The vision of Philipp Hoflehner, creative director of Tyrol-based design company Bernd Gruber, this striking new-build, situated high in the Austrian mountains, is a contemporary space that feels comforting and welcoming. It was created as a second home for Rolf Waltz, a German entrepreneur working in the music industry, and his wife Stephanie, and was built next door to the couple’s existing house. ‘Their main home is often full of friends and business partners who come to stay. This connected property is a private space, just for the family,’ Philipp says.
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Due to its steep hillside location, the 419-square-metre plot is designed across three levels. From the ground-floor entrance, a sculptural wooden staircase leads up to the bedroom, bathroom, vast walk-in wardrobe and sound-proofed music room. Above that sits the open-plan kitchen/diner and living room. ‘Wood provided a starting point for our scheme,’ says Philipp. ‘We chose Austrian reclaimed larch that has been weathered by the sun and tough winters for the walls and ceiling of the living area, Douglas fir for the floors and staircase, and pine in the kitchen. Pine is a softwood, so I wouldn’t use it in areas that get heavy footfall – but mixed with the larch, it imbues a sense of warmth.’
The homely feel is achieved with a minimal colour palette. ‘There is just one strong, lead colour, which is the navy blue that you see on the custom-built kitchen units and the Casalis rug in the living room,’ Philipp says. ‘For me, the cosiness comes from the materials: the leather benches by Baxter, the hewn granite basins in the bathroom, and the entrance hall’s Pietra Piasentina stone floor. Everything is natural, and much of it is made by local craftspeople.’ Lighting also helps to create a home fit for snuggling up in during the cold evenings. ‘We wanted the style of lighting to reflect the materials used elsewhere, so we chose anti-glare wall washers and downlights to keep it gentle.’ On the ceiling in the walk-in wardrobe and on the side of the staircase, Philipp eschewed solid walls in favour of narrow strips of wood that let natural light through. ‘I wanted the space to be part open and part closed – it’s open enough to make the most of the light, but retains the feeling of a sanctuary.’ bernd-gruber.eu
See even more of this contemporary mountain retreat, plus our edit of the world’s most beautiful countryside homes, in ELLE Decoration Country Volume 11, on sale 16 November 2017. For more previews, follow us on Twitter and Facebook @ELLEDecoCountry lgria Ferreira-Watling’s itting for seasonal soirées, but the bleached-out backdrop with its raw plaster finish is transformed by her handmade natural garlands and table settings, which she arranges artistically to create an ambience of restrained refinement.
The interior is sparse, but with a feeling of low-key luxury enhanced by candles that flicker with an ethereal glow, filling the house with the scent of amber. At Christmas, the magic is magnified. Flashes of green mix with make-up artist Algria’s palette of grey and white, and the otherworldly forms of fynbos (an indigenous shrub) complement woody herbs displayed as wreaths. Repurposed glass bottles hold tapered candles or sprigs of foliage, which reappear as decorations on gifts that are wrapped in parcel paper.
Traces of glamour – this is Christmas, after all – serve to highlight rather than overwhelm. A fine dusting of edible copper glitter sparkles on a simple iced cake, which crowns a dining table that is draped casually in slubby grey linen. Golden craft wire binds the handmade garlands that hang from door handles, dried Protea flowers and seed pods gathered from the native Blue Gum tree are painted antique gold, and vintage cutlery, polished gently so as to retain the charm of its mottled patina, adorns the table.
A sculptural agave plant, also sprayed gold, is ‘planted’ in a clear glass vase filled with sand from the beach, replacing a traditional Christmas tree. ‘A treasure of nature, an object that has lived many lives, or the soft wrinkle in a piece of linen… these things constantly inspire me,’ says Algria. ‘Christmas calls for luxury, but how you interpret that is entirely personal. It does not matter whether your style is minimal or maximalist, what is important is that the final result makes you happy.’ Floral design by thehollowayshop. com
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