After years of sneaking in visits to see architecture on our family holidays, my sons are now onto us and wary of our ways. (“Do we really need to see another cathedral?)” Next trip, I’m going stealth with a ski vacation at Chesa Wazzau, a renovated 17th-century Engadine farmhouse in the Swiss mountain village of Bever. Restored and preserved with care by a husband-and-wife team (he’s a photographer and she’s an interior designer) who have owned the property for 30 years, the house maintains its original character and charm—vaulted ceilings, rustic wood framing, and windows embedded into thick walls. With all modern amenities included, my sons won’t even notice that they have skied back in time.
Photography by Christian Küenzi courtesy of Chesa Wazzau.
Above: Above the entry at Chesa Wazzau, the sgraffito (Italian for “scratched”) plaster decoration framing the small window embedded into a thick wall—a detail designed for heat retention—is typical of 17th-century Engadine architecture.
Above: In the kitchen the thick walls create a deep window sill ideal for the display of potted greenery. Modern kitchen cabinets provide a base for a granite trough sink.
Above: “Much of the furniture was inherited,” says owner Christian Küenzi. “Some pieces were already in the house and others have been with us for a lifetime.”
Above: Vaulted ceilings in one of the house’s six bedrooms. It has two baths and sleeps 12.
Above: The small walls embedded in thick walls do a respectable job of funneling light through the interior.
Above: The vernacular wood furniture of the region contrasts with a Wagenfeld Bauhaus Table Lamp and glass side table.
Above: The palette of rustic wood and white walls extends into the bathrooms.
Above: A small bedroom with wood floors and ceilings has a balcony from which to take in the Alpine views.
Above: “It took many years of gentle and respectful renovation to create this idyll and retain the charm and originality of Chesa Wazzau,” Küenzi says. “It’s an ongoing process; there is always something to do.”
Above: The village buildings of Bever represent the vernacular architecture of the Engadine, a long valley in the Swiss Alps known for its sunny climate and proximity to St. Moritz—a five-minute drive. See Chesa Wazzau‘s location on the map below and go to the site for rental details.
For more snowy idylls, explore:
- Rental Ski Cabins by a World-Renowned Swiss Architect
- A Minimalist Ski Resort in Sweden
- A Modern Ski House in the Alps
- An Off-the-Grid Cabin in Vancouver, Candlelight Included
- 61 Cabins to Lust For
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on December 22, 2014, as part of our Winter’s Tale issue.