Passepartout Homes’ property portfolio showcases a very exclusive collection of unique luxury holiday retreats located in 15 countries on four continents across the globe. What’s unique about each of our exclusive holiday villas is that every one is a home which has been lovingly built, rebuilt or renovated by its proprietors who invested their hearts and souls into creating a unique and special atmosphere for their guests. In this interview series, we meet the property owners who tell us the stories behind their exclusive holiday homes.

Baita 1697 is an exclusive holiday retreat located in the charming village of Pattemouche in the Piemonte region of northern Italy, near the village of Sestriere, the site of the 2006 Winter Olympics. Featured in the international interior design magazine Architectural Digest, this luxury ski chalet has five ensuite bedrooms, a music and film library with an open fire which converts into a double bedroom, and a children’s room which sleeps six. The rooftop terrace boasts a luxurious 8-person wooden hot tub with stunning views of the majestic Alps as a backdrop. Baita 1697 is the perfect getaway for a luxury ski holiday or summer retreat in the lovely Italian Alps.

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Within easy walking distance of the chalet are many top-class ski runs. Just metres away is a cross-country track which runs through the nearby Val Trancea National Park. For those who love downhill skiing, a chairlift just 50 metres away, takes skiers up above the village to slopes with 50 kilometres of tracks. The famous Milky Way ski area is reachable via a cable car just 100 metres from the villa, offering 400 kilometres of pisted slopes rising as high as 3280 metres. This is also the perfect summer destination for those who love hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, tennis and golf.

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It’s not surprising that the owner and designer of this extremely stylish luxury retreat is an acclaimed interior designer. Lucie McCullough has tastefully and lovingly injected her own unique personal style and flair into this exclusive holiday property. Originally from Northern Ireland, Lucie grew up near London and after working for many iconic fashion houses in New Yortk, London, Rome and Milan, moved to Hong Kong where she spent 10 years running her own interior design business. She tells us how she transformed this 17th century farmhouse into a luxury ski chalet…

How did you discover this property and what made you fall in love with it?

While I was living in Milan, my best friend dated a guy from the Barolo wine valley. He would take us there every weekend. So I was very familiar with the 13 hamlets which make up the town of Pragelato. The old ‘baitas’ don’t ever come on the market and are normally passed down through families. We only managed to get it as our architect, who was chosen prior to finding a house, told us that his cousin was selling it, as the family had relocated many years ago to Geneva and after several decades of not using the house finally decided to sell it outside of the family.

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What was the renovation process like?

The property dates back to 1697. The renovation process took a while as it had to be completely transformed, and took 2.5 years in total. The ground floor had been used as a stable for animals while the upstairs was pretty much a hay barn. The exposed stone vaulted ceilings on the ground floor are typical to that area and so special.

We found a beam in the house which has the date 1697 on it – which was the only way of knowing the date of initial construction of the property – hence the name, Baita 1697.

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What is unique about the area?

It is a very low key, honest and charming Italian hamlet with superb skiing. It is rather unknown and off the tourist track, yet it hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics.

We have used the holiday property as a family in the summers but plan to rent it out as of summer 2015. This is also a superb summer destination because there are so many things to do here like horse riding, fishing, hiking in the beautiful Val Troncea national park which is on our doorstep, wine tasting in the Barolo valley, and cooking classes.

What type of visitor does Baita 1697 suit?

It best suits family holidays and gatherings and is ideal for a few couples with kids. We also have a nearby nanny flat which is a 1-bedroom flat which is just a minute’s walk from the house.

Did you have any notable guests stay there?

Yes, we’ve had supermodels and the owner of the biggest fashion conglomerate stay here.

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Blog post by Isabel Putinja

Passepartout Homes is a private members’ club catering to the high-end holiday rental market. We match carefully-targeted owners of private residences with highly discerning guests. To find your perfect villa, visit our website.

Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande

Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande is Founder and Director at Passepartout Homes, luxury holiday homes.

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