Vincent, Celine and their two little daughters live in a contemporary Kontio SmartLog™ house in Valais, Switzerland. They dreamed of a log house in beautiful surroundings.
A home built of natural materials for a simple and authentic life
"Since I was a child, I have dreamt of living in a wooden house. I grew up in Canada, so this dream recalls my childhood memories and feelings. When we moved to Switzerland, about 1,000 metres above sea level, the idea of building with solid wood became completely realistic. Because it was also an urban area, we wanted a contemporary house. I subscribed to specialist magazines to learn more about what was possible.
Some colleagues had already had their house built in solid wood and were extremely pleased with their decision. We visited their home and met the architect, Jean-Michel Martignoni. We got on well immediately, and he soon set about designing our home. Our only criteria were the budget and the number of bedrooms. One everything else we gave him a free hand, and we were absolutely delighted with what he suggested.
Our main wishes were for our house to fit in as naturally as possible with the surrounding environment, to have a low ecological impact, and to be a healthy home to live in. The house was completed and ready for us to move in in February 2017. it was perfect for us: we felt good there immediately, at ease, at home! It reminded me of my childhood. My wife is from Brittany and had become accustomed to cold and humid stone houses, but now thoroughly enjoys living in a house that breathes warmth. Our two little daughters are also delighted with their new home. They took a great interest in every step of the construction." Vincent says.
Improved quality of sleep
In a house made of solid wood, the quality of sleep is much better than in conventional houses. My mother, who suffers from insomnia, notices this every time she comes to stay with us. The indoor environment also has a soothing effect. We feel that the house breathes more, and is less humid and airtight. It is a cocoon of calm and restfulness where we feel confident and can let go.
A simpler way of life
With our new home, we are getting closer to simple and authentic things. Nobody wears slippers or socks in the house; the direct contact with the raw materials is pleasant, whether on the wooden floors, polished concrete or the metal staircase. We have bought some very refined furniture made of high-quality materials without embellishments, and we use candles to create an intimate atmosphere. Space and light have taken precedence over decoration; everything is stylishly simple. In our previous home, we had a lot of things hanging on the walls. Since we moved in to our new home, almost all those items are still in the cellar. The interior is self-sufficient. My wife is interested in the Danish lifestyle concept of hygge, which emphasises cosiness and simplicity. The way we receive friends in our home has changed too. Before, when we used to have guests we did things the “fancy” way, with intricate table decorations and sophisticated dishes. In this respect also we are moving towards simplicity, with a minimum of fuss so as to have more time to genuinely be present with our guests.
Nearer to nature
Nowadays we pay more attention to what we eat. We favour local produce and have taken up gardening. All the common areas of the house–the kitchen, living room and dining room–form a continuous space, and when the bay windows are opened we remove the border between indoors and outdoors. This home fully meets our need to be closer to nature, and we very happy here. We have even said that if one day we must leave and return to France, we will have a similar home built there.