Going off piste: How to embrace modern alpine style

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.

alpine style

John Evans: Natural wood and stone create a classic backdrop (0121 233 9041; www.johnevansdesign.com)

‘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.

alpine style

Todhunter Earle: A palette of materials that reflect the mountain setting (020–7349 9999; www.todhunterearle.com)

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.

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alpine style

Wilkinson Beven: Touches of warm colour and texture soften the hard surfaces (www.wilkinsonbeven.com; 0121 622 7366)

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.

alpine style

Nicky Dobree: Cushions, throws and sumptuous upholstery offer deep comfort (020–7828 5989; www.nickydobree.com). Credit: Philip Vile

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.’

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