Designing Your Vacation Home

By: Tobin Shulman, AIA, Beverly Architect

Making memories insights

"Don’t be afraid to add personal touches that reflect your personality."

You’ve been dreaming of a weekend getaway to call your own: a seaside cottage, a lake house, or mountain lodge. Whether you renovate an existing property or build a house to your exact requirements, your vacation home should be designed for quality time with family and friends – and precious downtime just for you. Here are 5 things we tell our clients to consider when designing their dream getaway:

1) Maximize the views – When you’re building a home from scratch, how the rooms are orientated is as important as finding the site. Make sure the rooms and outdoor spaces where you’ll spend the most time are designed for optimal sunlight. Orient entryways and beds to that killer view, so it is the first thing you see as you enter and leave the house, and when you wake up in the morning.

If you’re renovating an existing property, small landscape touches can create focal points to connect interiors with the home’s natural surroundings.

2) Create flexible spaces for socializing – Whether you have a large family or are empty nesters, one of the joys of a vacation home is hosting company. Plan flexible spaces with furniture that can be rearranged to accommodate guests. Having sections that can be closed off when not needed will make your home feel more intimate (and energy efficient) when you aren't entertaining.

3) Design for comfort – Your vacation home should be a relaxing and inviting place to unwind after a day outdoors. Consider a neutral design scheme and furnish it less formally than your year-round abode.

4) Must have mudroom – Whether you’re hitting the beach or the slopes, plan on a room where people can shed boots, sandals, coats and outdoor equipment. Your floors and rugs will thank you. An outdoor shower will come in handy after a day at the beach, and adds a feel-good touch to the summer house experience.

5) Make it yours – It helps to look at websites and catalogs for inspiration, but don’t be afraid to add personal touches that reflect your personality. This is your vacation home, your chance to do something a little different, so listen to your heart – and have some fun!