6 min read
As the first snow gets ready to hit the ground, we cannot help but daydream about a winter escape. Nestling in the heart of one of the most sought-after ski resorts in the world, Joe Aoun Architecture’s AU14 project is one worth appreciating amongst other projects.
From its construction, architecture, interior design, and custom-made and hand-picked furniture, the finest way to describe this project would be as the ultimate getaway: a slope side ski chalet with luxurious interiors as beautiful as the scene outdoors.
At first glance, this luxury residential chalet effortlessly blends in with its surroundings yet stands out from its neighbors. This exceptionally designed chalet is located in Auron, a well-known neighborhood in Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée, France.
Standing at an elevation of 1,600 meters to 2,450 meters in the French alps in the Alpes-Maritimes department, Auron is a ski resort part of the “Stations du Mercantour” group located above the Tinée Valley near the town of Saint-Étienne-de-Tinée in France.
It is the perfect place to spend a winter vacation, and the multidisciplinary team at Joe Aoun Architecture made sure that would be flawlessly achievable with the AU14 project.
The land where the project stands was the last empty plot in the residential complex holding 6 chalets in the area. The plot was challenging in terms of construction and aesthetics, leaving it unwanted and out in the neighborhood. But as we already know by now, JA Architecture’s team loves a good challenge.
“Many people found it hard to envision a decent, let alone beautiful residential unit standing on this difficult plot of land. Our challenge was finding the perfect position and orientation to the cottage to get the best view, ” shares the founder of JA Architecture, Joe Aoun.
In order to achieve that, the team went for the mathematically highest point possible, focused on the roofing scheme, went for double-height rooms in terms of construction, and made sure all living areas would be located on the upper stories in terms of design.
The living room, dining room, and entertainment unit are all located on the second floor.
The cottage consists of a ground level and 3 floors.
Luxury meets functionality
As you enter the residence from the ground floor, you are greeted with a “Monkey’s Cabana” sign over a stylish and inviting entryway, and an indoor pool immediately catches your attention.
Taking a moment in that entryway, you will find an integrated doormat and adequate storage space where you can remove your ski gear and avoid the hassle.
From there, the upper floors of the residence are accessible through the stairs or the installed elevator, which contains a beautiful piece of art: a photo of the Faraya station in Lebanon, dating back to the 1980s.
Once you get to the upper floors and step out of the elevator, the first thing you will be able to see is the breathtaking view of the Auron region.
On the first floor, we have 5 bedrooms. “As we know, cottage houses are always a place of gathering for extended family and friends. Therefore, we thought about that option and tried to make hosting as comfortable as we can. We designed a dormitory with 4 bunk beds where the kids can sleep, play, and make the most of their time”, explains Joe Aoun.
Moving on to the second floor, you will find the large reception area where most of the action and fun happen.
“Most people would think the perfect place for a home spa would be in the rear part of any floor. However, and for this particular project, we decided to place it on the last floor in the upper part of the double-height ceiling living room and overlooking the beautiful exterior view”, reveals Joe Aoun. This decision came with the team’s goal to emphasize the view.
Focusing on the homeowners’ quality of life, the team paid special attention to the heating and cooling systems of the residence.
Electric heat pumps are installed throughout the house. However, and thanks to smart insulation, the homeowners have seldom had to put energy-consuming heating to high temperatures, making the house more comfortable during both cold and hot months, and thus reducing their energy bills.
Going the extra mile, as usual, Joe Aoun came up with the idea of installing spotlights in the wooden lampposts surrounding the house that illuminate in a downward direction. This way, the light would still be showing even with thick meters of snow.
Every cottage house needs a cozy fireplace, and the AU14 surely delivers. Located in the main reception area, it serves both great aesthetics and functionality, adding an undeniable charm to the design scheme and bringing great warmth to the rooms.
Unique pieces of furniture and accessories
Vintage, hand-picked furniture is also the star of the interior decor of the AU14 project. “Many of the furniture pieces are bargains from Paris and Beirut flea markets. For example, we found the bar which dates back to the 30s in a flea market in Paris, the three monkey-themed chairs are from an antique boutique in Saifi in Lebanon, and the furniture of the dining room are vintage 70s Hermes pieces”, reveals Joe Aoun.
Bringing the outdoors in
To preserve the cottage feel of the project and avoid it looking like a stale building, the team opted for a locally sourced stone for the exterior material of the first 2 levels, while going for the obvious choice of wood in the upper two floors.
Architect and project leader Joe Aoun describes: “With the aim to incorporate the natural elements surrounding the chalet, we chose dark-colored Scandinavian wood and locally sourced stone as an exterior coat for the project; whereas Jura wood of the same color tone with a smoother, smaller, yet very similar grey stone were the go-to choice for the interior design scheme to create harmony between the interior and exterior designs.”
Joe Aoun Architecture always strives to create a design flow and keep it going throughout the entity of the residential project.
To achieve that, they made sure all materials were consistent throughout the different rooms of the AU14 project: reclaimed vintage Belgian wood on the flooring of the entire house, dark-tinted wood up the walls, rusty orange Corten steel for frames, black and mellow grey granite for kitchen countertops, and a pop of warm orange in the decor are masters of the interior scene.
Adding more movement but remaining faithful to the dominant color scheme, an ochre-colored coating can be found in the bedrooms along with other decorative details.
With a landscape as mesmerizing as Auron’s, we cannot forget the outdoor areas of the AU14 project. It is important to note that the patio surrounding the residence is sectioned into different areas and yet connected between the different levels, like the backyard that works as an extension of the kitchen and can be used for all types of gatherings.
Are you looking to build your dream home? Get in touch with Joe Aoun Architecture’s multidisciplinary team and benefit from our turnkey services.