In the Middle of Nowhere Sarreyer Cabin by Rapin Saiz | Yellowtrace

In the Middle of Nowhere Sarreyer Cabin by Rapin Saiz | Yellowtrace

In the Middle of Nowhere Sarreyer Cabin by Rapin Saiz | Yellowtrace

In the Middle of Nowhere Sarreyer Cabin by Rapin Saiz | Yellowtrace

In the Middle of Nowhere Sarreyer Cabin by Rapin Saiz | Yellowtrace

In the Middle of Nowhere Sarreyer Cabin by Rapin Saiz | Yellowtrace

 

It appears at first sight to be the witch’s cottage from Hansel and Gretel. There’s nothing in the slightest bit welcoming about this worn looking, timber clad cottage plonked alone and forlorn in the Swiss Alps.

Sarreyer Cabin with its stern, rough-cut log exterior, combined with a rusty stove pipe attached almost ad hoc to the side of the structure, looks anything but homely. But this less than charming effect was deliberately employed by the Swiss architects Rapin Saiz, in order to ward off intruders and to maintain a level of anonymity. What this humble cottage really achieves is a clever deception, misconstruing the real gem that lies inside.

Nestled into the stunning surrounds of the natural landscape of the Raccard De Montagne woodland, this vernacular piece of architecture is filled with engaging moments and is designed by a masterful hand at space planning. The kitchen, dining room and relaxed seating area are found on the first floor. Delightful window cut-outs in the interior timber panelling dovetailing into the joinery, showing off stunning vignettes of the woodlands surrounding it.

But the peek-a-boo views aren’t necessarily the only delicious surprise of this tiny house. Take the all but hidden floor downstairs below. Cutaway into the landscape and literally dug out from the soil beneath, is a man cave of merit. With a small window to peer out into the wilderness, this level is an inviting, nurturing place to be. But the hero here is the fireplace, adding a warmth and a cosiness to the space, not to mention perfect for whiteout winters and snow-topped trees.

Related: Stories On Design // Sheds, Cabins & Retreats.

 

In the Middle of Nowhere Sarreyer Cabin by Rapin Saiz | Yellowtrace

In the Middle of Nowhere Sarreyer Cabin by Rapin Saiz | Yellowtrace

In the Middle of Nowhere Sarreyer Cabin by Rapin Saiz | Yellowtrace

In the Middle of Nowhere Sarreyer Cabin by Rapin Saiz | Yellowtrace

In the Middle of Nowhere Sarreyer Cabin by Rapin Saiz | Yellowtrace

 

The interior of the building, that is all of it, is clad entirely in smooth oak panels. Now, normally wall to wall timber panels might put one in mind of a Swedish sauna, but not so here. The detailing and attention to small aspects like lighting selection and the design of the exquisitely simple staircases makes it feel less sauna and more lust-worthy Scandi. The steep wooden stairs not unlike a child’s bunk bed ladder, take you from the ground floor to the basement, but they also take you from the kitchen level to another secret level above. Next level above, you say? How can such a small expression of architecture hold so many surprises?

Not unlike the Tardis, this little Swiss chalet contains a final element of surprise. A third-floor loft. Beds nestle into the angled, gabled roof line with clever rectilinear windows that can be closed by a wooden sliding panel to shut out the bright morning mountain light. And above, in the roof, skylights fill the upper level with clear daylight.

This terribly petite and delightful rustic mountain cabin is a testament to small design, to the adventure that architecture can present us with. But moreover, it teaches us a lesson we’ve all heard countless times – don’t judge a book by its cover. Or in this case, a chalet by it’s rusted out chimney and its rough cut logs.

 

Related: So Hot Right Now // Living Large in Small Spaces.

 


[Images courtesy of Rapin Saiz Architectes. Photography © Lionel Henriod.]

 

About The Author

Susanna McArdle
Contributor

Susanna has a background in Interior Architecture and a passion for writing. Based in Sydney, she has worked both in Asia and Australia designing. An avid writer, it’s hard to know what she prefers more, stringing words together or creating spaces. But one thing she does know, is that she loves doing the both together.

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