No more Saunas please – we’re not in Sweden

23rd August 2017 | French Alps

If you’re a keen skier (and if you’re reading this and thinking about buying a ski property, presumptuously I’m assuming you are) then you’ll be all too familiar with a certain style of (typically 1980’s french) interior design.  I call it the ‘Swedish Sauna’ look.

It goes something like this – as you enter your Alpine chalet or apartment, you’ll suddenly notice that every things gone dark. You’ll also notice that nearly every square inch of wall (and sometimes ceiling) is covered in vertical pine cladding – heavily varnished to give an ‘appealing’ orange hue.

From a rental point of view I’d argue this is bad, but not terminal, but from a buying and selling point of view, it’s a complete non starter. In all my years of accompanying buyers around ski properties, I have never ever met one buyer, who when confronted with a classic sauna look, reacts with anything other than loathing and a desire to rip it all out. It looks cheap (there’s a reason for that, it is), it makes rooms look smaller and darker than the reality and it has no place in your property if you want to sell it.

Of course, ‘goût’ is subjective

- Andrew Beale

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m far from anti – wood.  In my opinion all privately owned ski properties should have a lovely oak wooden floor (leave the carpets for the bedrooms if you must have them, tile bathrooms and kitchens – see it’s easy) and I love a good horizontally clad feature ‘vieux bois’ wall to break up the white plaster as much as the next man. Wood is warm, irresistibly Alpine in feel and look and in moderation is one of the best investments in your interior styling you can make.

Of course, ‘goût’ is subjective,  so if you’re thinking of retaining this look in your apartment or Chalet, or worse, are thinking of cladding every inch of your new property in this vile orange Scandinavian homage then go ahead – if you like it what does it matter? But when the time comes, just don’t ask me to try and find a buyer for it…….




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