Trent Kitsch likes the idea of building things that will outlast him. He did that with Granite Chateau Estate, which impressed the Tommie judges so much they gave him two gold statues for it — excellence in single family detached home $3M-$5M, and excellence in kitchen design (new home) $150K and over.
“I was working with my dad on construction sites for as long as I can remember as a very young guy,” said the owner of Kitsch Construction Corp., who went to university in Las Vegas on a baseball scholarship, got a business degree and then a masters in entrepreneurship at University of Western Ontario in London.
“I really enjoy construction, respect the trade and like the fact you’re building something that is going to outlast you.”
In spite of the fact that he created Saxx underwear and turned it into a successful company — wowing the entrepreneurs on the Dragons’ Den so much they supported him — he never wavered in his desire to be a builder.
He sold Saxx and in 2011, he and his wife, Ria, moved back to Kelowna to start a construction company and a family.
“I always knew I would be doing real estate and construction. I was raised in a construction family — my grandpa had a construction company and my dad (Bruce) did, too.
“My grandpa, Rudy Kitsch, had Rudy’s Trucking way back in the day, and my dad’s company is Belvedere Place Development. I respect quality and design, those are the two things I’m really into, and that’s how I got into it.”
Kitsch thinks the skills he needed to start and develop Saxx, an idea he came up with while fishing in Alaska, are equally applicable to construction and building houses.
“(Saxx) was a great experience, and a great lesson in creating something out of nothing. I love creativity and design, and combing those two things. I’m learning all the time. My skill set applies to both businesses.”
But he credits his wife, who works on design, his five employees and his team of sub-trades with turning Granite Chateau Estate into an eye-catching and award-winning house.
“I don’t like to pitch ourselves too hard, I like our product to speak for itself; we take our time and do things right.”
Granite Chateau Estate, with stone and materials, imported from all over the world, speaks loudly — not only to the skill and imagination of the builder and his team, but the time and care he took creating it, from conception to reality.
“It’s one of the nicest homes in the province and it will last 500, 1,000 years,” said its proud creator. “It’s built out of concrete and stone.”
Kitsch and his team were thinking big when they designed this 10,000 square foot, Tuscan house set in a 20-acre vineyard that is reminiscent of Mediterranean living. It’s also proof that a picture is worth a thousand words. You need to see it to believe it.
“If any one property inspired it, it was Sting’s villa in Tuscany.”
Herringbone paving stones lead up to huge pillars supporting two porcelain decks; there is 35,000-square-foot exterior of full-bed granite, each stone hand chipped; a two-storey granite fireplace dominates the great room, which has 11-foot glass sliding doors and a curved stairway leading to a floating bridge.
The master bedroom is as big as many condos — 2,000 square feet — with glass doors offering an expansive view.
To top it off, the house has a rooftop terrace with a 360-degree view overlooking — well, everything, including Kelowna and the lake.
“It’s really a blessing to be a part of a project that creates some history,” Kitsch said. “It’s a different commitment to construction the way that house is built.
“It was a unique project in its construction and its finishings; the importing of so many fine materials from all over the world, putting it all together at the level of craftsmanship that we did.”