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9 Characteristics of a Chalet

 , July 06, 2019
Chalet is a traditional style of holiday home in the alpine regions of Central Europe. This was originally a term for the seasonal farms of herders in Switzerland and French Savoy who brought their herds to lowland pastures in mountainous areas in the summer. Chalet has since become an international term for wooden houses in the mountains that have several common characteristics:

Gabled Roofs

Chalets have slow sloping roofs that collect some snow for insulation. The structural strength of the building must account for this weight. The roof of a chalet overextends the building by a significant margin on every side. This is perhaps the most identifiable feature of chalet architecture.

Truth to Materials

Chalets are constructed with wood and other natural materials such as stone. These elements are laid bare with no attempt to conceal their true nature.

Timber Framing

Chalets use heavy timbers as structural elements that are often left exposed.

Wood Shingles

A chalet traditionally has a roof of wooden shingles or another natural material such as stone. In locations prone to severe weather, large wooden planks may be used as roofing. Modern roofs of steel or asphalt shingles tend to look out of place and inauthentic on a chalet.

High Ceilings

A chalet typically centers around an open space common area with a high ceiling that often extends to the full height of the structure. High ceilings are often confined to the main room and the second floor may resemble a loft with low ceilings.

Alpine Location

Chalets are traditionally constructed in the alpine regions of Central Europe such as the French Alps, Bavarian Alps and Tirol. As such, they often had fireplaces and other winter features. Chalets are still heavily associated with alpine regions and related activities such as skiing.

Decoration

Chalets often include ornament such as decorative carving and mouldings.

Balconies

It is common for a chalet to have multiple balconies.

Square Form

Chalets tend to be squarish in overall dimension, particularly small to mid-sized houses. Larger chalets sometimes break with this convention.

Notes

Traditionally, chalets had small casement windows with shutters to protect the window from harsh weather. Modern chalets are increasingly likely to have very large picture windows. This is due to advancements in the strength and insulation of windows and the fact that chalets are often holiday homes set in a beautiful location.
Overview: Chalet
Type
Definition
A traditional style of holiday home in the alpine regions of Central Europe.
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