Swiss-inspired Chalet house plans were introduced to America in the mid 1800's by architect Andrew Jackson Downing and became popular in the northeastern United States, where their picturesque style fit in perfectly with the cold and snowy landscape. While Chalet floor plans are usually a straightforward rectangle with a front-facing gable roof, they are generally embellished with rustic ornamentation. Hand-hewn timber serves as both structural elements and decoration in the form of brackets, balustrades, and bargeboards, giving them some resemblance to Victorian house plans. Porches and balconies are common elements of Chalet designs. Usually warmed by cast-iron wood-burning stoves connected to high stone chimneys, Chalet home plans invite cozy gatherings of friends and family over a steaming cup of hot chocolate. Idyllic in rugged mountain settings or ski resorts, the rustic "Heidi" house provides a wonderful old-world alternative to modern A-Frame design. Uncommon and distinctive, Chalet house plans are a charming choice for both vacation homes and year-round living.