Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tips on designing your ski chalet

Tips when you are planning to build a ski chalet
Here are some things that you should remember when you are planning to build a ski chalet that will allow you to get the most out of your investment.
First things first, plan the size and shape of the building so that you maximize the space and the views that are around the building site. If you have a view, plan to put as many windows on that side of the building as possible. You should also plan to put any decks or patios on that side of the building.
Most modern ski chalets are now designed with “great rooms” in them. This is usually a high ceiling room with a large fireplace that becomes the focal point and the gathering area of the interior chalet. Your fireplace or fireplaces in a ski chalet are more important than any other room in the house. In a normal house the most used and most important room in a house is usually the kitchen but not in a chalet. You need to remember that in a chalet you will be returning from the cold weather of the hill and want to have a hot chocolate in front of a roaring fireplace. You want to make the fireplace in the chalet the focal point, a point where the family can gather and relax. You want the largest fireplace in the house installed or built in the great room and a large hearth stone placed in front of it so that people can use it as a seating area during gatherings. If possible, install fireplaces in certain bedrooms will help give that romantic feeling and allow you a warm and cozy area to get away from it all.
In the great room there should be cathedral ceilings; this lends itself to installing large rustic beams in the cathedral ceiling. If you light them appropriately washing the ceiling and highlighting roof features it can bring a warm and cozy feeling to a room no matter how large or small in scale. It can also give your guests the feeling of being in an expensive resort.
Another thing that you need when you are designing your chalet is a large mudroom. A large mudroom is important so that you can have a large group of people stomp in and out wearing their ski boots and be able to change and shed layers. In the mudroom you will want to maximize storage. A lot of the chalets that we have built have walls of cabinets so that you can store all your skis, boots, coats, snowshoes and ski bags. This is the easiest way to control the disaster that is a group of children or teens coming in, dropping clothes and equipment all over the house. Tiling the floor in this area is a most, this will allow easy clean up of melting snow and give the floor the durability to withstand ski boots pounding on top of it.
Every ski chalet should have a garage where you can store snowmobiles and any other equipment that you don’t use during certain seasons. A lot of ski chalets are used as summer homes when the family likes to go mountain biking, hiking or wants to just to be part of nature. Bikes take a lot of room and need to be properly stored during the winter. With so many different winter sports now a days you really need to have a lot of storage for equipment and the best way to do that is with a properly organized garage.
If you are looking to build a chalet that doesn’t need a lot maintenance then having a steel roof installed is a great way to inshore you wouldn’t be hiring anyone to climb up on your roof to shovel it off after a heavy snow fall. Steel roofs are great at shedding snow and ice. Steel roofs also will last the life time of the home. Steel roofs now have a colour warranty that is 50 years insuring you won’t ever have to repaint.
If you want a true ski chalet then you should think about adding two things;
1. A hot tub. Every ski chalet needs a hot tub. The hot tub should be placed close enough to the chalet so that you can walk out a door and get in the tub. Remember some poor person is going to have to go out there and shovel the snow off the top and create a walking path.
2. A sauna. You need a sauna in your chalet. This is a great thing for people to relax in, especially if the weather is too ugly for you to get to the hot tub. A sauna does not take up a lot of room; it can be built in a corner of the house or in the garage. In house saunas are a lot safer than they used to be and if they are built properly you should not have to worry about moisture penetrating the rest of the house.
With modern insulation and modern heating, having a chalet that you leave and come back to without having to adjust the heat is now the norm. With modern chalets, you use them the same way that you use your house at home. You leave the water and the heat on so that when you return next weekend it is ready to go.
A lot of people are building there chalets with an eye to making it there retirement home. If this is the case then you should make the floor plan in a way that you can comfortably live in it full time. Just because it will be your retirement home one day doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot of money on fixtures now. If you don’t plan to retire into the home for 10 or more years then I recommend that you don’t spend a lot of money on the fixtures. With wear and tear and changing trends most houses should be renovated every 15 to 20 years. This means that when it’s time for you to retire you should do some minor cosmetic renovations, like changing taps, upgrading counter tops and painting. This will give your chalet a homier feel and allow you to move into your home without dealing with the dust and debris of renovations later on.
Remember that when you are planning to build a chalet you should plan the building around having fun with family and friends, this will allow you to enjoy it to its full potential.
If you are thinking about building a chalet feel free to check out some of the chalets that we have built at If you need an estimate on your upcoming chalet project please email me at

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

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