Villa Solaire is a converted old farmhouse into a luxury rental villa, revisiting traditional techniques in the village of Morzine, in the Rhône-Alpes region of France. The renovation was carried out by Jérémie Koempgen Architecture and FUGA, built in 1826, it was singled out by the municipality as a landmark for traditional architecture. A uniform cladding wraps the whole farm. One of the challenges of the project was to preserve its appearance, while filtering light into the heart of the 6,673 square foot (620 square meters) building. The traditional technique of decorative cut-outs within the wood strips was used to perform specific perforations within the planks. The design of this simple and contemporary pattern is consistent with the equipment and techniques used by the local carpenter for cutting spruce slats. These cut-outs recall the disjointed battens of the traditional barn, used for drying hay.
Today, these slits bring light inside the building. The glazed elements of the project, which are flush with the inside of the façade, are partially hidden by the cover strips. As they are not visible from outside they do not interfere with the uniformity of the cladding.
Throughout the year, the surrounding roofs and buildings cast their shadows on the facades. The pattern within the cladding is designed to respond to the path described by these shadows: the areas receiving a greater amount of sun are all the more open and provide a certain legibility of the continuity between the common spaces of the house.
This concept of interlocking inside/outside, evokes a lifestyle in harmony with its surroundings and leads to the project being named the “solar house”: a house exposed on its four facades to the path of the sun, perceived as a sundial.
Finding one’s bearings: A living geography
The idea is to move through this house between four “blocks” steady as rocks, located at each corner of the building. Each independent unit forms a suite with sleeping area and amenities.
Between these four blocks, the remaining space is occupied by a succession of stacked floors at different levels in the framework. This continuum of generous space welcomes the activities shared by the inhabitants: cooking, dining, watching a film, conversing in the living room, warming up around the fire…
These four blocks mark the house as the summits punctuate the valley. In Haute Savoie, one instinctively relates the farms to the mountains. Again, this symbolic association is translated in each block as it is identified in its facing mountainous terrain, just as the framework can be interpreted as a forest, whose various topographical lines are recalled within the different floor levels.
Revealing the structure:Nested scales or “the complex of the snail”
The charm of the original farm resides in the existing structure. Conserving its overall appearance was of one of the project’s key challenges, which motivated its restoration: It was fully recovered and the original plastering preserved after brushing and trimming.
In order to clear the room of the nave while meeting the rental house needs, utility functions were closely integrated. A strong contrast results from the scales of the cozy bedrooms, bathrooms and sleeping alcoves, next to the open central meeting space. The complexity of these nested spaces is combined with a similar research in terms of details and materials.
Photos: Julien Lanoo
Chalet Brickell enjoys the luxury of a stunning setting at the heart of Megève, a commune in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. Developed by Pure Concept, a Swiss designer-creator firm specialized in luxury properties, this exceptional 12,900 square foot Chalet, with its guest house, blends in perfectly with the small town. Situated at the foot of the mountain, surrounded by nature and unforgettable mountain views, it seems to have found its natural place. Designed to precise specifications, down to the tiniest detail, it offers the rich sobriety of noble materials, the subtlety of elegant combinations, and a superbly functional space. Nothing is left to chance. Every accessory has its role to play: a breath of color, a glow of light, bespoke rugs, unique motifs. Behind this chic modernity lies a truly authentic simplicity.
Chalet Brickell and its guest house sleeps up to 18 guests within seven bedrooms and can be booked all year round from $33,877 to $182,938/per week, depending on the season, from here.
The staircase, like a modern drawbridge, allows access to the large living room. The transparent blend of metal, glass and steel elegantly complements the warm harmonies of antique woods. Pure lines create a comfort that is absolute simplicity. The overall effect is one of a neutral, modest, welcoming refinement that makes the perfect setting for works of art or original shots by renowned photographers.
Golden bedroom. Antique wood and a Fortuny-inspired pleated headboard set the tone in the room with gold-colored quilted curtains. Like a plush bedspread, a large fur blanket covers the bed, which is fitted with sheets with touches of gold for a gold room.
White bedroom. Leather-paneled walls match the headboard, in shades of taupe that accentuate the whiteness of the bed linens and accessories. Fur adds a touch of warmth.
Master bedroom. Meticulously executed finishing touches and exquisite attention to detail make this space a true haven of well-being. The master bedroom owes its beauty to the skills of Italian craftsmen, specialised in the construction of yachts. Walls made of wood meet an oak floor covered with thick rugs, while shagreen leather frames the doorway. Cut-velvet panels line the wall and ceiling, like a «canopy» above the bed, which is covered with a fur bedspread. Heavy drapes and an enveloping easy chair create a cozy reading corner. Here, you feel cocooned. Taupe leathers adorn the easy chair and leather-covered sliding doors open onto the marble bathroom, where two identical Japanese-style shower rooms face each other.
The night club, as well as the home cinema and its large screen, have been installed to the highest professional standards and make use of the very latest technical developments. Dancers can enjoy an LED lighting system created by a specialist who provides the lighting solutions for discotheques throughout the world. The «dark» room puts the emphasis on comfort, with luxurious couches and individual service.
The indoor pool looks onto the garden and benefits from the natural light. To protect privacy, specially designed curtains can be drawn across the large windows – a little like the Hollywood of the fifties. Bed loungers, along with a teak floor like the deck of a yacht, give the feel of a relaxing cruise.
The huge garage in the basement links the main chalet and the guest house. From here, the leisure rooms can be accessed. A showcase for car collectors or enthusiasts, it has been designed to house 4x4s, racing cars and also elegant limousines, with a focus on aesthetics and rigor. The floor has a «granular» surface, the central axis features the colors of Brickell, while the walls display the fastest and most famous racing drivers, with Steve McQueen in top position.
The teak terrace, against a backdrop of snow, is the perfect place to relax in the sun. White sets the inside-outside tone and gives a warm comfort to an open-air relaxation area. Custom-made sun loungers, for moments of leisure, adopt a deck-chair look with high-quality yacht-style details.
The chalets, situated in two of the best French ski resorts (Megève and Courchevel 1850) are equipped with services worthy of grand palaces: transfer by helicopter, housekeeper, private chef, chauffeur, concierge, massage and beauty care etc. In the style of a hotel for the private individual, with exceptional services, it is pure made-to-measure.
Chalet Les Sorbiers offers a peaceful and secluded location, nestled into the mountainside, in the heights of Courchevel 1850, in the village of Val d’Isère, France. As part of one of Courchevel’s most luxurious and exclusive hotels, Le Kilimandjaro, Chalet Le Sorbiers offers all of the facilities and faultless service that you’d expect from the 5 star hotel, in the privacy and opulence of your own luxury ski chalet. From its traditional wooden exterior, exposed beams and wood paneled walls and ceilings, to the massive stone fireplace centerpiece, the chalet exudes alpine charm, which is complemented perfectly by elegant furnishings and the latest technology.
The retreat showcases a large open plan living and dining room with a grand central fireplace surrounded by comfortable armchairs and sofas. There is an LCD television, audio equipment and home cinema system for entertainment. The dining area has a spacious table that can comfortably seat all ten guests. There is a fully equipped separate kitchen where your private chef will prepare breakfast, afternoon tea and superb evening meals. There is also a butler who will always be around to make sure that you want for nothing.
To stay at this sensational chalet, rates are from $53,029 per week, sleeping 10, from here.
There are five en-suite bedrooms spread over the three floors. There are two doubles with en-suites on the ground floor along with double that features a stunning fireplace and en-suite. On the same floor as the sitting area is another en-suite double although it is slightly smaller than the other bedrooms. The fifth and final bedroom is on the top floor and is a superb master suite with sitting area. Outside on the south-facing terrace is a beautiful wooden hot-tub, there’s a small private garden and the property has a heated garage, although there is a chauffeur-driven car at your disposal throughout your stay.
Le Petit Chateau is one of the finest luxury ski chalets situated in an amazing location, Courchevel 1850, in the French Alps. The sumptuous contemporary interiors provide the ultimate in comfort and style, which makes the perfect mountain escape, both for those looking for a ski adventure or those simply wanting a relaxing break. The living area consists of two different areas, the living room and dining room with a warm atmosphere created by a central feature fireplace. There is a terrace that runs the length of the living area which overlooks le Bellecôte piste. The chalet has seven comfortable bedrooms all en suite, including a master bedroom with its own sitting room and desk area.
Ski straight to the door of your snow Château, leave your skis in the ski room and take the elevator up to the top floor. Here in the spacious living and dining area, a tempting array of cakes and treats are laid out for afternoon tea. Later you may want to descend to the lower floors for a little rest and relaxation. Chill out at the bar and watch a movie in the cinema room on the lower ground floor. Go down another level to discover the magnificent swimming pool, Jacuzzi, hammam and therapy room. Everything you would expect from a world class boutique hotel is here at Chalet Le Petit Château, but this is all just for you.
To book your stay at this fabulous chalet, rates start at $60,745 per week, sleeping 14, from here.
Chalet One Oak is an ultra hip and totally fabulous modern style ski chalet situated in the tranquil and charming village of Combloux, in the Rhône-Alpes region of France. Not only does it feature amazing open fireplaces, original artworks and a Harley Davidson in the hallway, but it also offers a beyond-five-star level of service. There are housekeepers to tidy up, chefs to prepare gourmet meals, a concierge service and other staff to attend to your every need. The chalet offers the services and facilities of one of the best hotels in the area.
From every angle there are panoramic views of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix valley through dramatic floor to ceiling windows. Check out the jaw-dropping views from the master suite, occupying the whole top floor, as you relax in your balcony Jacuzzi. Every little detail is the ultimate in luxury, from the welcome gift on arrival to the daily hampers packed with treats, and the instant concierge service. Whether it’s a chauffeured car to the ski lift, a babysitter for the kids, or a table at the best restaurant in town, just ask and it shall be done.
This incredible chalet can be all yours, with rates starting from $28,938, sleeps twelve, from here.
Huge wraparound terraces surround the living area of the chalet, and a modern freestanding fireplace sets the decadent scene. Stretch out on the stylish sofas after a hard day on the slopes while a team of professional chefs gets busy in the kitchen. After dinner you can watch a film in the cosy TV area with jagged mountains as the backdrop.
Chalet Pearl has an enviable combination where fantastic location meets jaw-dropping views across the Dent du Villard in the exclusive Nogentil area above central Courchevel 1850, France. This chalet sets the benchmark for service and style with glamorous interiors, exceptionally experienced staff and a private spa that wouldn’t look out of place in a top caliber hotel. After undergoing a €1,000,000 renovation, the chalet offers some 8,611 square feet (800 square meters), built without compromise, every detail is of the highest standard. Constructed from reclaimed old timber and local stone, with beautifully crafted wooden detailing, Chalet Pearl oozes charm. The interiors feature contemporary pieces with traditional Alpine style.
The top floor is dedicated to the living area with a spacious lounge, dining area and bar, perfect for entertaining large groups. There is a fully equipped kitchen where your private chef will prepare breakfast each morning and a mouth-watering dinner in the evenings. The beautiful chalet has 7 en suite bedrooms sleeping up to 14 guests in extreme luxury and includes a large master bedroom suite with jacuzzi tub. Chalet Pearl’s party piece is perhaps its spectacular indoor swimming pool and spa area downstairs. Complete with waterfall and loungers, this is a perfect place to stretch tired limbs and recuperate mind, body and spirit. The chalet also has its own massage therapist and treatment expert who can work wonders, so you can treat yourself to pre-ski, deep tissue or relaxing massages or aroma therapy treatments when the mood takes.
When you feel like kicking back and taking it easy you won’t be short of options. The top of the range chalet is equipped with the latest state of the art technology : BOSE music system, LCD screens and DVD players in each bedroom as well as the main living area. In addition, Chalet Pearl boasts its own bar, a dedicated games room and a state-of-the-art cinema comfortably seating 15 people for movie nights in front of the big screen.
To stay at this exceptional chalet, prices are start at $143,595 per week, from here.
In the living room the huge comfy sofas in front of the stone open fireplace offer sumptuous sanctuary after a long day on the mountain.
Industrial design elements have been successfully integrated into this brilliant loft-like home which is a former 1910 water cleaning station conversion, located in Villefranche sur Mer, a small coastal town situated along the French Riviera. This fabulous home belongs to former Belgian army pilot Philippe Tondeur, comprised of 5,400 square feet with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. The property was abandoned in the early 70′s and purchased by the current owner in 1996. The massive transformation of the water station took almost 15 years to complete and its modern design was envisioned with the help of Belgian interior designer Bernadette Jacques.
The property also features a detached guest apartment of 700 square feet with one bedroom and one bathroom, a five car garage, swimming pool, spacious hot tub that faces a natural harbor and an indoor 45 foot tall water tank that is dispersed over three levels. Each of the interiors is defined by elegance and space, making a walk through the residence resemble a gallery tour. The preserved industrial elements (giant pipes, exposed beams and various machines) seem like precious artifacts in an exhibition space. The living room is by far the most spectacular interior of the property with its comfortable set of sofas surrounded by giant windows and preserved parts of the former water cleaning station.
Resting atop an enchanting Medieval village and right next to a pristine castle lies La Maisonnette du Coteau in Beynac-et-Cazenac, France. Recently renovated, this exquisite 1,100 square foot cottage offers numerous luxuries, while maintaining a deep respect for its Medieval roots. The limestone walls and the beam ceilings on the ground level of the cottage have been preserved; the home’s exteriors and ground level blend perfectly with the other historic homes in the village. The rest of the cottage has been updated to reflect the modern needs and global travel patterns of the family who owns this home. All the armoires, tables and wood furnishings in the house were purchased in vintage shops around town.
If you are visiting France, you can stay at La Maisonnette, which is one of the most photographed homes in the village, and on several of the printed postcards found around town. Its prominent place atop the Cliffside village of Beynac-et-Cazenac affords its guests breathtaking views of the Dordogne River, the entire valley, and of the village. Enjoy a dinner or lunch outside on the terrace overlooking the canoes dotting the river, or take a bath in a claw foot tub while you gaze out across the Valley of the Five Chateau. The windows of La Maisonnette look out upon the old castle walls and the old city walls as well; the Chateau of Beynac is one of the best preserved in France. You’ll feel as if you stepped back to the 12th century!
To stay at La Maisonnette, rates ranges from $830 – $2037/week, from here.
This very same kitchen area was once used to house the village’s town oven, where village serfs would pay their lords a fee for use of the oven when baking bread.
Tolix chairs paired with what used to be an old church pew make an eclectic ensemble anchored by a live-edge table. The mix of chairs and the roominess of the bench are perfect for the family and their guests.
The master suite is located on the third floor, a converted attic. The process of “squeezing the furniture up the narrow stairs” required knocking down a small area and building the entire floor around the bed — and around the claw-foot tub.
Terry-cloth bathrobes and the day’s clothing usually hang on coat hangers by the bath. Walls are kept bare and free of hooks.
The owners travel throughout the year, living here on and off. Vacationers who rent the space on a weekly basis ensure that the home is always occupied.
A Denyse Schmidt quilt set the stage for the color scheme. A clean, white comforter looks fresh amongst the many antiques set out and about the room. One piece is from the 1600′s!
Photos: Stephanie Brubaker & Nicole Gerulat
Sitting on the top two floors by Paris’s Place de la Madeleine, this 1,500 square foot (140 square meters) residence was created by unifying 12 maids’ rooms on two levels. Designed and owned by architect Michael Herrman, the result is a three bedroom duplex apartment that both preserves the character of the 200 year-old building in which it is located, yet is a uniquely loft-style space in the heart of Paris, France. The apartment is based upon the concept of a museum: the original limestone walls and oak beams have been excavated and displayed with archaeological precision. The addition of a glass floor and walls allows each room to retain a powerful sense of openness, to be visually connected with one another and with the views of the sky and rooftops of Paris.
In one corner of the apartment there is a courtyard terrace, surrounded by five-meter tall glass walls. The terrace appears to be an interior room, containing an antique marble fireplace, mirror, and chandelier against the backdrop of the living “wallpaper” of a seven-meter tall vertical garden that rises up through the two levels of the apartment. The courtyard was conceived as a large glass display case containing a traditional salon of a mid-19th century Parisian apartment. In contrast, the interior fireplace, stair, and other details are contemporary. Inside and outside are strongly contrasted through their design while at the same time the edge between the two is blurred by the vertical garden that continues inside and the floor tiles which appear to pass through the glass and continue outside.
The apartment takes on a surreal feeling through this blurring of the edge between the interior and exterior, as well as the multiple layers of transparent and reflective glass surfaces. All of the elements in the apartment are functional, whether inside or outside, including the exterior fireplace. The use of glass is carried through the design, and includes the glass cabinets in the kitchen, and glass tiles, counters, and fixtures throughout the apartment. The three bedrooms are located on both levels at the opposite end of the apartment, served by private bathrooms, and organized around a separate courtyard.
The Maison d’Ulysse is an historic 17th century fortified farmhouse in the South of France and bears the name of one of its former owners, the archaeologist and poet Ulysse Dumas. Dumas (1872-1909) is a major figure in local history. He made important archaeological discoveries about the prehistoric settlement of the region. Since that time, the farmhouse and its garden have retained a great deal of their poetry, as can be seen from the mulberry trees, ancient oaks and fig trees which border the property. Today, the house – which is listed by the “Fondation du Patrimoine” heritage foundation, with a label for its historical value – is one of France’s finest high-class guest houses.
Inside, you will be immersed in the magic of the house, which has been restored with due respect for its authenticity. Settle down in the comfort of your luxury guest house room and rest in the coolness of its natural limewashed walls. You will be charmed by the contemporary decoration, combining modernity of lines and sobriety of materials, from the Baron Perché room to the Chant du Mûrier suite. Round-off your well-being stay with a swim in the magnificent swimming pool, before relaxing in the spa area and Turkish bath. Then take a stroll in the Mediterranean dry gardens, where luxuriant perennials, shrubs and climbing plants grow side by side.
To stay at the beautiful La Maison d’Ulysse, prices range from $160 – $400 per night, from here.