Opening December, The Ecurie is an ambitious, designer renovation of a charming 130-year-old tumble-down Savoie stable which was lived in by generations of a local family.
The renovation was carried out by Chris (co-owner of The Alpine Club) who is an architect, and his company Alpine Design Studios, which prides itself on alpine authenticity and updating old buildings. Chris comments: “We’ve retained the ancient roof timbers at The Ecurie and created a double height living room with central fire place. There is old wood in abundance, on the floors and the roof. We’ve also used the floor boards and timbers to line the bedroom ceilings and some of the bedroom walls, to create cosy, cabin bedrooms.”
“We wanted to retain the essence of the old stable and family home,” says Helen, “but we’re not filling the chalet with lots of old Savoyard relics — that would become cluttered. There are only occasional references. The building felt homely, lived in, with an air of bygone times, so we’ve kept the colours simple, with lots of muted brown & grey tones and soft textures to create a luxury feel. It is understated, but luxurious and homely – more like a stylish mountain alpage.”
Alpages were chalets in the mountains that farmers lived in when they looked after the cows on the high mountain pastures. The previous occupants of The Ecurie lived on the ground floor of the stable in the winter, next to the cows, with the hay cut from the summer pastures stored above.
While keeping many of the original features, the chalet has also been luxuriously updated and appointed with contemporary sofas, coffee tables, lights and mountain chairs from Belgium design company AM Designs in the main living space, plus gorgeous bed linens and Hypnos beds in the bedrooms. The bathrooms have slate floors and old latch wooden doors, but also feature gleaming Duravit baths and sinks fitted with granite surrounds. Taps and fittings are by Italian design company Zazzeri.
By retaining the spirit and feel of the old stable in the décor, Chris and Helen have created a chalet that is quite different from their two other properties which they also designed and built or restored themselves.