The Milanese studio Icona Architetti has transformed the apparently distant soul of a high-altitude penthouse into a warm and welcoming nest where wood is king

With spring 2023 upon us, what better way to say goodbye to the cold season than by telling how Icona Architetti has transformed a large mountain penthouse into a cozy chalet overlooking the peaks, with an intimate heart.

Covered in wood, in height and in length, with windows - now small and now large - overlooking the panorama of Champoluc and a delightful mini-spiral staircase that divides the lower floor from the upper one , this mountain chalet represents the dream of any lover of the silent and collected life of the mountain.

A place to take refuge in any season. But which gives its best in winter, also thanks to the style tricks with which it is proposed in these shots: soft blankets in eco-fur and a warm foliage effect carpet that invites you to cuddle, flying with imagination.

A traditional rascard, on the top floor of an apartment building

The genesis of the project is amusing and almost inspirational: when the current couple who own the apartment started the search, with the aim of buying a house to transform into their own mountain nest, the idea was shaped on anything but an attic in a multi-storey structure.

The two, in love with the concept of a traditional high-altitude home, were looking for a rascard, the typical wooden residence of the western Alps.

A stereotype rather far from the charming penthouse they came across: an apartment on the top floor of a building in the town center, in need of complete renovation. The challenge posed to the designers was therefore to save the initial wishes of the clients, transforming the residence into a mountain home inspired by the characteristics of the rascard.

The house is immediately imagined with the features of a chalet: the lower levels have been used as real substitutes for the stone base on which the rascards traditionally rest. Thanks to this visionary ploy, the structural logic of the mountain home has been not only safeguarded but even exasperated. A chalet on top of a building.

Wrapped in wood

To recreate the welcoming atmosphere classically associated with mountain huts, it proved necessary to work on a profound rethinking of the spaces and finishes, remodeling the rooms and emphasizing the atmosphere, intimacy and views.

An easily attainable intent, if wood is summoned.

The attic, which develops on a double height partially mezzanine, has been stripped of the existing coverings and reupholstered with the warm and enveloping essence of evaporated biolarix, dyed and customized with iron brushes to give the wood a rustic and rough tactility thanks to the experience of local craftsmen.

Even the existing beams were treated in order to give homogeneity with respect to the new coatings.

Double height, at full speed

The most evident interventions concern the central core of the house, made up of the living and the dining which form part of the internal staircase.

It is here that the search for proportion is immediately perceptible, in a rhythmic relationship between the staircase, the pillars-wing that separate the kitchen from the living room and the three welcoming steps-bench, designed as a comfortable slope on which to climb and gain the shot of the window above, from which to contemplate an unforgettable view of Monte Rosa.

Still on the living level there is a bathroom, the children's bedroom and the master bedroom with its own private bathroom.

From the stairs, with a loose motif designed to lighten the compactness of the wood, you enter a large mezzanine space that overlooks the double height: a custom-built living room, with large fixed sofas with a wooden structure that can be easily transformed in beds.

Here too a window cuts out the panorama of the mountain landscape. The guest bedroom and another bathroom close off the upper floor.

Playing on a calibrated balance between temporal depths, which range from the recovery and refitting of old furniture full of emotional value (the kitchen table, the two armchairs) and the made-to-measure design of the living spaces, of the rooms, the kitchen and the bathrooms, the Icona Architetti studio has been able to give life to a capsule in time and space: a chalet closely connected with the contemporary and, at the same time, rooted in tradition.

Details to note

Expertly thought out details emerge throughout the project to dictate a stimulating rhythm to the spaces.

In the living room, this verticality is perceptible in the light yet solid structure of the staircase, as in the pillars that filter through without separating the kitchen from the living room.

In the master bathroom, the tall wooden slats delimit the perimeter of the room: positioned in staggered perspectives, with different angles of inclination, the slender planks partially cover the glass of the shower, generating a variable transparency gradient.

For those who stand on the threshold of the room, the wall of the bathroom will be opaque, for those who are on the other side of the room, it will instead be visible. This signature can also be recognized in the less flashy details, such as the coat hanger at the entrance designed as a sequence of long wooden blades sunk into the wall.

The colors and finishes are instead essential and draw on the timeless elegance of mountain homes. The involvement of local workers is is a further ingredient of that mountain spirit that can be breathed in every corner of this imagined chalet.