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Old 29.09.2011, 00:59
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German Homes Plain Compared to the French Ones

I have been browsing Homegate and others, but it seems most all of the German speaking region's homes are practical and not necessarily beautiful. The majority of the ones in the French speaking regions seem to put more of an emphasis on looking nice and cute on the outside. Perhaps this is in step with German character traits? I do appreciate this characteristic of the Germans/Swiss Germans as I have had enough with Disneyland fake facades of America and their character.

Anyway, I lived in Asia for 12 years and homes there are similar to the German type, but after coming back to the USA for 3 years now, my wife and I want a really beautiful home with a lot of space inside and outside for our three young boys to play. I can find large homes in the German speaking regions but they are not "cute" for lack of a better adjective. Perhaps I should say they are quite modern and simple without any extraneous design in terms of looking good. Now in Germany it seems even worse than in Switzerland as they even seem to have laws about what the home should look like and must be approved for everything and must adhere to a certain color scheme , etc. There seems to be more variety in Switzerland but that could be because their homes are older and weren't bombed to the ground in WWII.

So, what I want to know is there any reason that prevents a different style of design. I don't mean showoff style like a castle, I don't want that, but anyway, are there rules that prevent freedom of design? Are there rules to prevent bigger lots?

Finally, when we visit in April for a week with the kids, we want to rent a fabulous home, to convince my wife on living there. Is something like that possible? Are there high-end vacation rentals that are NOT at the Ski resorts? Would it be possible to rent a home that was on the market to sell to see if we like it? The owner could make some money.

I will contact an agent as well, but could you perhaps recommend some English speaking agents that are accustomed to finding homes in the high-end of the price range for picky annoying Americans? Hahahahaa...I had to add the annoying part, because I am sure it is annoying to the agents to expect so much. We can always buy it and change it, but if we are renting it for the summer or for a week, it should be nice already. I know there must be some gorgeous places in the German speaking regions of the Switzerland, (I have seen some) but are they available for short term rental?

Please advise. Thank-you so much! Sorry for so many questions. :-) I hope no one takes my observance personally.

PS: I am looking at the German region of Switzerland because I need to learn German to maintain the relationship with the German company that I represent. That will be another topic in the language forum.

Sorry guys, I realized that rambled on and was more than one question or observance in there. Here is the shortened version.

1. German Swiss versus French Swiss home styles. Seems the French win out on looks?
2. Short term rentals, are they possible, like a vacation rental?
3. Any recommendation for an agent (I think I should search I know..)?
4. Are their regulations for home building styles in the German speaking region?

Last edited by vwild1; 29.09.2011 at 05:24. Reason: merged 2 successive posts into 1
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Old 29.09.2011, 10:23
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Re: German Homes Plain Compared to the French Ones

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So, what I want to know is there any reason that prevents a different style of design. I don't mean showoff style like a castle, I don't want that, but anyway, are there rules that prevent freedom of design? Are there rules to prevent bigger lots?

1. German Swiss versus French Swiss home styles. Seems the French win out on looks?
2. Short term rentals, are they possible, like a vacation rental?
3. Any recommendation for an agent (I think I should search I know..)?
4. Are their regulations for home building styles in the German speaking region?
I don't think there is a huge difference between the regions, but what may be the issue is the older traditional houses vs. the newer ones, and metro area vs. rural. While perhaps not design specific, most new houses today generally must meet the minergie or minergie plus standards of energy efficiency, and this in my opinion drives some of these more box styled houses, in order to meet the energy standards. Anyhow, any building plan will have to be approved by the commune, and for many reasons it may not be approved. For example, needs to fit into the local architecture, needs a roof of a certain pitch for snowfall, etc.

In addition, the diminishing amount of buildable land in and around most metro areas has driven the need for more housing in less space, so you will not see any new sprawling castles, unless your net worth in greater than some 10 million. More building up than out, less land space required to build on, thus more peopler per m2.

Anyhow, whereever you will work will likely determine where you will live, and availability in some areas may be prohibitive to your desires.
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Old 29.09.2011, 11:27
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Re: German Homes Plain Compared to the French Ones

There are rules about building styles ALL OVER THE WORLD. It's not for some crazy reason everytime Ghery or Khoolas decides to build something in this planet there's usually a local scandal.

There is no such thing as a French style/ German style. When you go to border France/Germany, you won't find any differences on the houses in both sides of the border. Inside the same country, the "typical" house changes greatly.

This style you are thinking about is a personal taste for a specific aglomeration of characteristics that might happen locally. Regional differences might be influences from the traditional houses fallacy, might be due to an aglomeration of architects/ engeniers that studied on the same region, might be because the houses were mostly built on the same period of time (and houses, like clothes, suffer with fashion).

In theory you can build whatever monstruosity you believe to be beautiful. There are basic rules that apply to every construction in terms of volumetry, percentage of glass windows, roof shape, house shape and colour. It's the regional fashion/taste/outside influences/historical influences that might influence each small part of a country.

So to your questions:

1. German Swiss versus French Swiss home styles. Seems the French win out on looks?

Depends. Gothic French beats anything from the same period of time. German standards and looks from the Bauhaus period beat everything else from the same time. If we are talking about the most important thing - the design of the living space - German architecture is in general terms more advanced. But if we are talking about landhouses from the southern part of France, then we have nothing in Germany to compare to. What I want to say with this is: it's usually a personal taste deciding this. You can't compare something that does not exist (in this case a French Swiss architecture versus German Swiss Architecture).

4. Are their regulations for home building styles in the German speaking region?

There are national regulations. Then there are canton regulations. Then there are city regulations. Laws are different every 5 metres.


Visit Uster and Zürich. They are only 20 min distance from each other. And the "fassades" couldn't be more different.


You can't put architecture into organized little books, even though, for the sake of sales, it is. If you are looking for a very specific style of house, tell your realtor about it. It might happen, tough, that that style of house is just not available for sale in the German part, or just too expensive.

I could go on for hours about why "typical architecture" is a fallacy, but I'd need to have a couple of beers before. And I'm at work right now...

Quote:
Finally, when we visit in April for a week with the kids, we want to rent a fabulous home, to convince my wife on living there. Is something like that possible? Are there high-end vacation rentals that are NOT at the Ski resorts? Would it be possible to rent a home that was on the market to sell to see if we like it? The owner could make some money.
I noticed this one now. Please pay attention to something: housing in Switzerland is, in general terms, extremely expensive. If you have kidS means you will need a bigger house. It all depends on your pay check, of course, but be careful about raising your wide's hopes too high by staying in a fancy home, then having to live in a crampled apartment when she decides to come over here. This is, of course, something extremely personal, but just wanted to give you a heads up.
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Last edited by Helm; 29.09.2011 at 12:10.
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