How veterinarian Alexandra Gilich designed a timber-frame house near her hometown of Graz, complete with a “wild” garden and well-behaved horses.
A few years ago, veterinarian Alexandra Gilich was thinking of this kind of place for herself and her future family: a small house near her hometown of Graz, accessible but still rural. With acceptable infrastructure such as school, kindergarten, shopping, bank, children’s playground and outdoor swimming pool. “I actually wanted to buy the property diagonally across the street until I was offered this property, which is surrounded by woods on both sides.” There was also no vet on site, which was important in her case. Above all, the hillside location inspired the veterinarian and horse breeder: “I knew immediately that I was going to create a small animal training area with its own entrance, a parking space at the bottom and a private area at the top.”
Wooden bar meets clay
I have always loved Rubner’s log houses. “In addition to the wood-frame walls, this company uses a lot of high-quality wood and Italian ceramics. I love both. The terracotta tiles in the hallway, utility room and kitchen are a blessing, as are the wood floors, wood doors and wood porch.” The 220 square meter Rubner has three floors. The basement became a ground level format and thus accessible access for the disabled. On the “raised” ground floor there is a private entrance with utility room, corridor, toilet, office, bedroom, kitchen, dining room with access to the upper terrace and living room.
» I immediately knew that I would create a small animal training area with its own entrance and parking space downstairs and a private area upstairs.
Veterinarian, life and social counselor, and author
On the upper floor there were three children’s rooms and a bathroom with toilet. “A few years later, a conservatory was built on the original terrace, which was rehabilitated and given a new roof due to a leaky roof and lack of insulation,” says Gilish. “Today, this is where our most important room is located, the dining room.”
The original spacious attic studio has become two children’s rooms with access to the balcony. The renovation was carried out independently. Today, the veterinarian overcomes the obstacles she faced during the renovation phase: “There was simply a lack of construction supervision. You always had to build three houses, one for your enemy, one for your friend – and then one for yourself. And in my case, it was done in quick motion.” We only noticed many things that went wrong after the fact.
“You should always build three houses, one for your enemy, one for your friend, and one for yourself.”«
With the exception of small animal practice, where white dominates, Jelic did not skimp on colours. Bright red for the dining room, fresh green in the living room, and dark green in the office. The first nursery was orange/green with animal themes. “Sadly, the entire extravaganza has now been painted over at my daughter’s request.” The blue wall in the bedroom is decorated with a water lily painting that her friend and neighbor painted herself. According to Gilich, the best place is a dining room with a huge table, occupied by everyone when the family is enjoying time together, eating, playing, having guests, or just wants to do chores. The park is wild and bustling right down to the green meadows. “We can’t prune it too much. We actually like it that way.”
Gilich gets inspiration from Reinischkogel, a rented riding stable with a view, located a five-minute drive from his home and workplace. “Here we converted the barn into an open barn, and built a riding arena and fenced pasture for our seven Icelandic horses, with whom I teach riding and support horses. It is our sanctuary with a small farmhouse that also serves as a training room.” At the highest point you can see from Schöckl, the local mountain in Graz, to Riegersburg. “Everything I dreamed of has come true. I have three children and I can still work in a comfortable way because the practice is done at home. If the horses also had space, they would be unbeatable,” she says, laughing.
To the place, to the thing
The wooden house built on a brick foundation, according to traditional specifications, is located west of Graz in the hills of western Styria, known for its Schilcher vineyards, idyllic wine routes and a peaceful holiday area. Single-family homes in the Deutschlandsberg area in a (very) good location cost an average of €2,000 per square metre.2. Alexandra Gilish is a veterinarian and works as a life counselor, equine-assisted social counselor, and family coach. Her first book, A Love We Got, was released in October 2022.
Information about the author at: www.alexandragillich.at
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