Every room a highlight

Buch am Irchel lies in the vineyards surrounding Zurich, far from the noise of the city but still close to Winterthur and Zurich. It’s fortuitous indeed for people who live here in this little corner of paradise. Like the Gretener family. They moved around a lot when they were younger, but now they didn’t want to any more. They wanted to stay in Buch, partly for their daughter Michèle who goes to the local kindergarten.

The path to their own home

They searched in vain for houses that were for sale. They reckoned that this way of owning their own home was cheaper. But something was always wrong. Until they realised that building a new home costs about the same as renovating an existing house. Fortunately, the town of Buch offers not only good transport links but also attractive building land. After looking for a house for a year with no success, the Gretener family finally secured their little bit of paradise nestling between the old village centre and the cultivated farmland. Their plan was to build their own home.

A little bit here, and a little bit there...

A standard or modular house was out of the question. They found information about general contractors online. «Competent, reliable and trustworthy. These were our requirements for our future building partner,» recounts Pascal Gretener. «And our budget could not be exceeded under any circumstances,» adds the young home-owner, Elisabeth Gretener. The Swisshaus advertising pitch was a perfect fit. The young couple set up an initial appointment, during which they immediately took to the Fenia house idea. Pascal and Elisabeth Gretener drove home happy after the no-obligation meeting with the advisor. In their pockets they had their house project. Just a little bit different here and there. The wish list was long: larger windows, a bay, a fireplace and quite a few other things. «We often stood at the site asking ourselves: Where will the driveway be? What will the view be like? Which way is the sun? We also didn’t want to build too close the road. We went round investigating with a tape measure and played with the plans. It was really exciting,» says the young mother, recalling the planning phase. And the greatest fears were also apparent: Will the money be enough? Will there be any additional costs? Despite fixed price? It was enough.

All wishes under a single roof

An outstanding modern home is probably the only way to describe the beautifully appointed 6.5-room house that the Gretener family lives in today. Built entirely in line with their wishes, facing the setting sun, suffused with light and with timeless elegance. And the choice of high-quality materials stylishly conveys an upmarket ambience. The large, bright and airy interior architecture merges with the reception hall, the living room/diner complete with the requested fireplace and the slightly raised TV corner. What’s more, full-length windows provide an impressive view into the well-manicured garden. «My husband spends far more time in the garden these days than sitting in front of the TV,» enthuses a delighted wife. Stairs lead up from the open hallway to the first floor. There are three bedrooms, a dressing room, a cosy lounge with a comfy sofa, open up to the rafters, and a balcony. A separate bathroom featuring a shower and a large wellness bath leaves nothing to be desired. The house can also score with a double garage and fitness room that were intelligently integrated in the gently sloping hillside.

Everything simply done right

And today? Does the house meet their expectations? «Certainly. In every room. We spent a long time planning and changing things round. And it was loads of fund to do the drawings ourselves: thinking into the plans, imaging the layout of the rooms and what it would be like living in them. This helped the numerous ideas to take shape; we made changes when something wasn’t right, divided up the space differently. Drafted the fitness room. The fireplace. The archway. The niche in the living room ... ,» enthuses Elisabeth Gretener. It took a long time before everything was finally right and they had a good feeling. It was certainly worthwhile. Thanks to the individual design and the exclusive features, the Greteners could, together with Swisshaus, build their dream home that is worthy of the name «country house villa» in every single room.

«Competent, reliable and trustworthy. These were our requirements for our future building partner.»

Pascal Gretener