This simple 1970s-style ski chalet in Sugarbush, Vt., was "remuddled" in the '80s to bring it "up to date," says interior designer Jane Austin, of Norwood's Jane Austin Design.
The 1980s update included adding a new entrance, the master bedroom suite and revamping the kitchen, which was closed off from the main living space by a contemporary rounded wall. All the updates were done in typical '80s fashion, including popcorn ceilings, Formica kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, wall-to-wall carpet, metallic and geometric wallpapers, and an overall color scheme of gray and raspberry.
"The intent of this recent renovation was to create a rustic mountain home with a definite feeling of an Old World, European-style ski chalet," Austin says. "We wanted it to blend with the surroundings, maximize the outdoor spaces and views, and provide a cozy retreat for snowy winters and crisp autumn nights."
Since the summer in Vermont is "as wonderful as the winter," Austin says she knew it was important to have lots of daylight, outdoor living spaces and room to spread out.
"To link the house to its natural environment," she says, "we incorporated natural materials and finishes in the overall design scheme."
Photography courtesy of Jane Austin
Space Planning and Interior Design: Jane Austin Design, Norwood and Warren, Vt.
Building Contractor: Chris Burfoot, East Ridge General Contracting, Warren, Vt.
Custom Cabinetry and Furniture: Traditional Design, Waitsfield, Vt.
Custom Tile Backsplash: Mollie German
Living Room Chandelier: Bauer Art Metal, Waterbury, Vt.
Window Treatment Fabrication: Window Pro of Vermont, Waterbury, Vt.
Outdoor Stonework: Creative Stoneworks, Fayston, Vt. Post and Beam: ALCES Post & Beam, Fayston, Vt.
An old metal entrance door was replaced with a new cedar front door and sidelight. The '80s-style staircase, with balusters bolted to the stringer and handrail, was replaced with a new system that included oak treads stained to match the new floors throughout the house and maple risers, left in their natural state and treated with polyurethane. Wrought-iron diamond and twist balusters, wrought-iron newel posts and oak handrail were extended up the staircase to the upper landing, where a half wall was removed to create an open and inviting space. The rustic bench on the landing is made of yellow birch by a local craftsman. All the walls in the hallway and throughout the entranceway were plastered and hand troweled to give a textured, rough-hewn look.
The focal point of the living room – the fireplace – originally consisted only of the firebox on the left. In the renovation, Austin doubled the width of the wall, matching the original fieldstones, and included a new wood box that would house the flat-screen TV. The raised hearth provides extra seating when entertaining a crowd. Below the raised hearth, wrought-iron shelving was added to house all the TV, video and sound components. "The mantel was a 100-year-old beam that we resurrected from a barn," Austin says. The carriage lanterns came from the local hardware store and were painted and distressed to blend with the fieldstone. The original "popcorn" cathedral ceiling was replaced with natural red cedar tongue-in-groove planks. Carpeted plywood flooring was replaced by hand-planed oak planks. "The wrought-iron chandelier was made by a local blacksmith who copied a drawing I had given him," Austin adds. The sofa and club chairs hail from Hancock & Moore, the pillows and footstools from Pottery Barn, and the cornice and drapery fabrics from Greeff.
The kitchen allows for serious cooking with a double island, Thermador double oven, six-burner gas stove and Kohler farmhouse sink. The kitchen also houses a microwave and convection oven, a warming oven, a wine refrigerator, a bar sink and a service area for the bar. The end of the island provides hidden cookbook storage along with a lighted niche for display items. "The end of the island is six inches taller than the island countertop to shield diners from the potential view of dirty dishes in the kitchen," Austin says. The countertops along the perimeter of the kitchen are Pietra Cardosa, with a leather finish that resembles the color and texture of the fieldstone in the fireplace. The island countertop and the top of the island stools are made from tiger maple, also sourced from a local Vermont logger. Cabinets are painted and distressed in Benjamin Moore Powell Buff. The island and range hood are painted and glazed in a custom barn red color. All cabinetry was custom made by local craftsmen, including the island countertop and stools. The carvings and motifs in the dining room furniture inspired the custom backsplash behind the stove. "I worked with a local artist and tile maker to interpret the motifs from the furniture and pick up the colors from the surrounding design elements," Austin says. "Now it serves as artwork and a major focal point that brings together the entire color scheme for the open space." The bar top was made from a solid piece of white oak, obtained from a local logger. Vintage insulator lamps from telephone poles in Vermont were found in a local antique store and made into pendants to hang over the bar. Leather stools with turned legs and nail-head trim were bought from Frontgate.
The Dining Room
The dining room furniture was purchased in an antique store in Quebec City and trucked down to Vermont. The dining table opens to seat 10, "which is terrific when entertaining family and friends," Austin says. "The intricate wood turnings and carvings give it an Old World feel consistent with the chalet style we were trying to achieve." The carvings and motifs on the furniture later provided inspiration for the custom tile backsplash in the kitchen. The bay window where the buffet stands was built especially to accommodate that piece of furniture. The windows in the dining room and next to the fireplace were added in the renovation. "Now, in addition to western views of Sugarbush," Austin says, "diners and the cook in the kitchen can appreciate the view to Camel's Hump and Mount Mansfield." The chandelier is by Murray Feiss.
The former gray Formica cabinetry, raspberry fixtures and smoked gray mirrors were replaced with travertine tile, green onyx trim, custom glass vessel sinks, custom green wood cabinetry, natural cherry countertops, faux painted plaster walls, a seamless glass shower and Toto fixtures. The area formerly occupied by an enormous Jacuzzi now provides an updated and open space.
A major extension and renovation of the front deck was part of the home renovation, along with the incorporation of a large stone patio, stone walls, perennial rock gardens and a rustic fire pit. "All of these outdoor elements make this as lovely a summer escape as it is a winter escape," Austin says.