Mountain Homes We Love

December 15th, 2023 Organic Interior Design Post by Tim Van Samang

With ski season in full swing, let's focus on mountain homes for a moment.  Cabins are where we get away to when we have time and want to connect with friends, and family in a relaxed manner. We want these spaces to feel well-appointed but not overly “designed.”   We want the fabrics and materials to be sturdy enough not to worry about them but refined enough to look good when entertaining our neighbours, visitors, and family for après.  Essentially, we want them to look effortless!  So- lets talk about mountain home design & decor beyond the log stools and large bear/wolf/bison painting.


Think about your current style and dial down the ‘flashy’ and then dial up the ‘nature’ et voila: chalet style! There are three things to think about:

  • Focus on nature – both the views and your decor

  • Unfussy pieces

  • Function, as well as Form, is important



  • Natural materials, wood is a great choice

  • Leather, wool, mohair, stone, linen

  • Plaid, stripes, or other simple patterns

  • Hard-wearing surfaces

  • Hidden technology

  • Handmade goods

  • Earthy tones like browns, greens, muted reds and blues



  • Flashy and sophisticated finishes like crystal, or lots of brilliant metallics

  • Glitzy and reflective surfaces like mirror, polished chrome

  • Urban references – photos of city lights, busy streets

  • Saturated brilliant colours like hot pink, purple

  • Plastics or man-made surfaces


Well – this is sure to be controversial!   I am not a fan of being too obvious in my décor choices.  I like to be subtle.  So. We don’t need a massive painting of a bear AND bright flannel pillows AND old school snowshoes in your entry hallway.   All of those things yell YOU ARE IN A SKI CABIN.   I much prefer to whisper “you are in a ski cabin”.   Lets say it without really saying it. A more appropriate entry hallway for a ski cabin is sure to have a good bench for taking off your snow-boots.  Some art or perhaps a feature wall with a natural finish like stone or wood, and perhaps a plaid pillow on that bench in earthy colours. 


Fabrics: Easy- care and hard-wearing options are best for low-maintenance care. Performance fabrics are a great choice, especially if you are renting your cabin or plan to entertain there. 

Furniture placement: If you plan to entertain, consider your guests and what they like to do for apres.  Do you play games around the coffee table?  Or relax with a glass of wine? Is the seating comfortable? Is the spacing conversational? (i.e. each person is at most 10 feet from the next?) Where are they going to put down their wine glass? 

Lighting: Ski cabins are used in the winter when days are short and darkness falls early.  Lighting is going to be crucial to creating a cozy environment.  You need enough to see your card game but soft enough to not be glaring into people’s eyes.

Function – almost before form: Because ski cabins are there to house you in between all your outdoor activities, it is important to identify where all your outdoor equipment is going to go when you come inside.  Where are the snowy ski boots going to go to dry out? The wet coats?  

Common Areas First: Where can socializing take place?  Spend your money in these open areas before the bedrooms (where you will spend less time).

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