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“My instinctive, gut feeling was so strong that we decided within two minutes of looking around, that this old building in Vals was to become our project.”
Ruth Kramer, owner and founder, tells of how she was so struck by her first visit in 2011 to what would later become Brücke 49, that she took the decision then and there that they would renovate the house to its former glory, creating a place where people could come and share a comfortable and homely experience.
In fact, Ruth says ‘the house spoke to me’, and it was her skill and ability to ‘listen to what the house wanted to be’ that allowed her to keep going with the renovations when the project became tough.
Because what Ruth and her late husband Thomas achieved is miraculous – a huge, immersive project that took time, energy and determination. But they were always propelled forward by that first inkling, which gave them purpose and strength to achieve their goals.
One of those goals was preservation – the house was built in 1901, with sections dating back to 1775, and lived in by four brothers, and it was this family that Ruth bought directly from. There was plenty to preserve and renovate from the old wooden floors, heavy doors and beams, the double windows and the French balconies.
But they also brought their own vision – like opening up the ground floor (it had previously been split into apartments) to make a convivial living room, studded with the old beams.
Its unique high ceiling was crucial to this, especially as no other house in Vals had this quirk – Ruth attributes it to one of the painter and decorator brothers who worked in Paris before building his home here in Vals, influenced by the Belle Epoque architecture of the French capital.
As they restored the building, peeling back the layers, surprising elements revealed themselves – like the charming wood panelling hidden behind some newspaper padded walls, which they were so enamoured with, they brought in a local wood craftsman to carefully replicate. Sadly, the traditional old stove had to be bid adieu as its chimneys added a complication that didn’t work within a modern kitchen setting.
Renovations complete, it was time for Thomas and Ruth to add their own mark – a clean and simple aesthetic which merged Scandinavian design with Swiss charm, using a less-is-more objective without being afraid to choose classic design pieces as seen in the use of Danish furniture and iconic objects collected by Ruth. The overall result is one of crafted comfort and homeliness, which comes from conscious design.
Ruth’s original manifesto to listen to what the house wanted to be has served her well. Reinvented for the curious traveller, Brücke 49 has been welcoming guests for nearly a decade, bringing together like-minded people under one roof, where they can feel at home in the comfort of this stylish retreat.