Dream. Then design your vacation home!

cottage-porchDreaming about buying or building a vacation home? There’s a lot to dream about – and think about! Lakeside, mountainside, or both? Seashore cottage or log cabin lodge? Sunrise or sunset? Rustic or luxurious?

These are just for starters. Whether you seek a seasonal vacation spot or a weekend getaway, you’ll want to take your time and enjoy the process.

Your second home can be a new canvas on which to express yourself, to show another side of your personality. If your primary residence is classic traditional, you might try a sleek contemporary beach house. Or go from a formal brick home with high ceilings and mile-long drapes to a cozy rustic-chic cabin with a funky feel.

Where to start:

  • Is the property easily accessible so you can go often, or do you want to travel and leave the world behind?
  • How important is being connected via Internet or cable?
  • If you might retire here someday, consider a master suite on the first floor.
  • Will you host lots of friends and family, or do you want an intimate, romantic getaway?

contemporary-beachfront-back“Second homes” or vacation homes tend to be less formal (you can be less “fussy”) than our year-round residences. Designed and decorated for leisure and fun, less truly is more; that is less cleaning and fewer worries about upkeep, so you can relax.

You’ll probably want to forget about fancy upholstery, silk drapes and heavy fabrics or window treatments. Instead, bring the outside in with expansive windows and French doors to showcase the view—with well-insulated glass.

You may not want window treatments except for bed and bathrooms, and even here, light-blocking shades and/or easy-care shutters can do the trick.

Fireplaces add ambiance and warmth in the winter. Will you want to haul and stack wood, or is gas available so you can flick a fire on with a remote control?

If your social life is all about “the more, the merrier,” build in guest rooms or even a separate cottage to offer privacy for your house guests.

A sauna or spa—inside or out—may be your idea of heaven for après ski or relaxing after a round of golf.

The laundry room may be more important than you think. Large-capacity washers and dryers are great for all those beach towels, heavy ski clothes and guest linens.

What about furnishings?

  • Built-in cabinetry and furnishings provide shelf and cabinet space for games and electronics, keep dust out, and can enclose your TV to keep it out of sight. Built in benches with seat cushions offer places for you and the kids to hang out or maybe curl up and take a nap.
  • Flexible furniture options include ottomans on casters with room inside for extra linens, pillows or a throw. Storage benches provide even more seating.
  • Slide baskets or themed containers (a lobster trap for a beach house, tackle box for a fishing cabin) under your coffee and side tables can be used to contain clutter.
  • Sofa beds expand sleeping space.
  • Keep upholstery care easy. Slipcovers can pop in the washer.
  • If grandkids will visit, how about a bunkhouse-style room with bunk and trundle beds? Or a sleeping loft where they can “camp out” in sleeping bags.

More important considerations:

Today’s open floor plans mean flooring is on display. Newer materials don’t require a lot of upkeep but still look good. Hard wood or knotty pine, depending on how rustic your look & feel, are classic favorites.

Think about the area and what you enjoy doing. If there are dining out options and you want a break from cooking, you don’t need a Food Network-worthy chef’s kitchen. But if your idea of fun is whipping up a meal for 12, go for it!

For order and tidiness, incorporate storage for sporting and boating gear as well as a mudroom in the main house. Does the garage need to accommodate snowmobiles, a boat or a trailer off season?

Outside, a patio or deck for entertaining is a must. Consider an outdoor kitchen with built-in barbecue, or a fire pit. Landscaping should be appropriate to the region, but low lakefront-homemaintenance, so you may want to forego a lawn. If the area is subject to drought or you have no means of irrigation, consider xeriscaping or a rock garden with hardy ground cover and no-prune shrubs.

If your favorite vacation spot is prone to insects, a screened porch extends your time outdoors without sacrificing the view or balmy breezes.

Overwhelmed by all the choices? Don’t be. We have the experience and expertise to help you create the vacation home you’ve been dreaming of. So, keep dreaming! We’ll be here if you need help to make your dream come true.

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