Design & Build

With the fantastic opportunity to design and build our very own chalet starting from a blank sheet of paper, the possibilities at first seemed almost endless. But really, we knew exactly what we wanted the moment we secured our plot of land.

Something traditional and elegant, yet still practical. In harmony with its surroundings but most importantly, a building that would mature gracefully and be able to stand the test of time for generations to come.

Chalet Cathay North East Elevation

Vast picture windows look out down the spectacular Rhône Valley and the bedrooms also share the same stunning panoramas.

Traditional Design

Luckily, we found an architect and builder who was particularly in tune with our thinking and who we felt could help us realise our dream. Owning his own timber yard, he fully understood the whole process of choosing materials and taking a building from plan and making it a reality. Together, we came up with the perfect compromise between a traditional design and something that also incorporated the distinct features that we felt would be unique to us.

Chalet Cathay North West Elevation

The welcoming aspect that greets you as you approach down the gentle sweeping drive.

Harmonious Interplay of Wood and Stone

The artisanal Swiss craftsmanship of the main chalet and garage roofs is proof that building artistry and attention to detail still exists.

Locally-Sourced Materials

It was important to us that the fabric of the building resonated with the surrounding mountain landscape, which is mostly forested. We felt that choosing sustainable, locally-sourced timber and stone would respect the heritage and industry of the region. In tandem with the traditional design we had envisaged, we hoped that our choice of materials would not only be hard wearing but also gain further character with the passage of time.


The terrace decking is constructed from Ipe, a durable and strong hardwood that requires no chemical preservative treatment.

Timber Cladding

The wooden exterior is clad in larch, known locally as Mélèze, a traditional timber used in chalet construction that can withstand the weathering effect of the alpine sun.


The large rocks used in the landscaping came from Saxon, a nearby town.

It’s very quickly apparent that this is a labour of love for the owners.

Swiss Craftsmanship

In the build of a chalet, Swiss craftsmanship finds its expression in a number of ways. It’s sensitive to local building traditions and materials and not least the local micro-climate.

Massive Joists

The massive wooden joists that support the stone-clad eaves reveal intricate curves, where even the edges of the timber have been carefully chamfered. The generous eaves offer all-weather protection and the extra overhang adds gravitas to the overall elegance.

Handmade Stone Roof

Luzerne stone confers character, and should not ever need replacing, although it does require a more substantial wooden structure to support its greater weight.

Solid Copper

The chimney, guttering and downpipes are all made from solid copper that is also built to last and ages beautifully.

Yin & Yang

We kept going back to both traditional & modern themes for our chalet design. Our carpenters were delighted with our final choice of motif for the rustic wooden window shutters.

The craftsmanship and attention to detail is a wonder to behold.

Geothermal Heating

Although the capital cost was high, we made the decision to install a geothermal heating system instead of an oil-based one.

Geothermal harnesses the energy of the mountain itself and is economical, efficient and environmentally friendly. It provides a more effective way to heat a building because the foundations are kept at a constant temperature throughout the year. This means the all three floors of the chalet are kept at a constant, comfortable temperature all year round as well as supplying all our hot water needs.

Clean Energy

For the price of running a water pump, the chalet can be kept at a constant comfortable temperature throughout the year, whilst also vastly reducing the building’s carbon emissions.