ISSUE 101  |  Deck the Halls

A Swiss Chalet Reborn (with Rooms to Rent)

December 05, 2013 2:00 PM

BY Margot Guralnick

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Brücke 49 Hotel Pension, a modern-rustic guest house in the alpine spa town of Vals, is where we’d like to be right now. Located in a 1902 house with four guest rooms, the B & B is the work of Ruth Kramer and Thomas Schacht, a Swiss-Danish couple who traded careers in Denmark—she as a designer, he as a business developer—for mountain village living. They restored and designed the place themselves: It’s not fancy,” they say, “just very personal with a lot of thought going into what we think will give you a cozy feeling.” For more information, go to Brücke 49 Hotel Pension.

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Above: The century-old house is painted slate gray with white shutters. Vals is a historic Alpine village with a population of 950 (mostly farmers and craftspeople, say Ruth and Thomas). It’s situated in the country’s largest canton, Graubünden, not far from the borders of Austria and Italy, and has a five-lift ski resort and a thermal hot springs resort, Therme Vals, designed by architect Peter Zumthor (day visitors welcome). Read about the spa in the Remodelista post Poetry in Space: Vals Thermal Spa in Switzerland.

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Above: We love a glossy black front door. (Trying to find the right shade for your front door? See Black Magic: Architects’ 8 Top Paint Picks.)

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Above: Vals is famous for its limestone, and the entrance of the house has its original stone floor and stairs. The couple painted the walls charcoal gray, a carryover from the exterior. The side chair was in the house when they bought it, and is emblematic of how Ruth and Thomas mix old and new: they upholstered the seat in a Paul Smith stripe from Kvadrat.

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Above: All of the floors in the house, including the living room, are original wide-plank pine—”long, massive planks that came from the local woods.” The couple added new panels to the walls in the old style. The rug-free room is furnished with Danish classics, including a 1940s armchair by Finn Juhl.

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Above: Guests are not only welcome in the stainless-steel-appointed kitchen but encouraged to cook. Note the apples in a wooden crate on the floor.

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Above: A guest room under the eaves. The B & B sleeps a maximum of 10 people.

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Above L: A turn-of-the-century doorknob with its original key. Above R: A bentwood chair hung on a peg rack in a bedroom.

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Above: A case for the (nearly) all-white bathroom. 

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Above: Breakfast at Brücke 49 (served on Royal Copenhagen’s hand-painted Multi-Colored Elements porcelain): homemade bread and muesli with yogurt and fruit. 

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Above: An alpine arrangement that we plan to replicate.

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Above: The 1902 knob on a bathroom window. The couple went to enormous trouble to restore the house’s details—though this closure is original, “the rest is handmade new” to fit it, explains Thomas, and includes old handblown glass “which makes looking through the windows a little unsharp.”

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Above: Folding wooden chairs for taking in the mountain air year round. For rates and reservations, go to Brücke 49 Hotel Pension.

For more design and travel inspiration, browse our posts on standout lodgings around the world. And don’t miss, For Rent: A Ski Cabin by Peter Zumthor, World-Renowned Swiss Architect.