After seven generations, a family farm in Bavaria is reinvented, trading livestock for lodgers.

Reinhold Windorfer grew up on a dairy farm in the village of Moosham in southern Germany. Agriculture was in his blood, but not his future. After college he became an analyst in Munich, evaluating corporations’ sustainability cred. He and his wife, Verena Windorfer-Bogner, visited his parents at the homestead on weekends.

The 50-acre property, which has been in Reinhold’s family for seven generations, includes an 1840s farmhouse, a barn, a landmark-protected hut with a wood-fired bread oven, and other outbuildings around a central courtyard. All of it was crumbling. “My wife and I decided we had to do something,” says Reinhold. “We felt that responsibility in a good way.”

Rather than restore what had been, Reinhold proposed a new design and business, based on the growing popularity of farm stays: Convert part of the home into a pair of vacation rentals, offering tourists a chance to experience the same simple pleasures that had drawn him back to the countryside after eight years in the city. 

With his parents’ blessing, they closed the dairy operation and sold the cows. Working with Bernd Vordermeier, an architect who owns a studio in the area with his wife, Andrea, they transformed the three-story house into separate living quarters for themselves and the elder Windorfers. They also carved out a home office where Reinhold could work remotely and two 430-square-foot rental units to supplement the farm’s income from selling timber and hay.
Business analyst Reinhold Windorfer returned to his parents’ 19th-century dairy farm with some 21st-century ideas about how to turn a profit: Sell the cows, overhaul the crumbling farmhouse, and open a pair of vacation rentals for travelers to come visit.
Studio für Architektur Bernd Vordermeier was brought in to design the apartments, as well as  new living spaces for Reinhold and his wife, Verena, and his parents.