Brücke 49 Hotel Pension, a modern-rustic guest house in the alpine spa town of Vals, is exactly 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." From what we've seen, they got that last part exactly right.
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 an extraordinary thermal hot springs resort, Therme Vals, designed by architect Peter Zumthor (day visitors welcome). Read about the spa in our post Poetry in Space: Vals Thermal Spa in Switzerland.
Above: We love the B&B's glossy black front door. The house had been damaged by a fire before Ruth and Thomas took over; they've resuscitated every inch of it.
Above: Vals is famous for its limestone, and the B&B entrance has its original, locally quarried stone floor and stairs. The couple painted the walls in a charcoal gray that carries over from the exterior. We like the way they paired it with doors in a soft brown. The side chair was in the house when they bought it and is emblematic of the way Ruth and Thomas introduced a mix of old and new: They upholstered the seat in a Paul Smith stripe from Kvadrat.
Above: All the floors in the house, including the living room, shown here, 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.
Above: At Brücke 49, guests are not only welcome in the stainless-steel-appointed kitchen but also encouraged to cook if inclined. Note the apples stored in a wooden crate on the floor and the for-the-taking drinks on the window ledge.
Above: A guest room under the eaves. The B&B sleeps a maximum of 10 people.
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.
Above: A patchwork-upholstered vintage Danish chair in a guest room.
Above: A case for the (nearly) all-white bathroom.
Above: A montage of Brücke 49 details, including tasseled towels designed by Ruth and made for Brücke 49 by a friend in Turkey; a Royal Copenhagen mug; and a window railing that Thomas describes as "a little bent and bitten by time."
Above: Breakfast is served on Royal Copenhagen's hand-painted Multicolored Elements porcelain. Yes, that's the B&B's signature homemade bread and muesli with yogurt and fresh fruit.
Above: An alpine arrangement that we plan to replicate.
Above: The 1902 knob on a bathroom window. The couple went to enormous trouble to restore the house's details—this closure is original, but "the rest is handmade new" to fit it, explains Thomas, and includes old handblown glass "that makes looking through the windows a little unsharp."
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.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on November 15, 2013, as part of our Under the Covers issue.