Native to the Alpine region in Europe, most chalets look like they’ve come straight out of a mountainous backdrop. Swiss inspired chalets were introduced to America in the mid-1800s by architect Andrew Jackson Downing
and became popular in the northeastern U.S where their style fit in perfectly with the cold and snowy landscape. Most chalets appeared in the U.S between 1885 and 1910. The term “chalet” originally referred to any small house in the mountains. With the emergence of the Alpine travel business, chalets were transformed into vacation houses used by ski and hiking enthusiasts.
Most chalet homes are easily recognizable due to their unique A-frame architecture. They are also distinguished by the way the wood is used. Timber is generally cut into planks and is put together somewhat like a log house. Today, the modern chalet offers a sleek, elegant and cozy living space. Chalets are even used to describe resort-like homes or residential properties located by lake or the beach. Because of the multi-pane windows most modern chalets offer beautiful views, whether its lakeside or mountainous.
The interior offers an open-concept which creates a communal atmosphere. Despite the simple layout of its base, the high vaulted ceilings create ample space in the living area. The central space or great room is usually complimented with an interior fireplace placed within the stone foundation. The fireplace naturally heats the main living area, and helps offset any cold air emitting from the large picture windows. Additionally, the common loft area benefits from the natural heat rising creating a cozy upper den for winter nights.
Whether you are on the lake or in the mountains, chalets are a great choice for both vacation homes and year-round living. With their rustic charm yet sleek architecture, you will have a home that your family is sure to love for years to come.