Living Etc

WINTER WONDERLAND

EXTERIOR

The spectacular mountain views were central to the design of Sisimiut Chalet. The owners wanted a modern take on a traditional style, incorporating their love of contemporary art.

Life-size horse lamp by Front for Moooi

HALLWAY

The owners have played with the red and black colour scheme with slalom-inspired wall effect and colourful floor tiles. The arty entrance also features a melting snowman.

Cowhide wallcovering, Elitis. Floor tiles, Bisazza

LIVING AREA

The couple have filled the space with an avalanche of styles and curated items, which reflect their love of the mountains.

Mounted derrière of bear by Ghyslain Bertholon at School Gallery. Bend sofa by Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia. Multi-coloured ottoman by Christelle Le Déan for Maison M

With its snow-covered landscape and streets lit up with twinkling lights, Courchevel is a magical place at Christmas,’ says mountain enthusiast Candice. ‘We usually spend Christmas morning on the slopes with our extended family and then head back home for a relaxed lunch and a cosy log fire.’

The alpine experience was at the heart of Candice’s vision for this home, named Chalet Sisimiut, her large (400m2) dwelling in the famous resort in the French Alps. Located in Courchevel Village itself, it is the second of three properties she and partner Marc have built on the site of an old barn and land belonging to Marc’s family.

‘It’s a modern reinterpretion of the classic chalet,’ says Candice. ‘We wanted to move away from the traditional ski lodge style and share our own view of mountain living. The result is a whimsical Alice in Wonderland affair, full of humour and surprises.’

Candice created the scheme with Parisian architect and interior designer Olivier Gay, a childhood friend, with whom she could give free rein to her imagination. ‘Marc was the voice of practicality to make sure Olivier and I didn’t get too carried away with the creative process,’ says Candice. ‘The only thing we planned was the idea that we would give each of the five en suite bedrooms a theme relating to the mountains; so there is the calming serenity of the Igloo bedroom; the Modern Mountain room, which is more typical of the Courchevel style; the Retro Ski room, with its 1950s ski motifs and vintage skis and poles in the bathroom; the Forest room with its black wallpaper peppered with creatures of the forest; and the Alpine room at the top, which is like a mountain hideaway for children. Olivier was determined too that each room, whether it’s a bathroom or living room, is different.’

Blending in seamles sly with its snow-covered surroundings – and 180-degree mountain view – the chalet comprises two separate structures combined: the charred black wood traditional Swiss-style chalet sits alongside its modern counterpart, clad in contrasting light-coloured meleze wood; and nearby is a life-sized horse lamp from Moooi, welcoming guests from its glass shelter

Inside the surprises continue apace: an entrance hallway, as dramatic as the mountains, with its jaunty red and black Bisazza tiled floor and slalom-inspired wall, which meanders its way through to the cavernous open-plan living room, bar and dining room – a visual cacophony of clashing colours and designs and brocante finds, that shouldn’t work – but do.

‘We threw out the rule book,’ says Candice. ‘We just brought in everything we liked, so there’s a mix of styles: modern, retro, kitsch – it’s a coup de Coeur – we love it.’

Her greatest challenge was filling the space. The living room area alone is 45m2 with a ceiling height in excess of five metres. ‘I was terrified of it being cold and unwelcoming so I divided up the room with large comfy sofas,’ she explains. ‘The Versailles parquet floor is made of reclaimed railway sleepers and brings a lot of warmth to the space; while the Balloons chandelier by Matteo Gonet is from a gallery in Paris. I thought it was fun!’

Taking pride of place in the dining room, meanwhile, is artwork, Heaven’s Door 6 by Nathalie Talec, which has special resonance for Candice: ‘It sums up Marc and I,’ she says. ‘He’s the mountain guy and I am the city girl, who loves fashion and design. The mountain is where our worlds come together.’ Although the couple met and got together in the alpine resort some 13 years ago, Candice is a former events organiser who was based in Paris and still has a small apartment in the Marais.

Non-negotiable for Candice was the indoor-outdoor swimming pool, where you can swim whatever the weather and still feel you are immersed in the surrounding nature. ‘We used to have one when we came here for family holidays when I was little, so it feels very nostalgic,’ explains Candice.

To complete the après-ski experience, she installed a spa suite that features a steam and massage room, gym, as well as the stunning relaxation area with its illusory mountain lake view, which is actually a backlit photograph of a Canadian landscape. It’s a trick she and Olivier repeated for the ceiling of the Forest Room en suite in order to connect the windowless space to the outside. ‘When you look up, you feel you are overshadowed by the snow-covered treetops,’ says Candice.

‘The surrounding landscape was central to the whole scheme,’ she adds. ‘The chalet has a panoramic view of the mountains, so it was important that you could see the landscape from every window – that you feel immersed in nature.’

See more of Olivier Gay’s work at ogarchitecture.com. Find Candice and Marc’s travel company at heliskigreenland.com and chalet rental company at marcandou.com

DINING AREA

Candice chose a variety of mismatched chairs. ‘I have never liked everything matching and in the same colour scheme,’ she says.

Wild Artichokes wallpaper, Pascale Risbourg. Snowball pendant lamp by Giopato & Coombes at Galerie Bensimon. Nexton Plank dining table, Riva 1920

home profile

THE OWNERS

Candice Pinoncély and her partner Marc Lazzaroni run ski travel and chalet rental companies from their home in the French Alps.

THE PROPERTY

A chalet-style home in Courchevel over three floors. On the lower floor, there is an open-plan living room, dining room and bar; a kitchen; an en suite bedroom, a boot room and in/out swimming pool. On the ground floor, there are three en suite bedrooms and a spa area. On the top floor, there is a further en suite bedroom.

KITCHEN

Architect Olivier Gay tried to reinterpret an Austrian classic kitchen by mixing wood, metal and Tyrolean tiles.

Gustav Rosso floor tiles by Bisazza. Splashback tiles, 41zero42.com. Oval bar stool, Muubs. The cabinets were custom-made by One Atelier in Italy

SPA AREA

‘It’s not a real view, but the introduction of a bird on a perch plays tricks with your imagination. It’s playful and childlike,’ says Candice.

The backlit view on glass was created by Visual Boutique in France. Chair, Kettal

IN/OUT POOL

‘We introduced a tropical theme to the pool area so you felt you were retiring to warmer climes after a day on the slopes,’ says Candice.

Exotic porcelain tiles, 41zero42.com. Pop wood effect ceramic tiles in the pool itself by UonUon from 14oraitaliana.com

IGLOO ROOM

‘The idea here is to give the impression of being in an Arctic environment – hence the all-white scheme.’ The combed plaster finish creates a handmade effect.

Bellefeu candle lights, Authentage. Polar bear cushion, Jules Pansu

home truths

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO ON CHRISTMAS DAY?

Spend the morning off-piste on the slopes with family.

HOW DO YOU DECORATE THE CHALET AT CHRISTMAS?

It depends on who is there, but one year we installed a family of illuminated reindeer outside.

HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE?

With family. We have the main meal on Christmas Eve and then a more relaxed lunch on Christmas Day.

WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO?

House music and rap – as well as classical.

WHAT’S YOUR STYLE FASHION-WISE?

I like to mix textures, prints and colours and I love statement jewellery. My favourite designers include Dolce & Gabbana and Isabel Marant.

WHAT’S ALWAYS IN YOUR FRIDGE?

We are pretty healthy so it’s full of fresh and regional food. (We try to avoid too much charcuterie and cheese!)

ALPINE ROOM

Hidden away in the eaves of the chalet, the Alpine Room serves as a family room or dormitory for the children. ‘It has a cabin feeling about it, which the children love,’ says Candice.

Wall in Montana fabric; cushions from Les Trois Vallées collection, all at Pierre Frey

RETRO SKI ROOM

‘This is a nod to the traditional Courchevel of the Fifties with its vintage images of skiers on cushions,’ says Candice.

Équateur Derby wallpaper (on ceiling), Élitis. Piantama coffee table/lamp, by Marcantonio for Mogg. Eco-wise wool plaid/ stripe blanket, Pendleton