Chalet chic is getting a modern makeover, says Amelia Thorpe.
Chalet design has evolved with startling speed reminiscent of bobsleigh duo Robin Dixon and Tony Nash at the 1964 Winter Olympics ; one moment it was all stripped pine, gingham checks and glühwein, the next it was Minimalism, fur rugs and negronis.
‘The current trend is for a timeless luxury,’ says interior designer John Beven of Wilkinson Beven. Beautiful natural materials, such as grey-washed timber and rough-cut stone, chosen to reflect the rugged mountain environment, are combined with luxuriant textures, including wool, cashmere and faux fur.
After a day on the slopes, comfort is king, so sofas are deep and mattresses cloud-like. But all of this doesn’t mean that traditional Alpine style is completely lost; designers such as Andrew Laughland and Russell Jones use horn beakers to make a contemporary pendant light and Nicky Dobree specifies traditional timbers for wall panelling and floors with unique textured finishes.
Spa bathrooms and cinema rooms regularly make it on to the luxury wishlist, while heating and home entertainment systems have become increasingly sophisticated. Even a modest chalet will benefit from plenty of thought on its lighting; a variety of light sources, including lamps, downlights, uplights, feature lights, picture lights and niche lights, are now de rigueur.
But Nicky is quick to emphasise the need to stay with chalet interiors that reflect the mountain environment. ‘Creating a sense of place – a reminder of where you are – is very important,’ she says of the reason she likes to use the traditional palette of natural materials, albeit in more contemporary and clean-lined ways. ‘A chalet in the mountains represents escapism from day to day life – it’s not some slick apartment in the city,’ Nicky declares. ‘It’s all about creating a cocoon – a place where you will play games around the fire and celebrate good times with family and friends.’
A look into how an interior designer achieves a certain look or atmosphere. This week: the chalet.
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