Charming Chamonix

by Tania Wannenburg
Charming Chamonix Jnl 5 15

A beautiful cottage built 70 years ago in France had its flooring updated to insulate the home and create a modern, yet warm look and feel.

This cottage in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc in France, named Chalet ‘Dag’, was originally a summer residence, like many others in Chamonix, and was therefore not insulated for winter use. No upgrades had been done since its construction approximately 70 years ago. The upper level was used only as an attic and the lowest level as a garage, with the middle level used as living space. Chevallier Architects’ mission was to make all existing floor space liveable, using the best available insulation solutions.

This project had several constraints, most notably the house’s location, which is in an avalanche zone. To manage that risk, the architect chose to create an environmentally friendly rooftop which solves the issue. A ‘green’ roofing solution like this has rarely been used in this alpine valley. A heat pump handles climate control, and the entire house is very well insulated. In addition, the cottage needed to coexist harmoniously with several nearby old Swiss raccards (small cabins traditionally used as a granary or shed). It is located in Chamonix Heights and as a result has exceptional mountain views. Situated in a small, cosy family neighbourhood, it was essential that the cottage’s modern style fit with the setting.

With regard to materials and organisation, the building is built from glass, metal and traditional larch wood. As noted, the wood was stained to coordinate with the nearby raccards and, with obvious Scandinavian inspiration, the cottage is both warm and unpretentious, stripped down to the essentials. The main open-concept living space makes for easy living, in tune with the spirit of the place.

The end result is a beautiful cottage with magnificent flooring that matches the design of the building and creates a warm look and feel.

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