agava design

One of a kind villa in the Swiss countryside - table in the garden

In April I started my quest for beautiful homes to feature on the blog and the villa you are about to discover has been one of the very first to say “hi there”. Photographer Karin Heer, one of the 8 tenants of this beautiful home, showed me some pics of it and just a glance at the photos was enough for me to understand that the house was a rare gem.

This manor house is literally surrounded by nature. Exactly what Karin Heer was looking for when moving out from Zürich to a greener, quieter place. The outside is really different from what you’ll find once stepping in. What I can already reveal is that Karin created a place that is authentic as the owner.

This one-of-a-kind villa in the Swiss countryside is a beautiful example of what you can achieve with a few selected pieces that really mean something to you and that mirror your personality. Because a home is a place that draws us in. And this home has a genuine, unique story to tell. Ready for a good dose of inspiration?

Dear Karin, hello and welcome to my blog. Would you please introduce yourself?

Hi Valeria. I’m a photographer and founder of HELLOSTUDIO in Zürich. I lived in the city center for many years and loved riding my bike, swimming in the lake and in the river, going out and meeting friends. It was a beautiful life but nature was calling me and one year ago I moved to the countryside. I wanted to have a place where I could get my hands dirty and grow my own herbs and vegetables.

In the city, I used to have a balcony full of flowers and tomatoes in the Summer but I wanted more. More nature, and some quietness. I was looking for an inspiring place with a big garden, surrounded by greenery. I’ve been very lucky and in July 2019 I found a wonderful new home. We have a great community here. I am so grateful especially in these corona times as this is the place I was always dreaming about and it allows exactly the kind of life I’ve always wanted to live.

What is the story of your house?

From the outside, the house looks like a castle. The villa was built for a prestigious local family and had a big swimming pool which has now been left to rewild into a big park full of beech, cedar, blackberries, and nettles.

The villa is surrounded by fields on three sides and protected under local historic preservation laws. We are surrounded by four huge trees: a giant copper beech on the front, two huge lindens, and one lovely birch in the back. 

A beautiful villa with comfortable interiors

How would you describe your home style?

It is a creative mix. I have many unique and individual pieces from antique to high design. One of the most important things for me is that everything is made out of good quality materials.

What is the room you love the most and why?

I love to watch the sunrise and drink my coffee on the covered balcony, all cozied up with a blanket In Winter. In spring the magnolia is in full bloom and the light is magic. The stillness is broken only by the chirping of birds and the buzz of bees, which I think it’s wonderful. Is there anything better to start the day?

Lets talk about furniture and decor pieces. What is your favorite oldest piece and what is the most recent one?

My favorite piece is the long dining table. It’s an antique piece, which I have had for more than ten years now. I’m still in love with it.

The newest piece which has captured my heart is my bed. The bedframe is made out of old oak by a carpenter friend of mine and for the mattress, I opted for the Swiss-made Bio Nest by Hüsler. I always wanted to have a bed out of natural materials. It is very simple, but the wood is so beautiful. It’s so me.

Tell us one DIY project in your home.

I made an outdoor chandelier with solar lights, feathers, and glass prism crystals. I love it during the daytime as it spreads magic rainbow reflections all around while in the evening it gives a beautiful intimate atmospheric light over the table.

Focus on the garden

You have an amazing garden, an oasis to relax and enjoy nature also when staying at home. How did you design it? Where did you get inspiration from?

Since the house is historic heritage, the layout of the garden is fixed by existing paths, hedges and stone walls. We are 8 tenants living here over 4 apartments and each one has a specific area to look after. The vegetable garden is a shared space.

I replanted my perennial beds with the aim to have all-year-around color and interesting habitat. My inspiration is my love for flowers, nature, and animals. You can see the seasonal evolution, the plants growing bigger and there is always something blooming. It’s a joy for humans, bees, and birds.

Do you have any special tips to share with people who want to create a garden for their home?

Gardening takes a lot of time and passion. For me, it is meditation and grounding at the same time. In my opinion, we have lost our connection with nature and forgot to watch and listen.

I try to see my garden as an experiment, that way I don’t expect too much. I’m on my way and have the chance to learn a lot. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes I fight, and sometimes I lose.

But there is no better food then self-grown food produced out of your own garden. You appreciate it more and the flavor is wonderful. It has changed my mindset regarding food in general, especially about food waste, when you know how long it takes to grow it. Don’t be afraid to start, just do it and give it a try.

What makes a house a home?

For me, a home has a soul when you enter it and feel welcomed by a good, warm, and safe place. A house turns into a home when you feel comfortable and can recharge your batteries. A place where creativity can flow.

Let’s talk about furniture

If you had the chance to buy a second house or apartment, where would it be and what kind of style would it have?

I always dreamed of a big treehouse with huge windows that allow me to look at nature, and let the wind and light in. I would also love having a view on the ocean or on the lake, a place warm enough, so I can swim and walk barefoot.

Which dream piece would you like to buy for your home?

I’m still looking for a nice lamp for my living room. I find lighting the most difficult part when decorating the home. I like the Balloons series of lamps from Brokis

What are your favorite furniture brands and designers?

It’s a hard question to answer but I always choose pieces that are close to my heart, regardless the brand. 

What are your favorite design shops?

Einzelstück, WOW Props, Coté West, Cabinet, Ellen Brandsma Dutch Living, and Raum 49.

Tell us three favorite Instagram accounts

@motelamiio [for the handmade ceramics, editor’s note]

@amoebe_artspace

@raum_49

It’s been really nice to show you this amazing home. Thank you, Karin, for showing us your space: it’s so peaceful and welcoming. I love it!

Photo credits: Karin Heer


If you have a beautiful home you want to see featured here, drop me a line at valeria@crescenzi.ch or tag me on Instagram so I can have a sneak peek into your place. You could be the next in line to be interviewed. To read more home stories click here.


Living & breathing design for 10+ years | Journalist, blogger, a paladin of beautiful things | crescenzi.ch to inspire your living spaces

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