The Chalet-style home, as Americans know it today, was inspired by the Chalets of Switzerland. Sometimes, the architectural style is even referred to as Swiss Chalet, over the more standard Chalet.
Chalets, as you have probably guessed, started in Switzerland, as a seasonal home for ranching, hunting etc. Chalet means hut of hunter in the Arpitan language. They were often inaccessible in the winter, but were used for farming and hunting purposes in the summer. Of course, as humans have modernized, they have become predominantly associated with winter and alpine activities.
Chalets are generally wooden, with gentle sloping roofs. They have wide supporting eaves for heavy snowfall and often have beams and other structural aspects exposed to the naked eye. Many Chalets have balconies or large windows to enjoy a snowy night without having to endure the cold. In Switzerland particularly, but in the United States as well, many Chalets are colored in varying, extremely bright colors.
The term Chalet has generalized over the recent years, especially with the growth of travel industry. For many, Chalet’s have little to do with their architectural style but by their function. For a long time, Chalet’s were only found in cold mountainous areas. However, the term has broadened to really any vacation home and many resorts term their vacation homes as chalets (probably to sound fancier). Nowadays, chalets are almost a catch-all for a home located near a travel destination or activity.
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