Back in 2005 when Ari and Shari first bought the property, the homely cabin on the land had only a handful of windows, no door, rough framing and no interior or exterior finishing – it was a blank canvas waiting for an artists brush strokes!
From 2006 onwards they poured their hearts and souls into the property and the cabin, transforming it from its rough roots and small footprint into the spacious, unique and comfortable Lodge that it is today. Ari’s background in construction has been invaluable in the building of the Lodge, while Shari’s many years spent working in garden centers and plenty of hard work has transformed the landscape surrounding the Lodge into a stunning array of botanical delights!
Renata’s Simply Delicious Lodge is constructed with a combination of new and recycled building materials, and is 100% off the grid! We are Solar Powered for all of our electrical needs, and use Propane appliances for our hot water and refrigeration. We are proud to be able to offer all of the amenities you’d expect to have while in a town or city, but with a much smaller environmental footprint and a closeness to nature that you cannot find in “civilization”.
We built the Lodge using a mixture of new, recycled and reclaimed building materials from all over BC. The front door originated from the old Uplander Hotel & Bar in Rossland, the timbers holding up the ceilings were once a bridge in Castlegar, the wrought iron spiral staircase came from a basement in Chewelah WA, and a cast concrete Meridian tiled wood stove that is as amazing in design and beauty as it is in its functionality came from the Kelowna area. Reed matt ceilings, hand plastered walls and locally sourced wood floors and trims give Simply Delicious Lodge its own unique feel. Designed and built by us, there is no other place like it that we know of!
Please enjoy the photos & stories below to get a feeling for the interior of the Lodge …
The Sunrise Room is our premier guest room, and is your personal area of rest and repose! We call it The Sunrise Room because the windows face North and East, giving stunning views of the gardens, the Arrow Lake and Deer Park Mountain. Each mornings sunrise streams directly into the room, waking you with the touch of its rays. However, if beauty sleep is your thing, we have nice dark curtains to keep the sun at bay! Your room has a queen size bed with sun emblazoned cast iron head and foot boards, and matching side tables. A ceiling fan, comfortable chair, mirror, coat rack and a dresser are also part of the room.
The Sunset Room is our second guest bedroom, directly adjacent to the Sunrise Room. It is a smaller version of the other room and windows facing North and West, with forest and meadow views. Inside you will also find a Queen size bed with decorative cast iron head and foot boards, and matching side tables. A ceiling fan and a dresser are also part of the room.
We respect your privacy entirely, and will only enter your room when requested for cleaning.
The bathroom is divided into two areas with a large sink and vanity for her, and another smaller pedestal sink & mirror for him. There is an eco-friendly toilet and a large shower with endless of hot water, thanks to an on-demand water heater!
Thanks to some wonderful friends who pointed us in the right direction, we were able to find this “vintage” 1984 Meridian wood stove in the Kelowna area. They are no longer being made, so we consider ourselves lucky to have it! The stove consists of a double cast concrete orb reminisce of a diving bell from years gone by. The double chamber inside sinks the heat of the fire into itself, and then radiates it back into the living room area for hours after the fire has gone out. The terracotta tile exterior gives it a wonderful hue that is nearly as warm as the glow of the fires embers! We tiled in front of the stove to sink even more heat into the floors, keeping feet happy even on snowy mornings!
The living room has lots of nice features that highlight many of the special blending of styles that we built into the Lodge. Post and beam work supporting our ceilings and framing the doorways were originally wooden glue lam beams from the University of British Columbia library and old timbers from what used to be a bridge in Castlegar! The walls have been custom plastered using locally sourced beach sand bringing a touch of the feel of Greece, the ceilings are covered with reed mats from Thailand for a uniquely Asian character, and finally, locally sourced fir and larch hardwood flooring and terracotta tiles warm the feet. Sink into the leather couches and soak in the lake views while sipping on a beverage!
The dining room in Simply Delicious Lodge is a part time place to sit and enjoy the home cooked meals. Why part time? Because whenever we can, we serve our meals outside on the massive front deck! Luckily you will never be short of a great view at the Lodge, as beautiful vistas are seen from every seat in the house, thanks to the generous amount (and placement of) windows.
Adjacent to the dining area is a lovely sitting area to kick back and “bounce” in our springy wooden chairs. They are very very comfortable, and are a great place to sip on morning coffee or tea when the weather is not tip top. Wide window sills and a soft warm carpet beneath your feet make this an inviting place, there have been a couple instances of guests falling into an unexpected nap here!
The Reading Nook is Tyra the Dawg’s favorite place to lie. She keeps a watchful doggie eye out her front entrance window to let us know when visitors are arriving. A large Obasan chair keeps her company, and is a wonderful place to curl up and read your favorite novel, or keep current with online happenings. The stained glass above you is custom made by a local friend and artist and was a gift to Shari on her graduation from Teachers College. Let its soft tinted hues bathe you as you read…
To look at our lawns, gardens, and open spaces now, it is hard to believe that a mere 5 years ago we were SURROUNDED by a dense forest of invasive vegetation! Imagine this… Encircling the ‘original’ cabin was an army of Oregon Grape, Thimble berry bushes, tangles of Vetch and invasive Bracken ferns, all intermingling with Coniferous trees.
It has taken plenty of sweat and toil in felling trees, hand-pulling and hacking with polaskis or any gardening tool that got the job done, to acquire the pseudo Country-style garden aesthetics that we have today. Proudly, we can say that the unwanted vegetation has been “encouraged” to stay away without the use of chemical herbicides! We have replaced the aforementioned vegetation and trees with: Red Grape vines, Blueberry bushes, a Forsythia bush, Peony bushes, a Cherokee Chief Dogwood tree and a thick and luxurious lawn that your bare feet sink into with a sigh. We also spent long hours collecting rocks and sculptural driftwood pieces at the beach to create hearty, deer resistant perennial plant and flower zones that bloom into gorgeous bursts of color from April right thru October.
We are lucky to be surrounded by the gift of heritage fruit trees dating back to Renata’s heyday as a prime agricultural production area for BC in the early 1900s. There are several Cherry trees, ‘Winter Banana’ apples, crab apples, pears and numerous Saskatoon bushes on and around the Lodge grounds. We are constantly amazed at the ‘will to live’ of these trees, as they have been neglected for decades, yet still produce fruit and continue to thrive! Renata has an amazing micro climatic zone where the temperatures are optimal for fruit growing and gets maximum sunshine, despite the storms we see rolling by and around us.
The original inhabitants of the Arrow Lakes and Kootenay area were the Sinixt Indians. Water for the Sinixt culture was the centre of their world, and they lived both above and below where the US border is today. European settlers entered the region in the 1700’s and gradually the Sinixt culture diminished under their influence.
In the late 1800’s gold was discovered in British Columbia and with the gold rush in full force, many more Europeans flooded into the area. By 1911 a Mennonite settlement had taken root in Renata. They built a school and organized Sunday school classes and church services where the ministers played a leading role in shaping the values of the community.
Fruit growing in Renata was extraordinary. It was located on a creek delta of rich soil and shielded from cold winds by the surrounding mountains. It was the ideal location for orchards in the region, and was known for cherries, apples, pears and peaches. Sternwheelers carried the fruit from Renata down the Arrow Lakes to waiting train cars in Castlegar. The cherries in particular were sought after, with some of the fruit crossing Canada and the Atlantic Ocean.
In the mid-1960s the community was relocated when the construction of the High Arrow Dam in 1968 (renamed the Hugh Keenleyside Dam in 1969) was begun. The entire area north of the city of Castlegar to the ghost town of Arrowhead was flooded, creating what is now known as the Lower Arrow Lakes.
Today Renata is a very small community of about 18 households with no direct road access. Residents rely on their own boats to travel back and forth across the lake. There are no stop lights, paved roads, or stores in Renata, what remains is nature, old orchard lands, quiet beaches and solitude.
And that is what make Renata so darn special!
Please enjoy this video from the National Film Board of Canada of the Arrow Lakes Sternwheeler “SS Minto” on her last trip down the lake in 1954.