A Very Merry Zumthor Christmas
December 6, 2012
The Zumthor properties at Leis, Switzerland
If you like your holidays steeped in nostalgia for times you never had and imbued with the irritant smell of pine and the hue of sallow cedar wood, chances are you’ll be shopping around for a winter cabin to spend this Christmas vacation. Yes, it’s late in the game to be conducting your search, but you might try your luck and look up a Mr. Peter Zumthor, whose first-rate lodgings in the mountain valley of Leis, Switzerland seem to still be available. You read correctly; the architect and his wife Annalisa have, for the first time, opened up one of their timber homes to potential renters, at a rate ranging from $3,770 – $5,170. What a deal?
“In 2009 we built two timber houses,” the Zumthors explain in a statement posted to the projects’ site, “the Oberhus and the Unterhus, in the hamlet of Leis, just over 1,500m above sea level in the community of Vals in Grisons.” They continue: “From 1 December 2012 onward we are letting out the Unterhus for vacations. A third timber house, the Turmlihus, will soon complete this little ensemble. The Turmlihus will welcome its first guests in autumn 2013. We are very much looking forward to having guests in our timber vacation homes in Leis.”
Leis; Photo: panovscott
Throughout the winter months, Leis is blanketed with snow ideal for skiing and for picturesque photo-ops (houses in snowy landscapes, anyone?). The remote hamlet (population: 20) itself consists of a handful of small-scale structures, with only one public inn for visitors. The intimacy of the environs plus the town’s proximity to the dramatic mountain peaks convinced Zumthor that Leis was the right site for the ensemble of mountain cottages he was planning for his wife.
Inside the Unterhus; Photo via Phaidon
The three-story Unterhus, which is still available to rent, is clad in timber inside and out, with room to sleep 4-5 guests. Large, picture-frame windows punch through the wood facade, offering spectacular vistas on all sides of the house. There are three-bedrooms, one with a king size bed and the others with single beds, but there looks to be plenty of space for cots (if that kind of thing is allowed at chez Zumthor). Oh, lest we forget, there’s also a vintage wood-burning soapstone stove to keep the kids warm all the night long.
If you can afford to even entertain the thought of renting out the house, you can enquire about its availability at the Zumthor Ferienhauser, firstname.lastname@example.org