Scenically situated amid Austria’s Hohe Tauern Mountain range, this homestead still has its share of cows, goats and chickens roaming about, but for thirty years the Unterberger family has been welcoming guests to this alpine cabin. Katharina Unterberger and her sister Elizabeth now operate this popular getaway and engaged Munich architect Andreas Meck to create a new cabin in sync with the property’s rustic charm. Although not cutting-edge, the cabin’s design draws many guests for whom architecture is high on the checklist when booking a vacation. “Our guests love architecture and design,” relates Katharina, “and are looking to escape stress, to find calm in a place full of warmth with a familiar atmosphere.”
Erected on the site of a former 100-year-old hay barn and using some of that structure’s timbers, the new accommodation cascades down the hillside, its heavy, rough-hewn exterior giving little clue to the streamlined space within. With walls, floor, and ceiling clad in unadorned planks of spruce, the interior strikes a sauna-like aspect (or the inside of a wooden cigar box). “In Austria, there is a trend of building ‘mountain villages,’ a lot of wooden cabins in a small area for lots of guests,” shares Katharina. “These are often overloaded with rustic decoration. For us it was important to recover the clear and simple values of the old farmhouses.”
While not enormous, efficient built-ins and the high, pitched ceilings amplify the sense of space. Minimalist in a bucolic way, the cabin strikes an almost arty note with a svelte, wood-burning fireplace perched on a concrete plinth. Windows at either end of the structure send sunlight streaming the length of the building. Simply furnished with custom made pieces by a local carpenter, brightened with splashes of color in its linen and wool textiles, the cabin exudes a clean, healthful air of escape. It’s the kind of place that forces one (in a good way) to slow down – to chat, eat slowly, perhaps play a hand of cards or pick up a book. To breathe.
Photography by Krista Keltanen.
For more like this alpine cabin, be sure to check out this artfully composed mountain home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
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