When Rochelle Sneddon and her husband spent their honeymoon cat skiing and heli skiing in Revelstoke twenty-five years ago, it didn’t take long for them to be captivated by the town’s charm. They had arrived at the epicentre of powder adventure sports — be it sledding, resort skiing, or backcountry exploration. But it wasn’t simply the snow sports that had won their hearts. To them, the town’s fabric – an authentic, tight-knit community that celebrated every aspect of winter – was even more memorable than the powder.
Living in Vancouver for the past six years, Rochelle and her family frequented Whistler-Blackcomb as their go-to ski destination. Over the years, the memory of Revelstoke was beginning to fade, but it was certainly not forgotten. Two years ago, the family decided it was time to escape the transient, bustling crowds of Whistler and reacquaint themselves with the authentic mountain vibes and unique community of Revelstoke. Their solution emerged when a derelict 11-acre parcel of farmland on Airport Way — just over a stone’s throw from Revelstoke Mountain Resort — came on the market.
In the spring of 2018, Bruce MacLachlan and the team at BMAC General Contracting set to work on what became an 18-month renovation and new-build project. Rochelle is the owner and operator of Studio Oak Design and, working closely with MacLachlan, was the driving force behind the design of the house and interior decor. The objective was to revitalize and restore the property to suit the modern skier, being cautious not to lose sight of its agricultural presence.
The first step was to rebuild the barn. It was important that the barn (named Musta Lato, meaning “Black Barn” in Finnish) retain its iconic shape and heritage. The barn is an intrinsic part of the property, both in its aesthetic (visually, the barn, the house, and their positioning in the valley, play off one another) and its purpose. It acts as a communal space, somewhere to enjoy long-table family dinners or special-occasion congregations, but also could serve as a place for traditional farm functions (should they choose to cultivate the land at a later stage).
Approximately 100 metres from the barn, sits the traditional Finnish wood-burning sauna. Gentle herbal aromas and soft background music welcome you upon entering. In true mountain town style, the sauna room is large enough that it can double-up as a space to practice hot yoga — ideal for stretching out those quads after a long day of skiing. The adjacent hot tub room (note, I use the word “room” lightly) can be transformed into an outdoor space at the click of a button. Three out of the four walls can retract depending on which view its occupants fancy. Et voila, it becomes an outdoor tub.
This 360-degree mountain view theme carries into the main house too. The house is a light-filled, open-plan space with a strong connection to the outdoors. The upper floor living area was designed to highlight Revelstoke’s iconic views: the Columbia River, Mt. Begbie, Mt. Cartier and, of course, Mt. Mackenzie. This is achieved through the installation of custom-built windows on all walls—they are even interwoven with the kitchen cabinetry design. The main living area of the house incorporates the living room, dining room and kitchen into one seamless space, ideal for group gatherings.
Another characterizing theme of the house is its Scandinavian inspired design. The house name “Tammen Mökki” is Finnish for Oak Tree Cabin, in reference to the large oak tree adjacent to the barn. Traces of Rochelle’s husband’s Finnish heritage are peppered throughout the property. From the traditional “stûv” (efficient wood burning stove) in the centre of the main living area, to the purpose-built sauna house, and through to the black metal cladding of the house exterior. The interior, in contrast, is characterized by the simplicity of light plywood that runs consistently throughout the house and onto the exterior walls and soffits of the front and rear decks. This style draws from Scandinavian minimalism and promotes quality family time spent within the space.
Tammen Mökki is the picturesque, functional outcome of a property that was built by skiers, for skiers. After years of dreaming, planning and renovating, Tammen Mökki is now move-in ready for Rochelle and her family. The property has been designed as the perfect post-skiing retreat and is sure to revitalize and restore the mind, body and spirit through its thoughtful, custom design. Rochelle is looking forward to a comfortable, powder-filled winter spent with family and friends in this dream getaway home.