Designing a second or vacation home?

Regardless of what you’re going to use your new home for, second homes and vacation escapes should be designed to support you and your family’s need to relax and disconnect. Which means designing the space with all of your specific wants and needs in mind.

In order to make this process as smooth as possible for you, we’re sharing some vacation home design ideas which you”ll absolutely regret missing in your new home improvements.

Approaching the design of your second home or vacation home.

You are already a homeowner, so chances are you’ve designed or upgraded a home before. Is designing a second home any different?

Well, as it turns out, yes.

Designers agree that second homes are great chances for homeowners to be more creative in their design choices and express their unique aesthetic better. They’ re also opportunities to include anything you’ve wished your first home had over the years.

Fundamentally, second homes and vacation homes are not about meeting the needs, covering the bases or playing it safe. It is about maximizing convenience and comfort, making an impact and going big.

Second Home Design and Vacation Home Design Trends

On modern second home and vacation home designs, homeowners focus on four main factors:

Hosting guests: Perhaps you’re building a second home so you have more space to host multigenerational family gatherings, or maybe you’re planning to invite friends to stay with you each summer at your vacation home. Whatever the case, you should equip these spaces with the space and amenities needed to host large groups of people on a regular basis.

Life outdoors: Better understanding of how nature benefits our well-being, combined with forced time at home during the pandemic, has made outdoor living spaces more valuable than ever. Outdoors spaces are also perfect for entertaining and can make outdoor gatherings feasible year-round.

Fancy: As we’ve noted before, second homes and vacation homes are not about playing it safe. Go for luxury in your new home with upgrades that your current home lacks (we have some ideas below), as well as higher quality appliances and materials. For instance, many people include ceramic or porcelain tile in their new homes for its luxurious design options, durability and low maintenance.

Sustainability: Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important aspect of any new construction. This means choosing practices and materials that minimize their impact on the environment and designing for longevity. More durable materials, such as ceramic tiles, reduce the frequency of renovations that need to be made to the home, thereby reducing the contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. A benefit of more durable materials is a reduction in the overall cost of owning a second or vacation home, including annual maintenance costs.

Home improvements to consider in your second or vacation home

By now, let’s take a look at specific new home improvements to include in your vacation home design.

Double kitchen appliances

Do you have trouble scheduling the elaborate dinner parties you host with just one oven? Or perhaps you need an additional sink for guests to wash their hands while you wash vegetables or dishes.

No matter what your specific needs, second home and vacation home kitchen designs benefit from certain “extras” that make entertaining easier. Here are some of the recommended extras:

  • Second oven so that several dishes can be cooked at once.
  • One second sink (sometimes called a “prep sink”) so that there is always a sink available for guests or for additional food preparation
  • Refrigerator so that guests can have a drink whenever they like
  • An extra freezer (often placed in the garage or basement) for storing bulk food and freeing up space in the kitchen freezer

Kitchen Island or Bar Seating

Kitchen island or bar seating provides the perfect place for guests to munch on appetizers and chat.

It’s well known that everyone generally gravitates towards the kitchen during a party. Therefore, incorporating additional seating is a must if you plan to host even casual gatherings in your new home.

Introduce a kitchen island or bar.

The kitchen island and bar are ideal because they are functional and informal. Your guests can come and go as they please, without the formalities associated with dining tables.

We recommend that you incorporate the following when designing your kitchen island or bar:

  • Gauged porcelain countertops (we love the new marble or gemstone look tiles).
  • Matching backsplash and floor tiles
  • Elegant built-in appliances, such as a digital cooktop integrated into the porcelain countertop
  • Prep sink

Gauged Porcelain Tile

Overwhelmed by all the potential vacation home interior design ideas? This unique gemstone look created with gauged porcelain tile panels may be all the decor your space needs.

We’ re fans of gauged porcelain tile for kitchen countertops, which are easy to care for and beautiful, plus you can also use gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs in a variety of other ways to add luxury to your home. Specifically, gauged porcelain stoneware panels/slabs can create eye-catching walls.

Calibrated porcelain tile panels/slabs are available in sizes up to 10 feet by 15 feet. Consequently, they reduce the need for grout lines and can effectively create the look of wallpaper or huge slabs of natural stone.

And what’s more luxurious than the look of elaborate gold wallpaper or rare and massive gemstones such as agate or onyx? Your walls with any of these looks will wow your guests.

And equally important, you won’t have to worry about wallpaper maintenance or the cost and sustainability of natural stones.

Indoor-Outdoor Transitions

Maximize your living space with indoor-outdoor transitions in your new home.

Indoor-outdoor spaces enlarge your living and entertaining space to the outdoors. This way, your family and guests can seamlessly transition from indoors to outdoors, an enhancement especially useful for entertaining or simply if you wish to enjoy your outdoor environment as much as the indoors.

Consider which spaces in your new home would benefit the most from a transition between indoors and outdoors. Depending on the spaces you use the most, along with the layout of your home and property, this will depend on what spaces you use the most.

Typically, people tend to create indoor-outdoor transitions in their living rooms, kitchens or dining rooms. (And we’ve also seen some pretty amazing indoor-outdoor bathrooms).

When designing your indoor-outdoor space, you might want to choose a single flooring material for both the indoor and outdoor space to create a uniform look. Pick an option that is durable enough to work both indoors and outdoors, such as ceramic tile.

Ceramic tile is resistant to water, scratches, stains and bacteria growth; one could go on, but the bottom line is that it’s the perfect material to use almost anywhere and requires little maintenance.

Pool and/or Hot Tub

Disappearing-edge pools are the height of luxury, especially when surrounded by gorgeous ceramic tile.

What’s a vacation home without a pool? So even if you think of your new home as a second home and you don’t live in a heated area, then a hot tub could be the perfect add-on.

Certainly, you don’t have to limit yourself to installing just a pool or hot tub. Instead, make your pool or hot tub area even more impressive by installing a few extras:

  • Vanishing border, so that the water is at ground level
  • Exclusive ceramic tile design both inside and around your pool/bathtub
  • Cascade or fountain
  • Swim-up bar

Ceramic tile are ideal for pool areas due to their water, bacteria and fade resistance, combined with beautiful slip-resistant options for the surrounding areas. Oh, and did we mention that it has virtually limitless design options?

Outdoor Shower

Prevent dirty footprints trailing indoors with an outdoor shower.

Perhaps you haven’t considered this upgrade before, yet if your home is near outdoor locations (think going to the beach or hiking), you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one.

Exterior showers are the perfect addition if you have a pool and want to be able to rinse off before or after taking a dip. Particularly if you plan to have guests stay over or host pool parties, outdoor showers can help free up indoor bathrooms. For seaside and mountain retreats, an outdoor shower comes in handy for washing off sand-filled feet and muddy boots and keeping dirt out indoors.

Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchen with gauged porcelain tile panel/slab countertops
Take your summer barbecues to another level with a complete outdoor kitchen.

Everyone can fire up the barbecue for a summer party, just imagine having a complete outdoor kitchen at your disposal.

No longer would you have to carry utensils and ingredients back and forth to prepare, cook and serve your grilled dishes. On top of that, you would provide a space for your family and guests to gather and enjoy each other’s company while you cook.

Like indoor kitchens, ceramic tile is a great choice because of its low maintenance and exceptional durability.

Outdoor Fireplace

Enjoy your new home’s outdoor space year-round with a cozy outdoor fireplace.

Styling a beautiful outdoor space for your second or vacation home can be worthless if it’s not a place with year-round mild weather. Luckily, an outdoor fireplace may help create a cozy outdoor space even when the weather turns cold.

Exterior fireplaces can also contribute to the overall design of your outdoor space with attractive tile cladding. Go with a natural look that fits in with your landscape, a bold design that steals the show, or something in between.

Tile is a beautiful design for second homes and vacation homes.
You’ve probably noticed that ceramic tiles are featured in many of the vacation home designs that homeowners love. That’ s because tiles meet all four priorities of vacation home design.

Ceramic tile is low-maintenance and durable (think water, scratch, stain, fade and bacteria resistance), which makes it the perfect choice for entertaining and outdoor spaces. Also, it comes in numerous styles-including a variety of shapes, natural looks, unique patterns and even 3D textures and surfaces-to allow for one-of-a-kind designs.

Additionally, ceramic tiles offer a number of sustainability benefits, such as a long life cycle, use of regional raw materials and energy efficiency. As a matter of fact, ceramic tiles have the lowest global warming and fossil fuel resource depletion potential of all flooring types.

Therefore, when it comes to designing your second home or vacation home, ceramic tile is your ultimate design advantage.

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