There are few places in which the day-to-day reality matches the picture postcards. Switzerland is one of them. So much so, that I think the country’s next ad campaign should be, Switzerland: It looks just like that! Drive less than an hour from most cities, and you’ll find white mountains framed by valley walls sprinkled with rustic huts that would make Heidi rejoice.
Philipp Eisenring, an entrepreneur in a clean-tech startup, and his wife , a , live in Zurich — but when they can, they pack up their two sons, Laurin, 8, and Junis, 4, and head for , an 18th-century farmhouse that’s been in the Eisenring family for seven generations. It’s shared with Philipp’s brother Martin, wife Nadjma, and their kids Malik and Matilda, and over the course of the last 15 years, they’ve lovingly, slowly transitioned Morgarten from leased agricultural land into a sanctuary for relaxation, inspiration and spirited gatherings.
Named for a (possibly mythical) 14th-century battle, Morgarten is special inside and out. Any visitor there might be distracted from exploring architectural quirks accumulated over centuries of use by the ringing of cowbells that signal a visit from local goats and sheep grazing outside.
The house rewards those who like to linger at the kitchen table with views of neighboring mountain ridges and, on a clear day, the snowy Alps. Simplicity governs Morgarten’s aesthetic, due to both budget and a reverence for the structure’s history. Philipp and his brother began renovations when they were just students, and, he says, “the old stuff we just love too much and didn’t touch.”
Throughout the home, traditional Swiss furniture can be found thanks to Philipp’s mom, Katrin, and her passion for finding vintage treasures at flea markets around Bern, Switzerland’s capital. “She’s made Morgarten one of her projects, and we’re grateful for it!” Nicole shares. In total, the house can host up to 11 guests – a possibility on any given visit. “It’s great to be here with friends because it’s really laid-back,” Philipp says. “There’s nothing else to do but enjoy the hills and socialize with whoever comes along.” —Jess Holl