Stay in a Swiss Vacation Home That's Literally Inside a Mountain

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By Michele Koh Morollo / Published by Dwell
Villa Vals, a four-bedroom vacation rental in the stunning Alpine village of Vals, Switzerland, is not your conventional ski resort home.

Completed in 2009, this unusual villa that's available for rent through Boutique Homes, is embedded into the hillside, making most of its functional spaces subterranean. A dramatically-recessed shape gives the villa the quality of a modern art installation, while the organic shape of its central terrace—the only part of the house that can be seen from the outside—seems to meld with the natural landscape. 

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Architects Bjarne Mastenbroek of SeARCH and Christian Müller of CMA, who collaborated on the villa, were looking for a low-impact design solution that would respect the natural landscape. 

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They developed the design concept with the intention of completely integrating the home into the sloping terrain without disturbing the natural environment or obstructing the breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys surrounding the site.

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The slanted, recessed exteriors of the villa form an arc of both horizontal and vertical proportions. Encircled within this arc formation is a rustic stone facade and central terrace that has an outdoor hot tub, enticing guests looking to warm up after a winter ski day. The entrance to the property is through a nearby wooden barn, which has a concealed underground tunnel that runs through the mountain into the subterranean core of the villa. 

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The villa’s interiors were constructed entirely out of raw concrete. Multiple windows bring in light and warmth while opening the house up to views. On the ground floor is a large living room with a suspended fire pit, kitchen, and dining area with a table made out of solid carved wood. On the upper level are four en suite bedrooms with raised podiums, elevated bathrooms, and alcove bunk beds that offer guests snug, cocoon-like sleeping or reading nooks.

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Furniture and accessories from contemporary Dutch designers add soulful urbanity to this remarkable property, including Hella Jongerius, Demakersvan, Scholten & Baijings, Marcel Wanders, Claudy Jongstra, Royal Tichelaar Makkum, and Vitra Nederland.

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