Inspirations

A Mind of Winter: Snug Chalets in Austria (Saunas Included)

In winter, we’re happy with a fireplace to gather ’round and thick duvets to crawl under at night. For inspiration this week, we’re looking to alpine cultures, where the cold season is not just lived through but embraced.

It’s in Austria that we stumbled what might be the platonic ideal of cold-weather dwellings: small, snug chalets at Peterhof, now in its fourth generation of ownership. Here, the Schmid family operates a clean-lined, world-class restaurant along with 10 petite chalets for private let, each thoroughly modern with nods to classic mountainside design. Crucially, each includes a sauna and hot tub for warming up.

Take a look inside:

peterhof was first opened in zwischenwasser, austria in 1954 as an alpine inn  9
Above: Peterhof was first opened in Zwischenwasser, Austria in 1954 as an alpine inn on the grounds of an old farm. Some 67 years later, in 2021, the retreat was transformed into a modern shingled cluster of buildings—the restaurant and 10 chalets—that is, as they say, a “village within a village.”
“whilst planning and during the building of the project, we were al 10
Above: “Whilst planning and during the building of the project, we were always careful to treat the natural surroundings with the respect it deserves,” according to architecture firm Baumschlager Eberle. The resulting dwellings are incredibly simple in silhouette, clad entirely in larch shingles, with a welcoming glow inside.

the interiors of each chalet are done in silver fir. “the consisten 11
Above: The interiors of each chalet are done in silver fir. “The consistent use of wood was an essential premise of the project,” according to the Peterhof website. “To do justice to the horizon of Alpe Furx, panoramic windows allow framed views overlooking the peaks of Rätikon, Alpstein, the Rhine Valley, and the Petrus and Paulus Chapel.”

the centerpiece of each dwelling is a wood burning fireplace, which adds heat a 12
Above: The centerpiece of each dwelling is a wood-burning fireplace, which adds heat and also acts as a clever room divider. (A daily delivery of wood is included in each stay.)
an efficient kitchenette runs along one wall, with shou sugi ban esque cabinets 13
Above: An efficient kitchenette runs along one wall, with shou sugi ban-esque cabinets and matte black counters.

a dining nook is tucked on the far side of the fireplace. 14
Above: A dining nook is tucked on the far side of the fireplace.