“Today’s buyers are younger, busier, and want to move into something that instantly reflects their lifestyle, which is lived through the prism of social media,” says Jerôme Lagoutte, who heads Savills estate agency in the top-tier French resort of Courchevel 1850. “The amount spent on interior design has tripled in the past 20 years; in a €10 million (£8.8 million) chalet, it is now around 10 to 20 per cent of the budget.”
The simple wooden refuge, evocative of “a gentle, pure and pastoral life” in the words of 19th-century critic John Ruskin, is now in many cases a high-value, income-generating asset that needs to compete with the rest in attracting the ever-growing international elite enjoying winter sports in the Alps…
…Styles vary between the opulent – such as the project with a £30,000 staircase of “melting icicle” glass spindles against a backdrop of beaded faux shagreen (ray skin) wallpaper – to the supremely practical.
One property, Chalet Pow Pow, has playful features including children’s bunk beds made of brightly coloured Corian, an acrylic composite normally used for worktops, and an old chairlift sprayed white and used as a bench in the entrance.