Second homes are, by their very nature, generally some distance from their owners’ main residences. So while most of Inspired Dwellings’ clients are based in the London area, the company’s work can take it somewhat further afield – as in the case of its InstallAwards-shortlisted project, an ski chalet in a village in the French Alps. This is a family getaway: the client is a Michelin-starred chef, his wife also runs a business and they have teenage children.
The project is a finalist for both the Best Project Award and the Teamwork Award in the Residential category; according to Katie Rogerson from the company’s marketing department, it was the teamworking aspects of the project that Inspired Dwellings felt was particularly noteworthy. First, there was a ten-day window available for the project, and the end date could not be moved because the family were flying out to the chalet for Christmas the next day. Then there were the obvious logistical difficulties involved in getting all the equipment to the chalet – which is in a small village 400m above sea level. And finally, there was the language issue: the local contractors spoke no English, one of Inspired’s junior installers spoke a little French – but a bilingual go-between was found in the shape of the local plumber.
This is not a holiday home where the owners want to isolate themselves from their everyday concerns. Connectivity is high on the list: remote access to heating and hot water, as well as CCTV and the ability to check the snowfall from their London home; superfast Wi-Fi was needed for social media media access, to stream movies via Apple TV and music via Sonos, and also for the client to add any newly devised recipes to his online journal.
All this was achieved while still retaining a snug, traditional Alpine feel inside the chalet, with wooden walls and floors. The client and his family are reportedly very happy with the property, and have visited several times since last December.