Creating the Perfect Vacation House, From Luxury Summer Beach Homes to Mountain Cabins
So, you have invested in a second property. Whether you wish to create a retreat from your day-to-day life at the beach for the summer season or recreational space for the entire family in the country to use year-round, several aspects make vacation homes different from your primary residence. So if you want to create the perfect vacation haven there are some key things to consider.
For starters, the time of permanence is entirely different at a vacation home, even if you go there for long periods at once. The surroundings of your second dwelling are also very important, they may even serve as great design inspiration. And be sure to consider the things you love most about vacation. The things that made some places you stayed feel so great you never wanted to leave. It is, of course, also important to keep your design authentic to your personality and taste. But nothing should be superfluous, rather purposeful. Additionally, you might consider renting out the pad, so be sure to consider this during the design process.
Whether you have a mountain cabin or a luxury summer beach house, read on for 6 inspiring design tips to help you create the perfect vacation home!
6 Key Things to Keep In Mind When Designing Your Vacation House
Design With Purpose
Whether you are designing your summer house for the entire family, or simply a place to invite, or rent out to, guests, those aspects will impact the creation of the spaces according to their intention. A summer vacation beach house will also be different from a winter cabin in the mountains. The first usually being more outdoor-oriented, with light tones, and fresher fabrics for upholstery and drapery, and easier to clean (especially if you have a pool or a beach nearby). Then the latter could incorporate a fireplace, warmer tones, and furry soft goods to make the place feel cozier and more welcoming.
If you intend it to be for family use, where different personalities and age groups will congregate, then it is important to make it simple and add some fun elements that everyone can enjoy. These are elements that even if you wish to rent it out, will still hold up nicely.
Simple and Functional
Any designer will tell you that, differently from what you may want for your main home, your vacation place should be more lowkey. And each space should be designed to fit its functionality. A great way to do this is by using neutral tones as a foundation for your scheme, and then add color through smaller accessories like pillows, throws, and vases. It is important to minimize your accessories to keep the space decluttered and flowing. As Coco Chanel said, when adorning, take a look around and remove “at least one thing” you have put on.
Another technique to achieve this is by purchasing items that can be easily moved around. Or even upgraded if needed. This will also prove beneficial over time, whenever you need (or simply want) to change anything about your home.
Create Intimate Spaces
Even though the purpose of your vacation house may vary, defining areas for people to enjoy each other’s company—or even some alone time—is important; after all, that is the best part of being away from our daily routines and busy schedules. Make sure to create communal spaces where people can easily come together. Consider—a great dining area, a seating or a family room, maybe around a fireplace, or even a cozy breakfast nook. Those will be the places where the most cherished memories will be created!
At the same time, it is important to create room for privacy—just like in our daily lives, sometimes you just need 5 minutes for yourself. Depending on the size of your estate, and how many people you intend to have over, establish bedrooms for everyone’s comfort. And set up corners for rest and relaxation: chairs with ottomans to elevate your feet, a daybed where you can take a nap, or a sunroom where you can catch up on some reading.
A Guest House Bonus:
If having guests is a key desire at your summer house, consider building a guest cottage if you have space. Offering guests a mini home-away-from-home can make for a much more comfortable stay for all. If you don’t have room for a full guest house, you could consider converting basement space or perhaps over the garage.
Leisure and Entertainment
Remember to make it fun! After all, you are on vacation. Depending on the type of house, you should design areas for recreational activities for people to do together. Especially if you want to avoid each person going about their own thing, like scrolling through their phones.
You can create an inviting communal area outdoors. If you are on the beach or have a pool, you can set up sunbathing lounges, or go for a full-on pool house. Even if you don’t have water, why not have a seating area to get that vitamin D while you enjoy your favorite book. Or a dining space for the family to dine al fresco? And if you wish to spare your beautiful kitchen, put in a barbecue or a pizza oven—plus, this way, everyone can help to make dinner.
If your outdoor area isn’t so big, you can still have a beautiful veranda or a nice porch. A place where you can install some outdoor seating or a hammock. And don’t forget the lighting for the evenings and those summer parties!
If your vacation home is in a colder place, or you are just planning to use it in both summer and winter, staying inside under a blanket by the fireplace is an amazing way to relax. But, there are also lots you can do to bring the fun indoors!
For example, you can set up a game room equipped with hands-on games, or get digital with consoles or a portable golf simulator. A game room is especially great if you have kids or wish to entertain guests. A perfect place where everyone can come together around a pool or a tennis table for some healthy competition.
A home theater is another great entertainment zone if you have space!
More to Love:
Timeless Design—and Quality
Although your vacation home may not have the intense use your primary one does, it is still important to make it last the test of time. In terms of design, you want to have cleaner lines that will be consistent and pleasing whenever you come to this haven. Also, you don’t want to tire of its style too quickly.
One important tip on this topic is to resist designing according to a theme. Even if you wish to go, for example, for a coastal inspiration for your luxury summer vacation beach house, consider adding more subtle, smaller elements to capture it, rather than a full-on “theme”. For instance, try adding a wicker chair, or soft blue tones to give an accent to your living room. And, for the bedrooms, crispy, white linens are always a safe bet. Decorate with elements that channel your main source of inspiration, such as, fun pillows to differentiate each bedroom, or placing accessories by the nightstand.
When it comes to quality, pay attention to the environment that surrounds your vacation house, to ensure you invest not only in long-lasting materials but in the right ones. If your summer house is by the beach, any outdoor items need to endure humidity and salinity. You will also need a good place to store outdoor furniture in the off-season. In any case, durability and products that wear well will make your return to this house homier than ever.
Make It Personal
Of course, if you plan to rent out your second home, you will not want to have pictures of your family in every room. However, this is no reason to create a sterile environment, without your personal touch—or even brand—in every space. Even if you go for inexpensive furniture, you can add luxury through a statement piece that can be a conversation starter. Or a vintage one you found in a flea market. You can adorn with your favorite books or any decorative items you purchased during a trip that can tell the story of who you are and where you have been. You can hang some of your most esteemed art, or those porcelains that speak to your heritage. Or if it’s a beach house get collecting seashells. This is the chance to be original, adventurous, and more importantly—true to yourself!
If this is a family home, you can design each bedroom to still be in neutral tones at its base, but with color accents according to each person’s favorite color. This is a great way to make sure everyone feels included in the design process. A bunk room is also a fabulous concept for a vacation home design.
From a cozy cabin in the mountains or a country mansion to a luxury beach house or the perfect summer retreat with a pool—happy designing, traveling, entertaining, relaxing, and anything else you want out of your vacation home!
Words by Rita Rodrigues