The original cabin, dubbed chAlet, was built onto a patch of land in Donovaly, Slovenia in the 1970s. Since its construction, the wood cabin had fallen into near disrepair. The shutters were misshapen and splintered, the bottom had been damaged by the elements and the paint was faded and peeling. Rather than completely tearing down the structure, Y100 Ateliér decided to focus on the property’s sustainable features and improve upon them to create an updated, yet rustic, cabin that continues to embody the charm of the original structure.
The chAlet cabin remodel was completed between 2018 and 2019, with the updated design by lead architect Jana Stofan Stykova and designer Pavol Stofan of Y100 Ateliér. Why the capital “A” inside chAlet? The project leaders wanted to emphasize the classic A-frame shape that is so iconic for these types of wooden houses and cottages.
The age-old question of whether it is more environmentally friendly to remodel versus completely rebuild has always been a subject of debate in the design world, but it is generally considered better for the environment to remodel because of the reduced need for resources and energy. Some properties are obviously too run-down or unsafe in order to justify renovation, but luckily that was not the case for this unique cabin.
The designers wanted the cabin to blend into the natural scenery without a need to compete with the forest, instead adding to its beauty. The original chalet was the optimal size for its recreational and accommodation needs, so the structure was not expanded in any way. Rather, the challenge was in providing an appropriately comfortable atmosphere for the small interior while improving the aesthetic qualities of the exterior.
A first floor bedroom was removed to give the occupants better views from the living room. Benches and beds throughout were modified to include room for extra storage, and the bathroom now comes with a recessed bathtub with views of the treetops through a skylight.
On the second-level terrace, you’ll find a private playground complete with a sandpit, slide and small climbing wall as well as a quiet area for relaxing and enjoying the forest views. The basement, bearing elements, interior staircase and roofing were all preserved during the reconstruction, maintaining a rustic charm to the updated chalet.
Photography by Miro Pochyba and Pavol Stofan via Y100 Ateliér