The Unterhus is a holiday home rental in the Graubünden region of the Swiss mountains designed by Peter Zumthor. Think mountain pine smells and a crackling fire in an incredibly beautiful environment!
In 2020, our village was designated as the most beautiful mountain village in Graubünden!
Caruso St John House
The village Tschiertschen received the title of the most beautiful Mountain Village.
A family ski resort with 32km of ski slops is a few minutes walk away.
What is the story behind the house? How did it all start?
Previously the house was managed as a restaurant named Kaffee Engi and after two years on the market, we decided to buy it and use the Stammtisch for hosting public concerts and exhibitions. In total, we have five to seven events each year, many of which utilise the piano in the dining room.
Our first challenge was connecting the cultural centre to a clubhouse and that’s where the London-based architect Caruso St John came into the picture. We had seen previous projects by them (mostly focused on skyscrapers and museums) and after getting in touch, they were immediately interested.
How would you describe the architecture, interior design and atmosphere?
The atmosphere is very comfortable and secretive, with Caruso St John House retaining its original structure while at the same time being modern and contemporary. The house was built in 1869 as a traditional Walser Strickbaustructure, which was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries and it has a distinct colour concept. It is entirely constructed using wood and we’ve tried to retain this aesthetic throughout, with only a few rooms changed or modernised.
Is Caruso St John House good for families or is it more appropriate for adults?
We have hosted many families in the past. But because there are a lot of stairs, it’s not ideal for very small children as it may be uncomfortable for the parents. The house can easily accommodate two families travelling together if they have older children (perhaps six years plus) who are more independent and won’t break everything!
For you personally, what is so special about the house?
Even though the furnishings within the rooms are the same, the size and colour of the walls are very different, giving them an individual character. We also have a big art collection on display, accompanied by detailed listings about the artists for guests to read. Being able to showcase our art was important for us.
The ground floor is very big, with two living rooms and a large kitchen (originally used as the restaurant kitchen) that allows multiple people to cook simultaneously. This leads to a spacious dining area where the piano is situated and with three large chandeliers made using Murano glass hanging above.
There are two additional floors where you’ll find the five bedrooms, two bathrooms and a separate WC, with room to accommodate up to 12 people. It feels cozy, but even when the house is full, you can find somewhere to relax, such as the third-floor library. There are also several desks where you can socialise and play games.
The house features: 5 bedrooms 1 big fully equipped kitchen 1 big dining room with Piano and fantastic mountain views 2 living rooms 1 library 2 bathrooms 2 separate WC 1 terrace and 2 balconies 3 parking spaces
Aside from the cleaning service that is provided at the end of each stay, we also have a big dossier in the house. This includes ideas for what to do, recommended hikes and restaurants in the area. Besides that, we are available via phone or email if you have a particular interest or query.
If someone is having a birthday, we can organise for the local baker to create a cake, as well as cheese and meat platters featuring specialties from the region. Private catering can also be provided by the director of the adjacent technical college who specialises in Thai food. He’ll cook and serve you before leaving the kitchen in a perfect state.
In the winter, the main activities are skiing and downhill sledding, while in summer, you can go hiking, bike riding or play tennis with views of the mountains. If it rains, you can go to the building yard that was recently restored and features climbing walls, trampolines and kids’ toys. We’re also just 20 minutes away from Chur, which offers a lot of cultural activities and an indoor swimming pool.
Caruso St John House is located in the village of Tschiertschen in Graubünden, a canton in eastern Switzerland. The village has its own skiing region (just two minutes on foot from the house), which is small and family-friendly with a 32-kilometre-long slope. Around 30 minutes away is Arosa Lenzerheide, which comprises two different ski areas, or you can go on a ski safari from Tschiertschen to explore the surrounding region. In the summer, it is perfect for hiking and the house is located next to the village playground.
The village itself is very authentic, with traditional wooden houses that are unique to the region and picturesque alpine views. The village is almost car-free and home to only 350 people, with Caruso St John House located in the very centre. This year, it was designated as the most beautiful mountain village in Graubünden!
There are two restaurants in Tschiertschen that are open in the summer or there’s a wider choice in the capital of the Graubünden canton, Chur, which is 20 minutes’ drive away.
I think this is a very individual preference. For people who don’t like skiing, winter is probably not the best time and I would recommend summer instead. But we particularly love the changing seasons of spring and autumn. In autumn, you have the rich orange colours and the calmness of the mountains… and it’s also a paradise for mushroom pickers! I believe every season has its advantages.
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