Welcome to the 192nd Metamorphosis Monday!
How was your weekend? Do anything fun? Are you enjoying these beautiful fall days or do you live in an area where spring is just getting underway? It’s been really pretty here in Atlanta. I spent the weekend going out to eat and to the movies with a friend. Then I worked on a little project, a project I hope to share soon.
For this Metamorphosis Monday, I’m excited to share an amazing renovation my friend Cornelia has in the works. Cornelia lives in Switzerland and she, her hubby and their two daughters are all avid skiers. They have a vacation home, a wonderful old (historic) ski cabin that’s only around 2-3 hours from their main home. The cabin which is located at 1670 m (5,480 feet) was built in 1852.
Here’s how it looks during the summer months.
And here’s the same view come wintertime. Wow! Quite a contrast, isn’t it? The cabin is literally a ski-in, ski-out home since it’s located only 500 m from the nearest ski lift. Cornelia and her family can take the ski lift up and ski right up to the cabin in the winter time.
Cornelia’s cabin was in need of some serious restoration and renovation work. In order to do anything to the cabin, they had to go through an elaborate process to get approval. Cornelia said, “It is very difficult to get a building permission in Switzerland. As the cabin is outside a building zone we were only given permission to renovate and extend the house because the house was transformed from agricultural use to a holiday chalet before 1971.”
Cornelia continued, “We had to hand in exact plans (which made our architect), we had to parcel the land around the cabin because the rest of our land (about 140,000 square feet) is still under a very strict agricultural law which means that when we would like to sell it, we would have to offer it to the farmers around there first.
The whole process took more than 1 ½ years. We got the permission in October 2011. We were lucky because we had a referendum in February 2012 which changed the Swiss constitution that is no longer allowed to transform or build new holiday homes in communities where there are more than 20 % holiday flats, cabins or houses. The community where our cabin is has a percentage which a high above 20 %.”
The restoration/renovation got started earlier this spring, once the snow had melted. There wasn’t a road leading to the cabin so one had to be constructed first so all the building materials could be delivered. Cornelia wrote, “It won’t be easy because it is very steep there and some parts of our land are marsh, which is under nature preservation.”
Cornelia said, “The most surprising moment was when we drew up the small road which leads up to the cabin and we discovered thousands and thousands of wild crocuses. They grew just after the snow had melted. ”
Work got underway. Cornelia said, “Pictures show you the house at the beginning of July with it propped up and the foundation being added. They had to work very carefully in order to prevent that the cabin would collapse. That is why they made first the right side and later on the left side. ”
Cornelia said, “They removed the old ground floor.”
Then the whole second floor was lifted up. You can see more of the foundation that was being added underneath the cabin in the pic below.
This is the photo that really says Swiss chalet to me. It reminds me of the cute chalets you always see carved on German cuckoo clocks.
As summer continued, significant progress was made on the foundation.
By July, this was how things were looking. Cornelia said, “They built a new foundation (cement) and made new walls, this time of brick.”
“The original was made of stone and mainly wood, it did not have a proper foundation. There were only loose stones under a wooden floor which was rotten.”
Once the foundation was in place, scaffolding was built to allow access to the other areas of the cabin.
Still lots of work to be done inside.
The work on the inside will start soon but will have to stop during the wintertime since it would be very difficult to reach the cabin once the snows begin.
I asked Cornelia what she had planned for the inside? She said, “They will build in a new floor. The floors on the ground floor will be either natural stone (from nearby) or wood. The floors and the walls on the second floor will be mostly wood.
We are going to have two bathrooms (one on each floor) and two bedrooms (a big one on the ground floor and a small one on the second floor). The kitchen will be in the new built annex. That picture shows you the ground floor of the annex, which will become the ski room.
The kitchen will be built on the top of the annex. It will entirely consist of wood. The living room will be on the second floor. There will be a utility room on the first floor with the washing machine etc.”
I asked Cornelia if they would have electric heat? She said, “We did not have water or electricity before. We have a spring on our grounds but it is not permitted to use it as drinking water. So we have to deduct the water from the communal water supply line. We will have electric heating in the first floor and a stove (wood) in the second floor. We can control the electric heating with our mobile phone. That means you put on the heating when you leave home. It is about a 2 to 3 hours drive from our home.”
Cornelia shared this view looking down the hill from their property to the village below. She said, “It is a small village called Brigels on an Alpine plateau (1300 m) in the Surselva’s Anterior Rhine Valley (Vorderrhein) area. The main language is Romantsch which is very close to Latin.”
Wouldn’t you just love to visit this lovely place?
Cornelia said, “The work will continue until the snow starts. This may be in September/October. We do not know. Last year it started to snow in December which is very unusual. They cannot work during the winter because the road will be closed. It is in the middle of the ski slopes. So the work inside will start at the end of winter. This year we had snow till the end of May so it is very uncertain. We hope that the work will be finished in the middle of next summer.”
I can’t wait to see the progress of Cornelia’s ski cabin! Cornelia, thanks so much for including us in this amazing journey! We are loving every moment and can’t wait to see how the inside turns out!
Looking forward to your wonderful “Before and Afters” for this Metamorphosis Monday!
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