An Alpine Chalet That Mixes Old and New

We were captivated by this ski chalet that is a beautiful mix of rustic and modern, so we asked the designer Gris Souris about the renovation project.

1. Tell us about your company.
Gris Souris was born in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2013. I was a freelance picture editor but always loved decoration. After having renovated the Chalet Le 1912, I decided to create Gris Souris and to take on other projects as an interior designer.

2. What is the history of the house?
The chalet was built in 1912 (hence its name...) and had stayed in the same family until we bought it in 2012. It had been renovated in the 60's but not fully, and there was a part not being used because water was penetrating when it was raining.

3. Where is it?
The chalet is situated in a small village named Val-d'Illiez in the swiss Alps, next to Champéry and the slopes of Les Portes du Soleil.

4. How many rooms are?
We have a kitchen-dining-living room, and 3 double bedrooms, one dormitory for 5 people, 2 bathrooms, one playground and outside there is a 80m2 terrace with a swedish bath with a view of the mountains Les Dents-du-Midi.

5. How long did the project take?
My husband and I did all of the work and it took one year and a half working holidays and weekends.

6. What attracted you to take the project on?
We fell in love with this old chalet and the balconys. We were not looking for a chalet that needed so much work, but it was a new challenge for us as we didn't have any idea about renovation ! We all learned step by step with books, videos on the internet,  and talking to professionals...

7. Can you give us a brief outline of the work you did to it?
We removed everything inside and then put old wood on the walls, painted the windows and walls, created floors and discovered some, added bathrooms, customised the kitchen, and the terrace. We hired someone to update the wiring and the heating.

8. What was your inspiration for the project?
I love a mix between old and contemporary, so I decided to keep everything old (doors, wooden floors, stairs, ...).

9. Which part of the project/room are you most proud of?.
The entrance. It's always a surprise to people. As the ceiling was really high, I wanted something dramatic!  We choose a transparent main door with a view onto a wall made of wooden logs. A fake one, made by us with around 4,000 wooden logs that we cut, dried and assembled. Ten days of work just for that! But so happy with the result.

10. Now that the project is finished can you describe a typical day there?
As this is our second home, it's nice to spend time there. After having breakfast, we go skiing (the slopes are around 5km from the chalet), and when we come back, we play games and sit in front of the fireplace. Later in the evening we can take a bath outside (at 40° degrees) with the snow all around, the mountains in the distance and the stars in the sky !

Interior Design by Gris Souris

Photographs by Myriam Ramel