Building Blast!

A Calgary couple fell in love with the view from this lot located in Mt. Boucherie in West Kelowna. The lot was solid rock and that was just one of the obstacles faced in creating this home.

When Gary Carpendale of Harmony Homes was contacted to build a home in Mt. Boucherie, he knew there might be extra work involved because of the area’s rocky nature. As it turned out, most of the lot was solid rock. He called in Mike Witham of Rock Works Inc. to prepare the lot for construction.

“We hauled out aver 480 truckloads of rock. In total we took away 15,600,000 pounds, or a little over seven million kilos of rock,” says Witham. “We had to stick to small blasts to avoid damaging the neighbouring properties, so it took about 20 blasts to complete the job.”

After eight weeks of blasting and hauling, it was time to build. To avoid having to build 20- foot high walls, the foundation needed to be completed and back-filled before building the retaining walls. “We didn’t need retaining walls at the back or right side of the property because it was solid rock,” explains Carpendale. “The left side wall was another story. There we had some fractured rock.”

The 130 feet of retaining wall had to be done in different stages because of the distance of the walls from the new foundation. The retaining walls were supported in part by anchoring them to the natural rock with steel rods. The backfilling had to be done using a crane and by hand using five-gallon pails. Although not visible, approximately six feet of the wall is buried below the patio and the back left corner of the foundation has concrete walls that are 16 feet high.

Once inside, you can see why the owners fell in love with this location. The views from the kitchen, dining room, living room, and front deck are spectacular, as are the views from the family room and the pool deck.

The lower level wet bar / family room opens onto the pool deck. At the back of the house, a level, landscaped lot with a water feature and patio, gives the dogs plenty of room. The lower floor also has a games room, an office, a sauna and a wine room.

The ceilings in this home are quite high, giving a wide-open feel to the already open rooms. “We started with 12-foot high foundation walls and used 2-foot truss joists to get all the heat ducts and plumbing between the joists,” explains Carpendale. “The ceiling height on the ground floor is 10-foot, 8-inches, while the highest point of the ceiling on the main floor is about 17 feet.”

The beauty of this lot is the privacy factor. The house is 6-storeys above the main road and is accessed by a 300-foot long driveway that serves only two other properties. Because of this, it was possible to put the pool in the front yard. “We’ve tried to make the pool as inviting as possible while maintaining privacy,” says Carpendale. The pool has swim jets, so you can swim in a stationary position as long as you like. Or you can turn the jets off and just relax.”

It would be hard not to relax with views like these.



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