Nicky Dobree

Contemporary St Moritz ski chalet

Being one of the most sought after chalet locations in the world, property is not easy to come by. The owners of this lakeside chalet had been coming to St Moritz all their life and acquired a plot of land in the highly prized region of Silvaplana. We worked from the ground up, to design and build what has now become their family Alpine home.

The initial concept from the Architect was to design something that was very brutal and minimalist in concept and not at all in keeping with the local architecture, nor what the client wanted. Whilst the exterior remained very modernist my challenge was to inject the chalet with as much warmth, individuality and local character as possible whilst maintaining a strong contemporary look. I had around 300 m2 spread over 3 storeys to work with, in which I had to include 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms with a vast open plan living area that has with epic views over Lake Silvaplana. I drew much of my inspiration from these life enhancing views – the shimmering lake, the dense green woodland, and the snow-capped mountains beyond. We sourced the finest quality natural materials – timber, stone, leather, copper and glass to design a chalet with a twist. Clever lighting and inventive techniques bought all these raw materials to life.

My client has a large family, is very sociable and loves to entertain. Creating an environment in which their guests could relax and enjoy was paramount. They are also avid art collectors so my vision needed to work alongside their eye catching piece like the bronze coffee table in the sitting room. During the course of the project we took on new bespoke commissions too, including the Stag head over the stairs. And the Bronze sheep in the entrance hallway.

So much of design is in the detail and the materials that you use. When designing a Chalet the choice of timber is probably one of the most important decisions that you will make as this will dramatically effect the look and feel of the finished home. Here we worked in Oak which is a much harder timber than the traditional pine and enabled us to work details which would have been difficult to achieve otherwise. The shadow gap is a good example seen here throughout the chalet around every architrave and skirting. The result is something much more tailored, more akin to a beautifully fitted suit.

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