A couple of years ago, an empty plot of land overlooking the valley of Verbier was bought by a couple who made their profession to create clever imitations of living history. Axel Vervoordt is a living embodiment of the eclectic “style of Antwerp”. But this time he acted as a true fan of retrograde and total look, or just as an antique dealer, meticulously recreating the atmosphere of a traditional chalet, which has little changed since the Middle Ages.
They first came to Verbier for work. Axel was rebuilding a house for one of his friends. They liked everything there: the picturesque view, the air and the proximity to Geneva. They did not doubt that they would easily find an old chalet and remake it to their liking.
But it turned out that to find the real estate suitable for all their queries was not a simple task. For Axel it was important to have orientation to the cardinal, the panorama from the windows, and convenient vehicular access.
As a result, they decided to build their own house with the help of local architects Marcel Fellay and Raymond Bruchez.
In traditional alpine house, livestock and people can live together under one roof – cows and horses were placed in the lower stone basement, which also served as a strong foundation for a wooden upper level. The Vervoordts did not plan to keep cattle, but the whole structure was reproduced thoroughly.
The barn was turned to an entrance hall, a living room and a spacious kitchen. The top floor is allotted for bedrooms. There are no inventions and no frills. Each room has exactly as much space as it is necessary for comfortable living, but no more.
A rustic solidity can be felt everywhere inside and outside the house
Even heating is extremely archaic. All the rooms have iron braziers with constantly smoldering coals. Their gentle heat allows to save the wooden structures without drying them.
Maintaining a certain level of humidity is important not only for the home but also for the collection of alpine furniture from different times. Axel turned the home into a kind of museum of history.
All items are chosen by their style and make the whole interior look integrated and harmonious. Vervordt managed to simulate the natural course of life, in which furniture and utensils are placed not at the behest of an interior decorator, but by necessity.
These “archaeological layers” give a sense of warmth. It is exactly what you need for a snowbound winter house in the Alps.