Vacation on my mind

Raise your hand if you have a vacation home or if you plan on purchasing one in the near future. Okay, raise your hand if you just dream of having one someday! I’m pretty sure just about everyone reading this raised their hands. If you’re like me, you can’t quite decide if you’d rather be near the ocean, a lake, the mountains…it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s far enough away from the hustle and bustle of your daily life so that you can unplug and relax.

Raised Hands

No matter where you dream of having that vacation home, there are a few things to keep in mind when designing one. I have been fortunate enough to have worked on several vacation homes with my clients. What I think is so exciting about working on something that’s not a main residence is that it allows you to be even more daring and creative!

That being said, there are some guidelines that I tend to adhere to when designing a second home. First, and foremost, the location often dictates the look and feel of the décor. Mountain homes tend to use more wood, darker colors and soft, fuzzy (snuggly) materials. While a beach property tends to use softer colors, light, airy fabrics and painted furniture.

Ga living new

Beach home designed by Heather Nadeau, Mandeville Canyon Designs

North Conway living new

Mountain retreat designed by Heather Nadeau, Mandeville Canyon Designs

Dare to be different with your décor.

Who wants a house that looks just like their main residence? Take a chance on a fun wall color or design style that might not fit into your everyday life but that you seem to be drawn to. Maybe it’s time to design something rustic. Perhaps you’re beachside cottage is asking for some sleek, modern décor. Why not let your second home be your alter ego?

Seaglass 9-14 #1

Maine vacation cottage designed by Mandeville Canyon Designs.


As seen on

Long lasting and durable materials are a MUST!

Whether you plan on renting your property or not, most second homes are in areas known for bringing in the outdoors, read: mud, sand, pine needles, water, etc. Make sure that the carpet, flooring and fabrics can stand up to a beating. There are so many fabulous materials out there that mimic great indoor materials and finishes.

Rugs made from recycled soda bottles or rope by Dash and Albert, or soft fuzzy solution dyed acrylic fabric by Perennials and Thibaut are some of my favorites.


Rug by Dash and Albert

Indoor/Outdoor rugs by Perennials

Indoor/Outdoor rugs by Perennials

You can also find hardworking, good looking laminate flooring (yes, you read that right…laminate flooring) that has the look and feel of real hardwood! Much easier to clean and maintain than real wood. Plus, they can withstand the dirt, sand and water that inevitably gets brought into your vacation home.


Laminate flooring by Mannington

Get creative with your sleeping arrangements!

Let’s face it, vacation home = lots of visitors. Whether it’s a rental or not, if your home is in a great location, expect lots of visitors! That’s why I am so enchanted by creative sleeping accommodations that maximize space and functionality. I love to use trundle beds or bunk beds whenever possible. I just adore the photos below that include storage within the bunk. What a great space saver, as you won’t need a dresser!  You can even add a twin bunk over a double bed, which is great for accommodating a family in one room!  And don’t forget the good old fashioned Murphy bed! They’ve come a long way in style and function.


As seen on House of Turquiose


As seen on Home Bunch


As seen on Remodelista


Found on Pinterest


As seen on

Don’t forgo the luxury.

Just because it’s a vacation home, doesn’t mean you have to forgo luxury. Remember it’s your special place where you get to go and escape the daily grind. Perhaps you create a beautiful sanctuary in the master bedroom. I’m working on an amazing vacation home for a client right now and we are using Swarovski crystal faucet knobs in the master bath of a timber frame home, just for a bit of glam. Top that off with lux bedding and drapery in the master and this couple may never leave!

Master bedroom designed by Mandeville Canyon Designs

Master bedroom designed by Mandeville Canyon Designs

Don’t forget the toys!

I like to load up a vacation home with lots of good old fashioned board games and puzzles, just in case you get stuck inside when the weather takes a turn. Consider adding an extra dining table for game nights.


Found on Pinterest. @

Outside toys are just as important. No one wants the kids to say they are bored while on vacation, right? Games like Bocci or Cornhole are easy to set up and are fun for every generation to play. If you have the space, dedicate a closet for game or toy storage. In one of our vacation home projects, we used a walkin closet on the ground floor as boot and ski storage. With lots of extra hooks, there’s a place for everything and everything has a place!


Found on Pinterest.

Make it feel like a getaway.

Personally, I want my second home to feel and look different than my regular home. Of course, it’s still my style but I enjoy letting the surroundings dictate the style of the décor of the house without it becoming too “themed”.

If you plan on renting your second home out, keep in mind that your décor should appeal to the masses. It’s much like staging a home. Try to maximize the space. If you have an amazing view or the perfect location, let that be the show stopper. Of course, if you are renting, you will want to keep all personal items out (like family photos and expensive items), all while making the space updated, comfortable and stylish.

Seaglass Villages. Designed by Renee Carman, Mandeville Canyon Designs

Seaglass Villages. Designed by Mandeville Canyon Designs

We would be delighted to help you design your vacation home. To see some of our vacation home designs, plus lots more inspiration, check out our Pinterest board, Vacation Home Décor.