The name is intended to foster curiosity. “It’s about creating a local identity and language is the perfect medium,” says Carmen Oberhauser.
Good mood, good craftsmanship
When constructing the “Schtûbat” in Andelsbuch, this was apparently quite apt. Only craftsmen who live within a 20 km radius were invited to Andelsbuch to work on renovations at what is now the “Schtûbat.” Cook Wolfgang Mätzler and Hotel Manger Carmen Oberhauser created a CO2 neutral accommodation in Mätzler’s parents’ former home. This harmonious property now features plenty of attention to detail.
Along with her partner Wolfgang Mätzler, Oberhauser has designed a concept in which the pair also take holiday. “In other countries, we like to immerse ourselves in the everyday life of the people. So we wanted to design a way to take this approach here in Bregenzerwald.” Instead of taking the easy way, they took the local way to accomplish this goal. In order to ensure that value was kept in the community, the craftsmen who worked on the project were restricted to a max 20 km radius of the construction site. In a similar vein, it was also important to use only regional timber in order to promote the retention of this tradition.
By the third month, it had already become clear that the bill for such a project was going to be a big one. “And yet I’ve never experienced such a positive atmosphere amongst craftsmen,” remembers Mätzler. When problems arose, we quickly found solutions. “We noticed right away that the success of Schtûbat was just as important to the individual companies as it was to us,” said Oberhauser.Unsurprisingly, the building contractors themselves enjoy sharing in this mutual success and have presented photos of all those involved on their websites. Kaspar Greber (who is responsible for the wooden facade of the Schtûbat) is one such individual and another is Helmut Fink, who has crafted special stools and furniture out of solid timber.
The results speak for themselves: From the shell of the building with shingles and triple-glazed windows to a solar and water-heat pump, as well as the all-natural furniture made from local timber. The charging station for electric cars fits easily into the picture. “We want to set a benchmark for the environment, functionality and aesthetics. Ideally such a project will inspire the next generation,” says Mätzler. The impression made upon guests should also be long lasting. “It’s okay to fall in order to get up again. It’s alright to get lost in order to find one’s self,” says Oberhauser.
Sustainable cuisine is also extremely important for Mätzler, who is head chef at a five-star establishment in Allgäu and also a teacher at the Hotel Management School in Bezau: “Our local butcher ensures that the pigs are raised on a diet of whey and are butchered according to traditional practices. If the meat is then further processed into sausages or the like, there are no additional additives.” In the future, they want to offer even more self-sourced, homemade specialties. For breakfast, they serve a variety of options from classic to vegetarian or even vegan (upon request for external guests as well).As an alternative to orange juice in the morning, they offer locally sourced apple-pear-elderberry juice and other delicious concoctions made in house. On this winter’s day, however, they’re serving a refreshing mix of lemon and mint, which grows all around the property in summertime.
The inviting fireplace ensures that breakfasts are warm and cosy and the panoramic views and the scent of wood, which permeates the entire building, are both pleasant and uplifting. Taking a deep breath, in just moments I feel perfectly at home. My hosts are attentive, curious and pleasantly reserved. A dedicated maître d’ or a host are not necessary in such a place. After all, sometimes less is more. This maxim also applies in equal measure to the interior design, which features select and harmonious elements of the highest quality. The results make all the difference. One thing, however, is abundantly clear: This house is the definition of a passion project. “We’re passionate about tourism,” says Oberhauser, who also directs a four-star hotel on the shores of Lake Constance in Vorarlberg. Part of this is taking trips together that allow the pair to rest and recover and gather new inspiration. Examples include a new table for regular guests or perhaps a temporary inn in which the chef can experiment with seasonal and regional dishes to more effectively highlight what matters to the area.
With such a concept, Mätzler feels confident he’s found the right way. After all, existing buildings such as the Werkraumhaus Bregenzerwald, a location for Crafsmanship+Form, and bahnhof culture centre, have established Andelsbuch as a place of culture and good taste.
Author: Thorsten Bayer