Design

A ski chalet in Mont Tremblant imbued with European Flair

The transformation of this winter home in the hills has a fairytale quality to it — a dowdy rustic condo magically made over into a glamorous French country castle.

: When Crawford sketched out the dramatic ceiling in the great room, he envisaged the grandeur of a Baroque-era hall in England. The massive 200-year-old reclaimed wood beams were installed by a local craftsman skilled in building log homes. The rustic river-rock fireplace surround was replaced with a more classic look highlighting pale grey Italian limestone. Photo: Christiane Lalonde, Photolux Studio
When Crawford sketched out the dramatic ceiling in the great room, he envisaged the grandeur of a Baroque-era hall in England. The massive 200-year-old reclaimed wood beams were installed by a local craftsman skilled in building log homes. The rustic river-rock fireplace surround was replaced with a more classic look highlighting pale grey Italian limestone. Photo: Christiane Lalonde, Photolux Studio

When the owner of Luc Crawford Design first set eyes on the chalet, a corner unit in a row of holiday homes at Mont Tremblant, he saw a practical sleeping and eating spot with little attention paid to style. “It had great views of the slopes, but I felt like I was in a cottage — it was so old-fashioned and dark,” says Crawford. Having worked with the owners on their Glebe home and their summer cottage, he knew their tastes and was given free rein to re-envision the space. “I saw right away that it could be elegant but comfortable — that’s where the French castle idea came from.”

A very basic kitchen was given the star treatment, with Crawford choosing a rich glass-and-marble backsplash to complement the quartz counters. The kitchen is open to a light-filled dining room. Photo: Christiane Lalonde, Photolux Studio
A very basic kitchen was given the star treatment, with Crawford choosing a rich glass-and-marble backsplash to complement the quartz counters. The kitchen is open to a light-filled dining room. Photo: Christiane Lalonde, Photolux Studio

His first order of business was to resurface the cathedral ceiling in the great room with wood, adding massive 200-year-old reclaimed beams for a “great hall” effect. A fireplace surround of river rock was quickly discarded in favour of a classic hearth made from Italian limestone. Custom furnishings, including a luxe sectional sofa and an Afghanistan-made rug, completed the look. Avid skiers, the family visits the six-bedroom retreat every winter weekend, says Crawford, explaining that it had to be both luxurious enough to entertain clients and cozy enough to offer comfort for large family gatherings.

The revamp of the kitchen saw Crawford install a bold glass-and-marble backsplash, pairing it with an unadorned quartz counter. Reverse coved ceilings in both the kitchen and the adjoining dining room add visual interest to the space while also hiding the electrical wiring for the pot lights and chandelier. When the dining-room curtains are open, the owners look out onto their spacious balcony. At night, when they’re drawn, the room is enveloped in a soft beige glow.

 Decorated in a classic soft palette of powdery beiges, the warm and inviting dining room boasts balconies on two sides. Photo: Christiane Lalonde, Photolux Studio
Decorated in a classic soft palette of powdery beiges, the warm and inviting dining room boasts balconies on two sides. Photo: Christiane Lalonde, Photolux Studio

Construction began early in 2013 to ensure the chalet was ski-ready for the upcoming winter. Because of the distance, Crawford could not be on-site daily, instead stopping by every few weeks to check on the progress. “It was amazing, because so much would get done when I wasn’t there. It felt like every visit was a ‘reveal,’ ” says Crawford.

Today, the owners and their friends stave off the winter blues by embracing ski culture — knowing that at the end of a long day on the slopes, they can curl up by the fire in their very own castle retreat.