Chalets originated in the Alps and are distinguished by exposed structural members called half-timbering that are both functional and serve as decoration. Chalet designs gained popularity in the mid-19th century throughout the United States, borrowing from a romantic ideal of contemporary Swiss architecture. The roof of a chalet is low-pitched with wide, overhanging eaves. This architectural element influenced Craftsman and Prairie house styles later in the early 20th century. There is almost always a front gable featuring highly decorative woodwork at the fascia board. The upper floor of a chalet usually projects beyond the story below, with a balcony at the front of the house for leisure and entertaining. The balcony often has a balustrade that is constructed of a flat, cut-out panel, adding to the gingerbread charm. This style of house was traditionally painted on the exterior with murals or faux architectural elements representing quoins, shutters, or ornamental design around windows and doors. Further interest may be added with vertical board-and-batten siding. The Chalet style would make the perfect mountain home for its use of natural materials and allure of the grand Alps. The floor plan of Chalet style houses tends to have less square footage, as they are typically used for vacation homes. That being said, two or more stories are possible with bedrooms on the upper floors that open to the balcony and maximize fairy tale views. The first floor could have an open plan with a central fireplace warming the interior and a spacious kitchen for entertaining guests. Provide 360 degree views with a spacious rear deck to complement the second floor balconies. For styles with similar rustic appeal, check out our collection of log homes, cabin house plans, and A-Frame designs. Related collections: Log House Plans, Cabin House Plans, A-Frame House Plans, and Vacation House Plans.