Victoria-based Interior Designer Mari O’Meara reimagines this Revelstoke Chalet into a contemporary space with old world charm.
By Danielle Pope | Home Photos by Jon Adrian
When Christina and Mike Forest approached Victoria interior designer Mari O’Meara to create their home in Revelstoke, they knew they wanted her on the job. They weren’t sure, though, if their vision could work in one of the province’s most mountainous ski areas — one that faces weather extremes, heaping snow and is decorated with classic chalets.
It would be different from O’Meara’s work on the Island, and an even farther reach from the Spanish-style L.A. motifs Christina hoped to capture. Yet, with the aid of a few of Victoria’s housing specialists, as well as local talent in Revelstoke, the Forests’ dream became a resort of their own making.
“These clients had a great concept of what they wanted, and they were faced with searching for a designer who aligned with their vision,” says O’Meara, noting that while her firm has completed projects off Vancouver Island, Revelstoke is the farthest so far. “They wanted something contemporary, with old- world flair, but with heavy contrast and plastered walls.”
Powder coated matte black windowpanes give a striking contrast to the home’s white-walled finish. The black-and- white theme is enhanced in the kitchen, with classic flair brought in from antique brass pulls and knobs, as well as finishes like the Brizo Litze pull- down faucet with angled spout. The custom wood- burning indoor grill — one of Mike’s wish-list items — transform this space into a chef’s dream.
O’Meara knew from the outset she’d be met with challenges: remote access would demand efficient meetings, and she’d need to rely on some unfamiliar contractors. The geography would present obstacles as well, with specialists needed to capture the nuances of Revelstoke architecture.
“Being that far away, you have to establish a high level of trust. Many things are unspoken, so the time we had together was very valuable,” says O’Meara. “The most rewarding part of the project was seeing how much trust they had in me to make decisions because we set the tone.”
Mike fell in love with Revelstoke years ago, frequenting the mountains for snowboarding trips and getaways, but it was Christina who had the vision for their home.
Christina and Mike Forest wanted their Revelstoke home to capture an old-world style while being functionally supportive to their busy outdoor lifestyles. With windows designed to frame the surrounding mountain range, the coved ceilings, rounded archways and classic Spanish-style features tie these two wishes together. The plaster fireplace feature is a favourite of both Christina’s and interior designer Mari O’Meara’s. The mantel’s unique curves and stucco cladding required a specialist from Victoria to be brought in to complete the work.
“The area is breathtaking. We have a half acre, backing onto a 30-metre ski hill, with views of the mountains and river,” says Mike. “For years I would see this spot while I was snowboarding and wonder why no one was building here. It was like it was waiting for us.”
While Mike wanted to walk their kids to school, surrounded by nature, Christina wanted a home that reflected the old-world charm she was used to in California, with the modern conveniences of a new build.
“I love old homes, and, being from L.A., I had a specific vision for the kind of contemporary character I wanted,” says Christina. “Mike and I agree on style, so we blew through the design process because we were so in sync with Mari.”
The two-level, 3,354-square-foot home features a three-bedroom upper level, with a main level kitchen, living and dining area, guest room and nearly 900-square-foot garage. While the home has a resort feel, it’s outfitted with homey flair — from the custom wood-burning indoor grill to a stylized media room with a drop screen and projector.
Moroccan-inspired tile and a blend of modern and classic Spanish-style pendants and wall sconces create the old-world feel. Yet it’s the coved ceilings, plaster fireplace feature and walnut flooring that brings in Christina’s wish list.
Redefining the traditional chalet was a major goal of this project. Because of the area’s seasonal realities, the roof presented one of the biggest challenges. This multi-tiered, low-sloped roof was devised by designer Ryan Hoyt to transform a functional shed-style concept into a structure that supports a more contemporary feel.
“I really wanted plaster throughout the house, but no one does that anymore because there
are so many other materials available,” says Christina. “We had to make exceptions, but I love the way it’s reminiscent of the past.”
That plaster was such a challenge that O’Meara managed to bring in a contractor from the Island to do the work.
“My favourite accomplishment is that fireplace, which looks simple, but achieving the texture and complexity of the curved lines
was highly specialized and gives the space a softness that transforms it,” says O’Meara.
Mike had seen O’Meara’s work in his parent’s Island home, and through that connected with registered building designer Ryan Hoyt, who was drafted to redefine his signature West Coast-style into something that could work in a chalet environment.
“The roof was our biggest challenge because we were trying to achieve a contemporary esthetic, but needed to create something that could handle the crazy snow loading,” says Hoyt.
Hoyt devised a multi-tiered, low-sloped roof that merged the modern feel with a shed-style roof. With the help of Revelstoke’s Absolute Contracting, Hoyt combined his plans with the expertise of builders accustomed to the geography.
Porcelain is an elevated feature used throughout this home to mimic the look of natural stone while offering a higher durability for the most active areas. The guest hall floor is adorned with Daltile’s Quartetto porcelain tiles in Cool Piccolo Fiore, while Margranite porcelain slab countertops in Calacatta Oro outfit the kitchen.
“Working with the builders was a great experience, because they could capture the nuances we needed to consider,” says Hoyt.
“In Victoria, our architecture is looking out and down at the water. In Revelstoke, you’re looking up at the mountains, so the designs harness those views.”
While blending traditional styles with modern function can complicate designs, Hoyt attributes the unity of this project to O’Meara’s vision.
“It was refreshing to work on a contemporary home that moved away from the typical open-concept design,” he says. “Mari’s work gave it a cohesion without trying to do too much. In the end, it has a real mountain-home vibe: warm and casual but still very elegant.”
ARCHITECT/DESIGNER: Ryan Hoyt Designs
CONTRACTOR/BUILDER: Absolute Contracting
INTERIOR DESIGN: Mari Kushino Design
CABINETRY: Lortap Kitchen & Bath
FLOORING: Ramco Floor & Tile
LIGHTING: Signature Lighting & Fans
COUNTERTOPS: Kootenay Granite
KITCHEN APPLIANCES: Trail Appliances
BATHROOM FIXTURE: Robinson Supply
PAINTING: Bruce Webb Painting
FIREPLACE STUCCO: Victoria Restorations
FIREPLACE: Salmon Arm Fireplace
WINDOWS: Westek Windows & Doors
PLUMBING: Johnson Walsh
ELECTRICAL: Canyon Electric
LANDSCAPING: Good Earth Contracting