Living together in nature and reconstruct an eco-friendly stone house in Ticino, Switzerland



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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    News: I will need volonteers from 9th to 26th of april 2020! We will undertake a targeted spring campaign to get the garden going. This means above all cutting back the trees and plants and removing the blackberry fields. Also in the house we will do nice work like plastering, painting, floor treatment etc ... In a small team, the work will go quickly and be fun. Please apply now!

    Would you like to help in the midst of the most beautiful, wildest nature, to restore an ancient Ticino stone house, to renovate it gently and to make it an ecologically sustainable place, where not more from nature is taken than given back? Would you like to participate in my attempt to live CO2-neutral? Do you feel like helping me to restore and manage a dreamlike terraced landscape? Do you want to spend an unforgettable time in one of the most beautiful valleys of the Swiss Alps and at the same time not miss out on the 'good life'? Then you could be right with me!
    On a clearing in the middle of wild nature lies an old stone house from the 19th century, a classic Ticino rustico in which a large family used to live together with their animals. Me, Peter, an artist living in Zurich, took over the house two years ago in a depressing state: for 50 years the owners had filled the beautiful stone house with the most terrible materials and objects imaginable. Anyhow, overwhelmed by the beauty of the terraced nature surrounding the house, and by the magic of the spot, I decided to buy the house and renovate it. In the summer of 2018, together with friends, I disposed of all the scrap from the past 50 years. Since the beginning of July 2019 I have been working with my family (my girlfriend, my daughter and our very lovable young Collie-Mix) ,friends, professional workers from the valley and Workawayers to redesign the house from scratch. The construction work is expected to last until autumn 2020. For these construction works, but also for the garden works, I need you!
    Besides the work we eat together and go - whenever possible - in the evening to the nearby river to swim and relax. And in the evening I cook for my guests. Good cuisine is an essential part of 'good life' (I usually cook a plant based mixture of Italian and Swiss cuisine with regional, organic ingredients, meet and diary product eaters are welcome too). At the end of the day you sleep very deeply and well in the tranquility of the beautiful Onsernonetal.
    I take ecological issues seriously. It makes no sense for me to work on a CO2-neutral house and fly people in by plane. So, please do not apply if you plan to come here by plane!

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    DIY and building projects
    General Maintenance
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Farmstay help
    Help with Eco Projects
    Help around the house
    Art Projects

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    If you decide to spend some time with us you will come into contact with many different cultures and languages. Here in the valley people speak an almost cryptic dialect of Italian but also pure Italian. Many people in the valley also come from German-speaking Switzerland or Germany. My circle of friends is extremely multicultural and multilingual and so it can be that one day German is spoken, the next day Swiss German, the next day English, the next day Italian and the next day French. Many very different people come to visit me here and in the nearby village there are friends with different cultural backgrounds as well. Working together on a common goal and living together in a small space automatically brings us together and inevitably brings us into a constant exchange of ideas. The heart of the exchange, however, is certainly the communal meals and the associated discussions. And if someone should get bored anyway, he can always explore Switzerland or Italy in his free time.

  • Help


    Stone work (walls, dry walls, slabs lay, plaster), wood work (floors lay, gallery build, furniture build, isolate), garden work (wood cut and trim, plants cut, compost), design work (kitchen design, sauna design, etc ...), sustainable living and cooking.

  • Languages spoken

    German: Fluent
    English: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Italian: Fluent
    Czech: Intermediate
    Spanish: Intermediate

  • Accommodation


    Each guest can decide freely whether he wants to sleep here with us on the construction site or in a furnished room in the house of my neighbour (within 5 minutes walk from my house). In the last hot summer months many friends of mine chose to live here with us. But if you want to leave the chaos of the construction site in the evening, if you long for more peace, cleanliness and privacy, you can always go to the furnished room in my neighbours house - especially in the colder months ahead.

    If you decide to stay with us on the construction site there a few things you have to know:
    * there is no WLAN. The telephone connection is excellent, so you can easily connect to the Internet via your cell phone. But you can also walk up to the nearby village and use the WLAN in the local café.
    * numerous animals live in the forest around the house. You have to be prepared to meet deer, squirrels, foxes, dormice, chamois but also (non-toxic) snakes and small scorpions. Fortunately, there are surprisingly few mosiktos.
    * at the moment the house has no heating. You will need warm clothes and a good sleeping bags to live in outside conditions.
    * the house is situated very close to the sewage treatment plant of the village. In some weather conditions we are exposed to unpleasant smells from there. But they never last longer than a few minutes a day.
    * there is running warm water, there is electricity, there is an outdoor kitchen and a dry toilet.

    If you decide to stay in the rooms of my neighbour (definitely the more comfortable option) you will have a be, a heated room and WLAN.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The small, romantic village of Loco is only a ten-minute walk away. There is a bank, a post office, a café and restaurant (with WLAN) a small museum and a small grocery shop. The village is easily accessible by public transport from Locarno (approx. 6 buses per day). Italy is close. There are fast trains to Zurich. There is a shuffle taxi which can bring us home from Locarno at night time, if ever we decide to spend the evening there. There are wonderful walks and hikes in the area. There is unlimited nature! You can spend lovely days with some food and a good book down by the river. You can collect mushrooms or chestnuts. There are so many things to be done in your time off. Most of all it's an amazing spot in the midst of wild nature.

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    I have a gentle dog myself. So it all depends on what pets and how they will be with my dog. But in general all animals are welcome.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

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Host ref number: 662929136987