Case Study: Les Trois Mazots, Morzine
Sep 21, 2021
With its rustic wooden walls and creative use of our Alalpardo tiles, this stunning ski retreat in the French Alps fuses traditional decor with contemporary flair to provide a double dose of design inspiration. Here, owner Christie O’Brien shares the story behind it…
Full name: Christie O’Brien
Occupation: A bit of this and that whilst enjoying the mountains!
Style and location of the property: Les Trois Mazots is located in the exclusive and sunny part of central Morzine in the French Alps. As the name suggests, the property is made up of three buildings. There is the main chalet which consists of the master suite, bunk room, bathroom, kitchen and open plan living area, as well as two original mazots that have been refurbished and contain a bedroom on the upper level and a bathroom downstairs. The mazots are linked by spacious sun terraces.
Mazots were constructed by Alpine farmers mainly from the 1700s to the mid-1800s, and were originally used as multipurpose safes. Food stocks such as grain and dried meats, precious family heirlooms and valuable personal or business documents were stored away from the main farmhouse. Our eldest mazot was built in 1862!
What was your overall vision for the project?
My overall vision was to create a place where families or groups of friends could come to enjoy their holidays in accommodation that was an experience in itself. I wanted to make it interesting and fun but also somewhere I was proud of and not just another chalet in a ski resort.
What did you do and why?
Having moved to Morzine in 2017 to enjoy a family lifestyle different from the one we had in the UK, we fell in love with the area not just for its awesome skiing and accessibility but also for the fantastic summers. To make this lifestyle a permanent possibility we needed to make some money so decided to invest in a property and see if it would help sustain our new existence here!
I was looking for something interesting and different that I could add value to and came across Chalet L’Antique, as it used to be known. It had no insulation and no central heating, but it was in a fantastic location, and had two aged and neglected but beautiful mazots in the garden. I wasn’t sure quite what to do with it initially, but I knew it had potential!
We let it to seasonaires for the first winter, who unsurprisingly racked up an enormous electricity bill due to having to use electric heaters to stop them from freezing, and cracked on with breathing new life into the property the following spring. We ripped pretty much everything out, including the floor, and had to drive an excavator into mazot number one to put in new foundations and a concrete floor with underfloor heating. The building was a shell, as were the two original mazots. The next stage was to build everything back up!
The project provided us with a wonderful opportunity to start with a blank canvas and create something really special.
Which Bert & May products did you use?
We used three Bert & May tiles which are from the Alalpardo range. We used the black version in a zigzag pattern in the first mazot in the bathrooms, kitchen, living area and around the log burner; the pink Alalpardo tile in a random pattern in the bathroom of the second mazot, and a fresh green Alalpardo stripe arrangement in the bathroom and dressing area in the third mazot.
Why did you choose them?
I chose the Alalpardo tile as I wanted to do something a bit different from classic ski chalets. I like the fact that their design allows for different and interesting patterns that look great and are hopefully timeless too.
What do you think they add to the space?
They add character and show that some extra thought has gone into the appearance and feel of the accommodation. Hopefully it is what guests would like to have in their homes and in doing so we’ve created a cool home from home for them.
What led you to use Bert & May?
I was looking for inspiration as I knew I wanted a cabin-like feel but modernised. I came across Bert’s Boxes and took a lot of inspiration from there.
What do you think Les Trois Mazots offers that other ski chalets do not?
There is plenty of charm mixed with a bit of cool, and all mod cons including a hot tub, along with the fact that the clients can stay in their own mazot - I don’t think many people can say that they have stayed in a mazot!
Do you know anything about the history of the building?
Whilst digging new foundations the team found a metal sign in the dirt below the main building reading ‘L’Antique Club Restaurant’. It turns out in the 1960s and 70s the property (then known as L’Antique) was a restaurant, bar and club! The old Super Morzine lift started ten yards away from the property so L’Antique was one of the first après ski bars which also had quite a lively reputation. When stripping back the walls we found some considerable fire damage and from talking to some older Morzinois we learnt that on the opening night of L’Antique they were all having such a good time that the building caught fire! It sounds like one hell of a party and made me love the building even more! The sign now hangs in the kitchen as a nod to the building’s heritage.
And finally - how would you describe the overall look and feel of Les Trois Mazots?
Cool, charming, cosy and completely different to what you would expect to find in the middle of a ski resort - it has to be stayed in to be believed!