As the mercury takes a dip here at DoHQ in London, our thoughts turn to the snowy Alps and our imaginary search for the perfect mountain chalet gathers pace. Could our discovery of this delightful barn conversion in Sarreyer spell the end of our quest?
Located a short hike away from the glitzy resort of Verbier, the village of Sarreyer has the picture postcard chalets and tiny old barns you would expect from this charming corner of Switzerland. One of these has been converted by Vevey-based architects Rapin Saiz into a small but perfectly formed vacation home.
Externally, the barn retains the traditional features of "raccards" common in the Valais region - a simple wooden structure built on stilts which are topped by stone discs. These are designed to prevent rodents from accessing the grain stores, and also give the impression of a cabin resting on little mushrooms.
The architects built a basement which provides a direct entry into the utility area, including the bathroom and closets, ideal for storing skis and muddy boots. A steep ladder staircase leads up to the main living area on the ground floor, which can also be accessed from the outside through a large glass pocket door. A wood burning fireplace forms the centrepiece of this cosy space, complemented by a compact sofa and comfortably upholstered armchair. A sleek kitchen with stainless steel worktop runs the length of one side of the building, separated from the living area by a wooden table with trestle style legs and simple chairs. The loft space upstairs has been converted into sleeping spaces for a couple of adults and two children. Oak panels have been used throughout the cabin, which adds to the sense of warmth as well as making the space feel larger. Strategically placed windows and skylights bring ample light inside, even into the basement.
What this petite mountain abode lacks in size it more than makes up for in cosiness. This is a good example of how great design can turn even the smallest spaces into the most charming homes.
Keep lighting low and natural with the Karl Johan table lamp from New Works and the Chou table light from LZF. A simple but characterful suspension light such as the Roest Vertical suspension light from Karven would work well too.
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