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alf an hour from Zurich, at the other end of the lake, there's a new house. And this house was built on a large field, in one of Switzerland's few plains. This is a unique country house with an uncompromising purist style, rustic yet extremely modern. However, to tell the truth, this is not so unusual in the Swiss Federation. This modern aesthetic reflects the personal journey of the owners: Fredy and Christa Hörler. Fredy and Christa are the owners of Ambiente, an interior design store in the neighbouring Rapperswil, a little town on the bridge which crosses Lake Zurich.
 

New-build constructed on the foundations of a disused farmhouse. In order to comply with Swiss planning regulations, this house had to be exactly the same size as the old structure. However, it...
New-build constructed on the foundations of a disused farmhouse. In order to comply with Swiss planning regulations, this house had to be exactly the same size as the old structure. However, it has been given an ultra-modern look.


We are in a breath-taking location, surrounded by fields, woods and lakes. However, this is non residential farming land, as defined by the town's master plan. And for this reason, the owners had to keep both the volume and the footprint of the old farmhouse, of which only the foundations remain. These strict building regulations are necessary to conserve the natural landscape. What's more, in order to live in the countryside, far from the hustle-and-bustle of city life, Christa and Fredy, have had to conform to all bulging regulation, giving up their dream of having a swimming pool, strictly forbidden in all agricultural areas. 

A traditional shape with a modern shell. To the left, one sees the staircase used during summer, which leads from the internal garage to the main entrance.
A traditional shape with a modern shell. To the left, one sees the staircase used during summer, which leads from the internal garage to the main entrance.
In the entrace, vistors are greeted by a portrait of a local farmer. This is asymble of gratitude towards the old farming traditions.
In the entrace, vistors are greeted by a portrait of a local farmer. This is asymble of gratitude towards the old farming traditions.

With the help of their trusted architect, Ivan Marty, who, throughout the years, has often worked in partnership with Ambiente, Christa and Fredy finally managed to obtain the right building permit. The new-build retains the volume and footprint of the old farmhouse however, it clearly expresses its modernity and a difference in use. Design specifications: to have free flowing space filled with natural light and to have a clear separation between communal and private areas. On the ground floor, there is a large open plan space, which is in fact, the living room, dining room and kitchen.

An intriguing partition between kitchen/ dining room and the living room. A large chimneypiece is the focal point of this open plan space.

Placing the kitchen in a strategical position was key to the success of this project. Christa wanted it next to the entrance hall and the staircase, which leads from the garage to the top floor. She also wanted to be able to go directly from the kitchen to the terrace, which opens up onto a large field. Neither Christa nor Fredy wanted to transform their outdoor space into a conventional garden and much preferred to have it blend with the surrounding landscape.

In the entrance hall, the straircase which leads to the first floor bedrooms. In the background, the dining room.
In the entrance hall, the straircase which leads to the first floor bedrooms. In the background, the dining room.
The kitchen is right behind the entrance wall.
The kitchen is right behind the entrance wall.
Kitchen and dining room take over nearly half of this open plan space. And they open up onto a large patio.
A bespoke minimalist kitchen in pure white; for a light and bright space.
A bespoke minimalist kitchen in pure white; for a light and bright space.
In the living room, maximum comfort for a clutter-free space. A glass facade opens up on the lawn.
The dining table seen from the terrace, where there is a second large table for sunny days.
The dining table seen from the terrace, where there is a second large table for sunny days.
The living room as seen from the garden. Above, windows of one of the kids' bedrooms.
The living room as seen from the garden. Above, windows of one of the kids' bedrooms.

On the first floor; the bedrooms. For the two kids; large rooms and a shared bathroom. Christa and Fredy have opted for a small master bedroom and this frees up enough space for one of life's great joys: a huge bathroom. This bathroom has a separate wash area with basins and WC, a large shower, a walk-in wardrobe and, a must-have for those who live in these parts, a sauna.

The loft space is, in fact, the last floor of this house. This space has been designed as a quiet retreat, where you can read, think and chil.

Fredy and Christa on their home: „If we had to rebuild this house, we wouldn't change a thing. Our only regret is not having a swimming pool, but we have been able to build a little terrace next to the tool shed“. And despite this set-back, Fredy and Christa are extremely happy about their large lawn.

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Design project

New-build of a single family dwelling, on a plain at the bottom of a Swiss mountain. 

Location: Reichenburg, Switzerland
Clients: Christa and Fredy Hörler

Size: 270 mq ca.
Floors: 2  + loft

Architectural project: Marty Architektur AG, Schwyz

Interior Design: Ambiente Einrichtungskonzepte, Rapperswill, Switzerland

www.ambiente.ch

Photos: Courtesy Ambiente Einrichtungskonzepte

 

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