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Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring the latest and greatest home architecture and design trends in our area. To begin, let’s take a look at how the quintessential American ski chalet has begun to take new form.

The world of luxury “ski town” architecture is rapidly changing, and for the better or worse is still to be determined. It seems the days of cozy fireside family gatherings in small, classic log structures that embrace their natural surroundings has been surpassed by wide open living spaces made possible primarily with the use of glass and steel. These are the new go-to materials for the modern chalet. Huge steel beams have the ability to span great distances while still carrying the necessary snow loads that mountain communities require. This in turn gives rise to a Pandora’s Box of previously unattainable designs offering wide open spaces with soaring ceilings and a significant reduction in overall framing. With the reduction of necessary structural framing, architects and designers have the option to fill the open spaces with something else… glass!

Both the classic lodge style chalet and the new California Contemporary designs embrace their natural environments albeit in very different ways. Previous school of thought was to create an indoor space that embraces the natural surroundings by utilizing them as primary building materials and enveloping their inhabitants with them, creating a protective barrier against the harsh outdoor environs. Today designers are bringing the outdoors into the home through the use of expansive glass walls and floor-to-ceilings windows allowing them to utilize more contemporary materials on the interior while still embracing the surrounding natural environment.

Unfortunately this new build style comes at a price. The cost of construction has been rising over the past decade as more consumers become enamored with the lack of an architectural rulebook placed upon them by the limitations of the materials being used. That rulebook no longer applies as long as you are willing to accept the increased cost of these building materials and construction styles.

Will this divergence from what we have all embraced as the “norm” continue as the younger consumers currently driving this trend begin to age and retire? Only time will tell. For now it seems we will have to become accustom to this shift and look to the next generation to begin the next one.

Glass and Steel 2   Stellar TH

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