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!
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.