HomeInterior DesignHow Chalet Bertha Doubles as a Sumptuous Apartment Assets

How Chalet Bertha Doubles as a Sumptuous Apartment Assets

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Named after an Alpine goddess in Germanic mythology, Chalet Bertha is a family vacation home and rental property in Charlevoix, a region of Quebec, Canada, long famed as a year-round resort area of breathtaking natural beauty. Located high on a hillside in the Laurentian Mountains near the picturesque town of Baie-Saint-Paul, a celebrated arts and crafts colony, the three-level, 7,500-square-foot chalet enjoys panoramic views of the surrounding forested landscape and the mighty Saint Lawrence River beyond. It’s one of 46 identical homes in a private community that ensures aesthetic uniformity by selling each lot with a set of plans determining the precise footprint and exterior form of the residence to be built on it. While complete floor plans are included, however, the interiors may be configured any way the homeowners like.

Bertha was built for a business couple who intended to use it for ski weekends and longer vacations with extended family and friends as well as for corporate retreats and small conferences. The owners also planned to offer the house for short-term rental. To create an interior that satisfied this demanding program, they turned to Perron, which worked with longtime collaborator Luc Tremblay Architecte on reimagining the entire layout. It was a major undertaking, begun in 2019 but not completed until 2023 thanks to COVID and Canada’s winter weather. Firm founder Natalie Perron led the team, with Rebekah Maciagowski as project manager and Sarah Eve Hébert as artistic director. “Natalie and Sarah Eve were the design experts for the chalet,” Maciagowski notes. “But all the firm’s designers worked on it.”

Reimagining a Family Vacation Home in Quebec, Canada

living room with fuzzy couches and swinging chairliving room with fuzzy couches and swinging chair
Stephen Burks’s Kida hanging chair and Timothy Oulton’s sheepskin- covered Yeti sofa furnish a lounge nook in the top-floor great room at Chalet Bertha, a three-level family vacation house and rental property in Baie-Saint-Paul, Canada, by Perron.

At the beginning of the project, the team collaborated closely with the clients in developing the overall plans. But as things progressed, the owners relinquished more and more control. “Finally, they went for a year-long trip around the world and left the remaining decisions to us,” Hébert reports. “They said they trusted us,” adds Maciagowski, “then off they went, expecting the house to be absolutely turnkey-ready when they returned.”

Bertha’s eponymous snow goddess provided inspiration. “The concept was to feel the winter spirit indoors and be warmed by the joy of company,” Perron says. “It was all about creating magic with spaces that open up to the world, playing with cold and warmth in a way that makes us feel that we’re outside when we’re inside.” She also took cues from what are known in French as hôtels particuliers—literally, personal hotels—freestanding, private town mansions that achieved their apogee in 18th-century Paris. The chalet would be a family home that functions like a five-star hotel, right down to Bertha-branded luxury soap, shampoo, and toothbrushes in every one of the six bathrooms. 

bathroom with white tiles, dual mirrors and dual sinksbathroom with white tiles, dual mirrors and dual sinks
The main bathroom outfitted with Anderssen & Voll framed oval mirrors.
white bathroom with glass shower and white bathtubwhite bathroom with glass shower and white bathtub
An acrylic tub in the main bathroom.

The style of the modern and comfortable interior also takes its cues from Northern Europe. That means clean lines, inviting textures, and lots of blond-wood finishes basking in the light from walls of highly insulated, commercial-grade windows. “When you live in a Nordic country, you discover strategic ways to bring warmth into your interiors,” Perron notes. Furnishings were sourced from Sweden and Denmark as well as Italy, Spain, the U.S., and, of course, Canada. Custom pillows, throws, and rugs were produced by craftspeople on L’Isle-aux-Coudres, a river island that Bertha overlooks. 

The chalet’s main public spaces are on the top floor, where a 2,500-square-foot great room with a soaring beamed ceiling comprises living, dining, and lounge areas arranged around twin nodes: a huge woodburning fireplace and a central open kitchen defined by a massive U-shape counter. (There’s a hidden, fully equipped professional chef’s kitchen, too.) On the ground floor, the double-height main entrance is not a traditional “home” space but an après-ski mudroom that’s more like a welcoming hotel lobby. Outfitted with a herringbone brick floor for easy maintenance, it features a 1970’s-style suspended metal fireplace encircled by wood stools and rocking chairs and flanked by a banquette, behind which a large storage room accommodates ski gear. 

living room with black fireplaceliving room with black fireplace
On the middle level, the double-height, brick-floored entry serves as an après- ski mudroom and lounge area centered on a custom ’70’s-style fireplace.
indoor bar with wooden stools and fully stocked barindoor bar with wooden stools and fully stocked bar
David Geckeler’s Nerd barstools serving the open kitchen’s custom U-shape counter in the great room.

A wide hotellike hallway equipped with a bellman luggage cart leads from the front door to four of the chalet’s five bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom. The fifth bedroom and a kids’ dormitory with eight bunk beds are on the lowest level. The suites are all similar in style, but each has its own color scheme along with a name derived from the word snow in various languages—Sno, Nev, Lumi, Sne, and Ho, the last being the largest and main bedroom. The house easily sleeps 20. 

Accessed by a bright-red steel staircase that incorporates a slide, the lowest level includes a gym and an expansive family room with areas for kids’ craft activities, a convertible ping-pong/pool table, and a climbing wall. The color palette down here is brighter and more saturated than most of the upstairs, where the outdoors are the chief inspiration and the natural tones of fir, spruce, oak, and pine, joined by a variety of lacquered veneers, tend to predominate. 

sitting room with red stairs and wooden seating areasitting room with red stairs and wooden seating area
A custom steel staircase incorporating a slide leads to a central podium in the bottom-level family room, which includes a climbing wall and kids’ craft table with built-in banquette.

“We did a big reveal for the clients when they returned,” Hébert reports. “We had some surprises for them, so the experience was like unwrapping a gift, especially as it was five days before Christmas. It was wonderful to see their reaction.”

exterior facade of hotel with view of the snowy mountainsexterior facade of hotel with view of the snowy mountainsexterior facade of hotel with view of the snowy mountains
The chalet is part of a private mountainside community of identical houses over- looking the Saint Lawrence River and L’Isle-aux-Coudres in Quebec’s Charlevoix region.
bedroom with teal blue walls and bedbedroom with teal blue walls and bed
In Nev, Ionna Vautrin’s conical Pion coffee table serves as a nightstand while, above Must’s Claire bed, felted-wool panels help tame acoustics.
bedroom with mirrors and orange bedsheetsbedroom with mirrors and orange bedsheets
Schneid Studio’s Eikon pendant fixtures hang above Patricia Urquiola’s Husk bed in Ho, the main suite, where Jørgen Bækmark’s J104 beech chair pulls up to a custom desk.
living room with fireplace and fuzzy couchesliving room with fireplace and fuzzy couches
The great room features herringbone oak flooring, another fireplace, this one massive with a concrete bench, and Studio Lipparini’s Peanut B. sectional sofa upholstered in velvet.
outdoor deck with hot tub and open view of the surrounding sceneryoutdoor deck with hot tub and open view of the surrounding scenery
Off the great room, the covered terrace includes a spa pool, custom cedar table and benches, and John Hutton’s Belvedere swivel lounge chairs around a firepit.
stairway entry with wooden stairs and red screensstairway entry with wooden stairs and red screens
Behind the door at the rear of the oak podium, a fully equipped gym.
stairwell entry with windows to the outdoor scenerystairwell entry with windows to the outdoor scenery
An oak stair with oak-veneered balustrades, connecting the entry and great room.
bunk bed room with blue drapes and carpetbunk bed room with blue drapes and carpet
The kids’ dormitory off the family room is lined with four pairs of custom bunk beds.
hallway with blue curtainshallway with blue curtains
A folding textile door fronting the kids’ dormitory.
corner of bedroom with teal walls and closetcorner of bedroom with teal walls and closet
In the Nev suite, a Ritz sconce with a built-in plant holder.
room nook with white couch and artworkroom nook with white couch and artwork
Also in Nev, artwork by Perron project manager Rebekah Maciagowski and custom pillows by L’Isle-aux-Coudres craftspeople.
hotel hallway with curved red cart and multicolored carpethotel hallway with curved red cart and multicolored carpet
A custom hotel-style luggage cart is an amusing touch in the suite hallway, which has wood-slat paneling, a unifying element used throughout the chalet.
outside of hotel roomoutside of hotel room
Font’s digitally printed Walking on Clouds nylon carpet in the hallway outside a suite.

project team

PERRON: NATHALIE PERRON; SARAH-ÈVE HÉBERT, REBEKAH MACIAGOWSKI; MARYSE TOURANGEAU; GENEVIÈVE PERREAULT; OLIVIER RACINE; ALEXANNE LEVASSEUR; BRIAN BLOUIN; LAURENCE DUMAIS-BLOUIN; EMILY LAPOINTE.

LUC TREMBLAY ARCHITECTE: ARCHITECT OF RECORD. 

GÉNIE+: STRUCTURAL ENGINEER. 

CONSTRUCTION ROSAIRE GUAY ET FILS: GENERAL CONTRACTOR. 

project sources

FROM FRONT DEDON: HANGING CHAIR (LOUNGE). 

EGE CARPETS: RUG (LOUNGE), CARPET (DORMITORY). 

SANCAL: CONICAL COFFEE TABLES (LOUNGE, NEV SUITE). 

RH: SOFA, DINING TABLE (LOUNGE), SWIVEL CHAIRS (TERRACE). 

JC BORDELET: FIREPLACE (ENTRY). 

BONALDO: SECTIONAL (GREAT ROOM). RUBI: SINKS (BATHROOM). 

RUBINET FAUCET COMPANY: SINK FITTINGS.

ZITTA: TUB.

HAMSTER: CUSTOM SCONCE. 

MUUTO: MIRRORS (BATHROOM, HO SUITE), BARSTOOLS (KITCHEN). 

DOOOR: FOLDING DOOR (DORMITORY).

MOOOI: CARPET (HALL). 

MUST: BED (NEV SUITE). 

TUDO & CO: SCONCE. 

MUTINA: BAR-FRONT TILES (KITCHEN). 

B&B ITALIA: BED (HO SUITE). 

SCHNEID STUDIO: PENDANT FIXTURES. 

HAY: DESK CHAIR. 

THROUGHOUT ANNA CHARLOTTE ATELIER: CUSTOM ARTISANAL PILLOWS, RUGS, THROWS. 



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