Interview with Hannah Allen, The Director of Chalet Shop
Can you give us a bit of background on the company and what it offers?
Chalet Shop was set up over 10 years ago by myself and co-founder Sally Ingham. Our vision was to provide ski property owners with a one-stop shop to get a chalet up and running. My experience renovating and managing Richard Branson’s The Lodge in Verbier taught me a great deal about Alp-based renovation projects including the trials and tribulations of product selection and challenging delivery scenarios. Sally was a lawyer and a keen skier – her passion combined with a common-sense approach is the perfect complement to my hands-on experience in the chalet industry. Since the early days, we have brought in a 3rd director, Vikki Ginks, whose vast experience in the corporate world is invaluable when it comes to contract negotiations and team management. Our Directors are supported by a fantastic team based in Oxfordshire. We are delighted that we are now the go-to company for kitting out a ski property with everything from big-ticket furniture to teaspoons.
How and why was the company founded? What are its goals?
It is our aim to simplify the process of furnishing a ski property for our clients. The majority of our clients are based in the UK or Asia and we recognise the challenges of furnishing a ski chalet from abroad. Not only are there the obvious logistical challenges but with Brexit also throwing its hat into the ring, the requirements of export are ever more time-consuming and complex. Put simply, it is our goal to offer a great choice of stylish products, delivered to the chalet door with the minimum of fuss for our clients. We also have ambitions to up our eco-credentials and offer a Package that is carbon-neutral and sustainable.
What styles and trends have you noticed already for 22/23 for chalet interiors?
Some styles will never go away when it comes to ski chalets. The cosy ski cabin look is a keeper – sumptuous neutral sofas complemented by natural textures such as soft sheepskins (the faux options are leading in the popularity tables these days) pure wools and reclaimed woods. The Japandi look works well for the more modern luxe chalets and is something we are seeing more of. Sustainability and recycled products will remain a strong trend for 2022/23. In terms of colours, we will see more sage and forest greens this year. These work so well across all seasons in the natural environment of the mountains. And if you’re up for a bit of Alpine nostalgia, checks are set to make a major comeback.
What has been your favourite chalet to work on?
We have been lucky enough to work on such a great range of projects from smaller 3-bedroom apartments to large 7-bedroom chalets. It’s difficult to single out one particular project as they all have their own individual styles and logistical challenges! On every project we love seeing the conceptual ideas on the initial moodboards come to life in the properties. It’s so satisfying working with our clients over a number of months to produce exactly the look they are after and the positive feedback of seeing it all come to fruition.
I personally enjoy organising the more challenging logistics, whether it be hoisting a 3m long dining table over a 5th floor balcony or using a piste basher to transport to chalets with challenging snowy access!
One of our most memorable projects was for a family who had owned a beautiful Swiss chalet for some years and were renovating it for generations to come. It was one of our first large chalet projects and Sally and I got involved in every little detail. On delivery day, we rolled up our sleeves and got stuck in. We shovelled snow to clear access, we built furniture, we made sandwiches for the team on an upturned cardboard box, we assisted electricians and we scrubbed and cleaned. It was a very busy 24 hours but by the end of it we had formed a great relationship with our delivery team, who we still work with today. We had also made firm friends with the chalet owners who we shared a bottle of wine with at the end of the day before all collapsing on plastic-wrapped mattresses for the night (first rule of installation – mattresses stay wrapped until the very last moment)! This experience taught us the nuts and bolts of our installation service and has been fundamental to our business progression. Not only that, we remain great friends with the family and know that the chalet is full of love and happy memories for them.
What is a must-have feature for a chalet for you?
It’s hard to pick just one, but I think it has to be the view. Large picture frame windows will dictate your furniture layout and even your colour scheme. The view is always a number one consideration when we are putting a furniture plan together.
What does ‘luxury’ mean to you?
To us, luxury is all about effortless practicality without compromising on style. If you are aiming for the high-end rental market for your chalet, it is crucial to nail this balance from the word go.
And finally, which are your favourite resorts to ski in and why?
Verbier has to be up there with one of my favs – having spent so many happy years there, the variety with plenty on and off-piste skiing never grows old. More latterly, I’ve also had some very enjoyable trips to the Portes de Soleil area and La Cluzas. The transfer is a little longer but Sainte Foy is a big hit with the family.
We have teamed up with the incredible team over at ‘Chalet Shop’ to assist our clients with interior styling in their mountain homes, please get in touch for enquiries, we would be delighted to put you in touch with their experienced team.
Call: +44 (0) 208 133 1130