Having endured dreadful temperatures and record snowfalls this past month, we’ve done our best to make the most of winter by hitting the slopes. Regardless of whether you ski, board, snow shoe or simply enjoy lounging around in your Bogner knits and stirrup leggings until the après-ski hour, there is something to be said about the allure of a ski chalet. From Collingwood, Ontario to Zermatt, Switzerland and a whole whack of destinations in between, there is something so fabulous about a well-appointed ski chalet. For us, it’s all about a vibe that has us channeling our inner “Bond Girl” (from the Sean Connery period, of course! May he rest in peace…) Having recently worked with a few clients on their chalets to do just that (we can’t wait to show you btw), we have a few tips fresh on our mind. Here’s what we’ve boiled it down too…
Make the Outdoors Your Focal Point
To put it simply, a ski chalet is really just a place to stay warm and rest your head when you’re not skiing. Ok… it’s much more than that but the point is, ski chalets, as the name suggests, are there to aid the process of enjoying the great outdoors! With that in mind, we always try to frame the outdoors and make that the focal point. What this means is coming up with an appropriate layout that allows your furniture to be positioned in a way that is conducive to looking outside. Whether you have a stunning view of the mountains or a simple window that looks at evergreens, make the most of it! You can further enhance the view and pull the outdoors in by paying attention to the windows themselves. Frames can be painted, unnecessary grilles can be removed and simple but stunning window treatments can be installed. It’s all about remembering the reason why you’re in a ski chalet to begin with – the great outdoors in winter!
Find Inspiration in Nature
When coming up with a colour scheme and deciding on materials, we once again love to look outdoors for inspiration. We simply adore the use of natural wood left unpainted and stone that is left unpolished in a chalet. These materials make a lot of sense in a mountainous, winter abode and look fabulous in an uncomplicated way. For colours, it can be as simple and neutral as the use of beautiful snowy white textiles or as rich as evergreen hues, like the curtains and dining chairs in this Rougemont chalet featured above. It’s these subtle nods that create the right aesthetic without looking kitschy or cliché.
Think about Function as well as Form
When designing a ski chalet, it’s always important to keep the day-to-day activities in mind, as they tend to be quite different from that of a primary residence. As much as aesthetics are always a part of the process, function is also incredibly important. Particular attention should be paid to the entryway, as winter activities tend to involve a lot of gear and can wreak havoc on interiors. Ask yourself questions like, where are snowy boots going to go? Where are ski boots going to dry and poles going to be hung? After all the gear is thought of, then the focus should be on the common areas; family room, dining area and kitchen. Think easy, open and cozy spaces to lounge with drinks and books and make the views and fireplace the focal points. For bedrooms and baths, keep it clean and cozy but uncomplicated, as typically little time is spent in these areas. To achieve the right balance, start by really honing in on the right floor plan. From there you can inject personality with your choice of colours and materials.
Aim for Luxe but Understated
As we browse through our favourite sources of inspiration, we find that the most successful chalets, from a design perspective, are undeniably luxe but still incredibly understated. This is achieved with interiors that don’t attempt to compete with the landscape and environment outside but rather nod to it and enhance it. Fabrics and area rugs are soft and comfortable but not high-maintenance or complicated in pattern. Old is mixed with new and silhouettes are simple and free of unnecessary decoration and embellishment. Although individual pieces can be from luxury suppliers and of impeccable quality, they are ultimately there to serve a purpose and to enhance the experience. This is all a long-winded way of saying save the glitzy and complicated pieces for your city home and pair things back when designing your chalet. When selecting every piece, it’s about considering the context and season in which it will be used and opting for items that enhance the ski chalet experience by making it practical and comfortable.