | Distributor: Grand Openings Window and Door


Kelowna BC VistaLuxe Collection windows and doors back exteriorFollowing his professional hockey career, Cory Cross and his wife Shannon decided to build their dream home in Kelowna, BC, overlooking Lake Okanagan. After years of moving from place to place, they wanted to settle down at a permanent residence that they could call home.

"I had always talked about wanting to move to Kelowna just for the quality of life and [that] it's a nice place to raise our family," stated Shannon. The Crosses wanted their two children to grow up in a home that they built themselves. They also wanted comfort and stability in a space where they could entertain family and friends.

Shannon was formerly a police officer with few opportunities for relaxation, and Cory was always moving from city to city and training for games. While living in Detroit, Pittsburgh, other US cities as well as Germany, the Crosses started to formulate their dream of the perfect home. They started looking in the Okanagan Valley, drawn to Kelowna by the vibrant community, recreational activities, wineries and social opportunities.

Shannon's best friend was a realtor and showed them a property that was off-market. The owner, who happened to be home, was a big Oilers fan, and he knew that Cory was recently traded from that team. He quickly changed his mind about selling the house.

The windows connect you to the natural environment and bring natural light to the home.

The original house was built on a hillside, nestled into the landscape, with a view of the city across the lake. The Crosses fell in love with the property and the view, but the house wasn't quite what they wanted. They decided to purchase, with plans to renovate or rebuild.

The house was very cold and drafty; the single pane windows were inefficient and heating bills were high. The windows were also very small, barely revealing the mountaintops, so the outside views could not be fully enjoyed. The lake could only be accessed through the basement, and the floor plan did not have the desired flow. Realizing the house could not be renovated to their liking, they decided to tear it down and build their dream home.
Kelowna BC VistaLuxe Collection kitchen patio door
Designing a Dream
The luxury of time allowed the Crosses to plan the design of their home and figure out exactly what they wanted. They spent ten years gathering inspiration and ideas, while continuing to move around between the US and Europe. Inspired by the beauty and colors of the landscapes seen on their travels, Shannon took an interest in art and painting, and carried that influence into the design of the home. "Having tons of natural light in my studio was so important to me," she commented.

Building Relationships
The Crosses initially worked with a draftsman who drew up plans for a home. Through a friend, they met James Wilson, of Wilson Custom Builders in Kelowna, who tweaked the design and introduced them to Kolbe's VistaLuxe Collection. "The windows connect you to the natural environment and bring natural light to the home," said Wilson. "You don't want to pay attention to the window itself; you want them to frame the view and disappear. That's exactly what VistaLuxe does."

"Before we interviewed [James], we intended to meet with other builders. But upon talking with him, we knew right away we found our builder and a new friend instantly! James has been such an integral part of figuring out what we wanted. I'd explain and it was like he was reading my mind," said Shannon.

You don't want to pay attention to the window itself; you want it to frame the view and disappear. That's exactly what VistaLuxe does.

The Crosses worked very closely with Wilson, and the design evolved throughout the construction process. Rooflines were repositioned and windows were redesigned to make it more modern and industrial looking. VistaLuxe had the contemporary look that brought the plan to a new level. The windows were integral to the design, drawing in light and connecting the interior with nature. "Light is critical to a home. Especially natural light," stated Wilson.

The design required clean lines, made possible with narrow-framed, Flush style direct set windows. Shannon stated, "James knew we needed a higher end, very efficient window, but we also wanted a certain look as well. Kolbe had that look that we wanted, from the inside, but mostly from the outside… clean lines… and very flush with the home. "The challenge was to create a modern home that was still casual, soft and comfortable. Cory was skeptical at first, thinking modern homes were cold – not warm and friendly – but was convinced he could have the best of both worlds.

Kelowna BC VistaLuxe Collection interior bedroom lake viewOrganic Charisma
The Crosses wanted a home they could socialize and entertain in, with common areas of the main floor being accessible to the outdoors. The plan was to build as close as possible to the water and on the same level, so that you could go right from the kitchen to the outdoors without going up or down stairs. They desired a free flow of movement between the indoor and outdoor environments, as well as the ability to see the pool from just about any direction.

"We based the entire build on the summer months, wanting to take the outside in," Shannon explained. The open floor plan utilized a natural material palette, for a slight west coast feel: stone, brick, wood and steel beams, concrete and glass. The glass offered a fresh, organic feel. Being able to see the water from every room in the house was really important to us," Shannon added.

"We wanted tons of light and obviously the most amount of glass we could manage. We socialize a lot and love to host lots of parties and events for our friends to enjoy. So having large glass doors that slide open… to the outside pool deck makes it easy for everyone to enjoy the outside from most parts of the home. It becomes a very social home due to the windows and feeling they provide," stated Shannon.

A Natural Choice
Kolbe's VistaLuxe Collection windows and doors were a perfect fit. Unique configurations of square and rectangular direct set windows create large expanses of glass on all sides of the home. The horizontal mullions break up the vertical look, and transoms and clerestory windows provide passive daylight and span two different views over the entry. Direct sets, picture casements and awnings with energy-efficient LoE³-366 glass welcome views of the lake from multiple sides of the home. In the main living areas, outswing patio doors, French patio doors and sliding patio doors allow passage to the pool side and make foot traffic convenient from multiple rooms. A Truffle exterior cladding adds to the modern look, while elegant Satin Nickel hardware softens the interior.

Kolbe had that look that we wanted, from the inside, but mostly from the outside.

Kelowna BC VistaLuxe Collection interior bathroom lake viewRooms with a View
"The views were number one. I think even more important from what I picked up from Cory and Shannon was the importance of making sure we were connected to the lake from every room," explained Wilson.

This intimate connection to Lake Okanagan and the ability to wake up to sunlight and gaze at the water was a dream come true, not to mention the bedroom view of the downtown lights and the panoramic view from the gym. "We organized the plan so every room has that view," added Cory.

Warm and Welcoming
The house provides the comfortable, laid back, relaxed atmosphere the Crosses desired, offering a casual welcome for family and friends. "Our home replicates how we are as a family, so it was important for us to have a nice warm feel," said Cory.

"We live in a great home, in a city with a great climate. We're with our friends and our family. I couldn't ask for anything better," expressed Shannon.

Cory added, "I feel very spoiled being in Kelowna. Being in a dream home. It's more than I ever imagined."

Photos © Colin Jewall Photo Studios, Inc.

We're for the visionaries.®

Find your local showroom and be inspired.

Find Your Local Showroom