BrÃ¼cke 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 Denmarkâ€”she as a designer, he as a business developerâ€”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, GraubÃ¼nden, 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 pineâ€””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 BrÃ¼cke 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 BrÃ¼cke 49 details, including tasseled towels designed by Ruth and made for BrÃ¼cke 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 detailsâ€”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 BrÃ¼cke 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.