Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation & Restoration

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.

Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation and Restoration


Here’s how it looks during the summer months.

Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation and Restoration



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.

Historic Ski Cabin in Switzerland


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.”

Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation and Restoration


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.  ”



So beautiful!



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. ”

Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation and Restoration


Cornelia said, “They removed the old ground floor.”

Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation and Restoration


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.

Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation and Restoration


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.

Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation and Restoration


As summer continued, significant progress was made on the foundation.

Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation and Restoration


By July, this was  how things were looking.  Cornelia said, “They built a new foundation (cement) and made new walls, this time of brick.”

Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation and Restoration


“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.”

Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation and Restoration


Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation and Restoration


Once the foundation was in place, scaffolding was built to allow access to the other areas of the cabin.

Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation and Restoration


Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation and Restoration


Still lots of work to be done inside.

Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation and Restoration


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.

Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation and Restoration


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.”

Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation and Restoration


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.”

Historic Swiss Ski Cabin Renovation and Restoration


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!

Metamorphosis Monday:

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  1. Beautiful cabin. How lucky they are. A complete labor of love, that is for sure!

  2. I really enjoyed reading this post. I have been checking out the beautiful area on google earth. What started it was I saw a cake on a blog from a woman in Switzerland that looked just like what grandmother used to make. I asked my sister about the cake. She had no recollection since she is a savory person. I, on the other hand have warm memories. So I started researching my mother’s ancestry. They originate from France. What I did not know was they lived about 12 miles from the Swiss border, which probably influenced the cake. They left during the French Revolution. According to the ship’s ledger my gggrandmother had 8 children, the youngest were 1year old twin girls. They traveled from the Swiss border to Le Havre France and then took a ship to New Orleans. They then went up the Mississippi on a steamboat to St. Louis. Can you imagine, with eight children? I am struck by the resiliency, be it building a second home or traveling to America.

  3. Susan,
    What an amazing cabin!

    Thanks so much for hosting!!


  4. That was such an interesting post thanks to Cornelia and you Susan for sharing.

  5. Susan,
    living in Germany that is the “heart” of Europe, we are in the lucky position to have various neighbor countries that are all beautiful and easily to reach. In a few hours (between 2 and 4 hours) we can be (by car) in the UK (not really a neighbor country but very easy to reach via the Channel Tunnel), in Denmark, in the Netherlands, in Luxembourg, in Belgium, in France, in Austria and in Switzerland (there are two neighbor countries more but hubby and I never travel to the east). Each of these countries I mentioned has its own “unique” beauty and what we most of all love about Switzerland is the “fresh”, healthy air it has! I can’t describe it but you perceive you are in Switzerland just only through the invigorating air you breathe! So, I think that Cornelia not only is one lucky lady who can live there but she also has a beautiful home and soon a beautiful chalet, too.

  6. Happier Than A Pig in Mud says

    Wow, the cabin looks like an amazing place to visit! Also looks like an adventure to get to it during the winter:@)

  7. Hi – love the post – what a transformation. I live in a country just entering Spring – everything is slowly (and in some cases erupting into life!) coming to life. My favourite time of year is autumn – I envy you going into that time again. New Zealand has very distinctive seasons – so each time is a blessing!

  8. I think this is one of my favorite Metamorphosis Monday features you’ve ever shared! Fascinating to see the challenges they face, but also the culture and history! Thanks for sharing!
    xo Heidi

  9. Linda@Nina's Nest says

    What a beautiful setting! Will look forward to the finished chalet. I hope they are going to have heat! Linda

  10. Mary from Virginia says

    How very amazing! This is the only way I would ever see this part of the world! It is just beautiful. I am looking forward to reading more about this wonderful renovation. I can’t imagine the no heat-no water thing! They are tough!

  11. merle turner says

    There was a lot of hard work involved in that project but it will all be worth it in the end.

  12. Bonjour,
    Je suis très très heureuse de vous retrouver après mes longues semaines d’absence. Je suis ravie de vous lire et d’admirer vos merveilleuses photos… Quel travail extraordinaire que vous entreprenez là ! Je suis admirative.
    je vous fais de gros bisous et vous dis à bientôt.

  13. Thanks for hosting, Susan! How exciting for Cornelia to be able to renovate her little cabin. It will be wonderful to see the finale. Would love it if you would share this post at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House which goes live at 8am CST on Monday. http://thededicatedhouse.blogspot.com Hope to see you at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  14. Susan, what an interesting post! I loved to read it and watch this family build their vacation home in that beautiful country. Now I can’t wait to see it finished! 🙂

  15. Wow, what beautiful shots and such a neat project. I lived in Switzerland for a year and it really is an amazingly gorgeous country!

  16. witnessing transformations like this are my favorites, particularly when they keep the integrity of the structure in place. Can’t wait to see how this progresses.

  17. Oh, this was wonderful to wake up and see! I grew up going to Switzerland every Christmas to ski. I can remember being a young girl and dragging my ski bag through the airport, on the train and what seemed like a world away from SC! How beautiful is their cabin and the land surrounding! What a lovely dream! I dream about taking my kids there one day…there is nothing like it! ‘Sound of Music’ comes to mind! Thank you for hosting Susan! Christie

  18. I just linked up and wanted to stop by and thank you for hosting! I enjoyed reading your post ! Hugs, Penny

  19. Now there is scenery we want soon forget,wouldn’t that be an adventure,when they finish,reckon they will want to have some guest? Let’s all go see Cornelia!

  20. Susan,
    Thank you for sharing, your friend is truly blessed, what a beautiful location!
    Have a super day!

  21. Wow- that’s an amazing transformation process! There must have been a bit of finger crossing when they started to lift the old cabin to start the new foundation! The interior feels so much larger than what the exterior looks like!
    These people are living the dream!

  22. That is a wonderful cabin and what a great place to live! Thanks for hosting Susan. I almost missed the party again:-( When does it actually start?

  23. What a beautiful part of the world! Thanks for showing us Cornelia’s cabin and I look forward to seeing more progress-next year! Thanks for hosting! I can’t wait to visit so many interesting links this week.

  24. Wow, It looks like and amazing place! I love the photo of all the spring crocus! Thanks for sharing that with us, Laura

  25. Wow! Amazing chalet! I can just imagine how beautiful it is when it is all done….Christine

  26. What a neat post on this cabin transformation!! My the labor of love!

    Thank you for the party Susan. I am linking my booth display tips- it really is a transformation of sorts!

    bee blessed

  27. Thanks so much for hosting! Life to the full, Melissa

  28. Such an incredible feature! It would be amazing to have a home like that. Thank you for hosting!
    Cheers, Andrea

  29. how cool! i kept waiting for julie andrews to appear and start singing!!! ;}

    m ^..^

  30. Definitely worth all the headache to have that view! Can’t wait to see how they finish the interior!

  31. This post brings “Heidi” to mind, my favorite childhood book.

  32. Beautiful place for a cabin – thanks for sharing this with us.
    Have a great week.

  33. Wow! What a project…how fascinating to watch the project unfold. Hope to get to see it when it is completed. Thanks so much for hosting!

  34. Loved seeing the pictures of the renovation in Switzerland. Thanks for hosting MM. Hope you have a great week!

  35. Lovely, Susan! And what a fantastic view! Thanks for hosting! …hugs…Debbie

  36. Switzerland is high on the top of the list of places I would like to visit. Anyone who would go to such lengths to restore and update such a cabin is A++ in my book. I can’t wait to see what next summer will reveal.

    Thank you for this feature and for hosting.

  37. What an incredible house – and the view is gorgeous!

  38. Thank you so much for hosting Susan! Your pictures from your friend’s cabin reno are fantastic, what a treat to live there and quite an undertaking too 🙂 Have a wonderful week

    xoxo, Tanya

  39. Lovely!! I went to a Switzerland village several years ago to visit a friend and ski – I’ll have to see where Cornelia’s place is in relation to where I went. Maybe I should do a travel post on it!

    Question – though I’ve been connecting to MM regularly, I want to make sure I’m not breaking your rules… I often show diy work by others but I’m not promoting their site, just showing ideas. Is that ok?


  40. We had a wonderful hiking trip in Switzerland last August. The views were absolutely amazing. Where is her cabin? We were hiking around Murren and then Zermatt.

  41. reminds me of the Italian Alps…what a great renovation!

  42. I recently saw an episode on house hunters international about a couple moving to Switzerland and how difficult it is to get certain things done regarding renovations, etc. It said Lake Geneva was the most expensive city in the world to live, with the average home priced in the millions. From what I saw, it’s worth it! Like your friend, the scenery there is just spectacular. I wasn’t able to see the winter pics though, but I’ll come back when my computer is behaving better and take a peek.

  43. That is going to be one amazing place!
    The views, oh my, I think I could be snowbound there for a few days!
    Thanks for sharing Susan!

  44. What a beautiful place and a great endeavor!!! Would LOVE to visit such a place!!! Thanks for the link party!

  45. Wow, what an undertaking. It is truly amazing. I can just see Cornelia setting a delightful table when all is finished. How cozy it will be during the skiing season. I noticed that there were pictures left on the wall as they raised the cabin. We have been in Switzerland when they dug out a road in May, the snow was fifteen feet high around us and the local hotel had been covered to the roof, it still showed damp marks on the ceiling. Beautiful country.
    Thank you Susan, this was most interesting and thank you Cornelia for letting us see your latest project.

  46. Susan, Thanks for an amazing glimpse into another world, wow …the photos were so interesting to look at. I can’t even imagine. What a dream project.
    Leslie (aka Gwen Moss blog)

  47. Thanks for sharing this amazing transformation! And seeing another part of the world too. I know their NEW place will be beautiful, and I hope Cornelia allows us to see the completed project. XO, Pinky

  48. Beautiful cabin!!!!
    Thank you for hosting! Have a great week!

  49. Oh my goodness, what a process!!! A project that definitely requires vision. Wow.

  50. Susan, what an amazing cabin! Thanks for hosting this week!

  51. Oh my, my childhood dreams of Switzerland looked something like this in my mind, but oh how amazing her view is. What a process, but oh can you imagine how wonderful it will be when it is finished! Thanks for the party and for sharing this lovely renovation.

  52. That Swiss cabin is just amazing–I expected to see Julie Andrews running down the hill singing The Hills Are Alive with the Sound Of Music! And the crocus–what a sight–gorgeous. I thank you so much, Susan, for hosting the party today, and my hope is that your week is filled with happiness!

  53. What an undertaking! But how beautiful it is and well worth the effort in such a gorgeous environment. Thank you for hosting, Susan! I always look forward to looking through the posts to see the beautiful projects people have accomplished.

  54. The field of wild crocuses remind me of the Sound of Music…I can just envision Julie Andrews walking up from behind the cabin…..just gorgeous…!

  55. This gorgeous cabin reno reminds me of the months I lived in Switzerland a few years ago. It is brilliantly gorgeous. I also stayed in a friend’s cabin like this one, and boy are they COLD! I think my toes took a full day in the sun to have feeling after a night inside one of those, even with the stove running.

  56. Beautiful! Reminds me of living in Alaska. Have a great week! J~

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