Redesigning and Renovating a Vacation Home

Redesigning and Renovating a Vacation Home

Are you thinking about redesigning and renovating a vacation home? Well, summertime is here and many people look forward to spending the season visiting their vacation home. Whether that be a lakeside cabin, an oceanfront home, or mountain retreat, a vacation home can be a place that greets you with all the comforts of home in a location that you love, where you can relax and spend time with family.  Or it can become a place that provides you with a burden of unfinished projects, maintenance issues and endless wish lists. 

A vacation home could be a property that’s been handed down for generations. If that’s the case, trying to design the space for modern living but keep the charm and history of this cherished property should be considered in the new design. Many times these properties have evolved over time with numerous additions or temporary design elements, a professional designer will be able to create a cohesive look knowing what to keep and what to change in the new design. 

Unlike renovating a main residence, with a vacation home, you have the freedom to plan the timing so that your vacation home is ready for you during the season that you want to use it. This involves careful planning. Timing is everything! For instance, if you’re planning on renovating a beach home it would be great if those renovations could be done in the winter. However, if the home is not a four-season home this could be problematic especially since proper temperatures are needed in order to work in the home or on his plumbing systems.

This is the case of one of our current projects located on the Northern coast of Massachusetts. Some vacation home properties require certain specific zoning requirements, conservation boards, or specialized code requirements, especially some waterfront locations, so extra planning time is needed to get specific approvals or permits.

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For this reason, it’s always best to involve a professional when renovating these types of properties as a professional can best advise you based on your set of circumstances and needs as to the best time of year to renovate your property.

Resources and Implementation

A professional also can bring in a team of tradespeople, as sometimes your vacation home is located outside of an area where you normally live. This can also be problematic as far as overseeing your renovation and finding local reliable tradespeople. Hiring a team that can take the project from design right through to completion overseeing all of the details will provide you with the best results, a professionally finished look, and planned with the most optimized timeline for the scope of your type of project. Transportation and deliveries to a vacation property could also have some challenges, these are things that pros deal with on a daily basis and will anticipate before they cause problems with your project.

Design

There are many things to consider as far as the design of a vacation property as your needs for the space might be very different from a home that is being used year-round. This might be a place where numerous family members gather or share the property, you might need to provide additional sleeping quarters for the family. You might entertain a lot more at this property so in some cases your kitchen might work harder in this home.

It is always best to start out with a thorough discussion as to a client’s needs for any property that we design and renovate. However, when beginning a vacation home project we discuss even further the unique needs with the homeowner while using this property and how we can design the space to meet those needs. 

When designing a vacation home (from a design perspective), I love to consider the outdoor environment’s influence on the design of the interior spaces. For instance, a color scheme of a beachfront property might be very different than that of a mountain cabin, and for good reason. I am a firm believer that the view of a property should influence, not compete, with the view. This is especially true for properties with prominent views.

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I love working with clients on vacation homes! It’s especially exciting when we have already designed another property for the client and now we can explore additional design projects with this client or a family that we have enjoyed working with during their previous project. 

I’ll be anxious to show you the final results of our current vacation home project! 

Remember that the design of any home can give you all the comforts of a vacation! Especially if it’s designed to do so! 

Until next time,

Gia

From The Blog

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Filling Your Home With Fragrance

Filling Your Home With Fragrance

Truly great design is not just visually impactful. Yes, it must be visually appealing, but It must also be functional and appeal to the other senses. I believe that a truly great design must impact all of our senses.

The sense of touch can be impacted while wrapping yourself in a soft fluffy throw blanket in your living room. The sense of Fragrance is one of the final details that can complete the feel of a room and bring a sense of comfort to your home.

Recently my adult son walked into my home and commented on how the house smelled like he remembered his childhood home smelling. This is a different home than where we lived when he was a child, but the scented candle that I was burning in the living room was a familiar scent that I commonly used in that previous home. For him, it was the scent of home. The sense of smell can be very strong and it really is amazing how a familiar fragrance can bring up memories of space and give you a feeling of comfort.

I certainly believe that scents can be used in the design of a space to touch all of the senses. A few years ago while designing an oceanfront designer show house (click to read the blog), I enhanced the coastal ambiance of that coastal design that I created in that home with coastal scented candles. The scent was a mix of salty water air and fresh cotton which complemented the design for that space. This certainly enhanced the experience for those touring the newly designed home.
At last year’s local holiday house home tour, I decorated a beautiful home for the holidays (click to read the blog) that many people came to tour and enjoy the decorations, it was no coincidence that the home was filled with the scents of pine and gingerbread. I used scents to complement the decor once again. I placed the scent of pine in the main living room and gingerbread in the home’s kitchen, which was decorated with an assortment of Christmas confections.
This is an example of how, as a designer, I use scents to enhance the experience of a space.
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1. Choose a single fragrance that you love.

The fragrance that you choose for your home is a very personal choice.  You might have to experiment to find that fragrance. But when you do then you know you have a place to start. This main fragrance might be the fragrance that you use in your living room or the main spaces of your home.

2. Fragrances can come in many forms.

Scented candles in all varieties, including soy, beeswax, and coconut oil-based candles. You could also use diffusers that disperse essential oils in a mist, these work great, just remember to size the diffuser properly to the size of the space that you will be using it in. The diffuser should tell you the size of the room that it should cover. Reed diffusers, scented room sprays, even fresh mixtures of assorted fruits and spices can be used to scent a room. A pot of water simmering on the stove with a mixture of fresh fruits spices or essential oils can be very fragrant. Experiment to see which form of fragrance you prefer or layer them to experience the same scent in different forms.

3. Don’t mix different scents in the same room.

This can be done, but it can be tricky and it takes some practice. Think of a bouquet of beautifully arranged fresh flowers. The mix of complementary fragrances can be fabulous. But when working with scented candles or scented oils the fragrance can be much more concentrated or it might already be mixed with several other scents so this takes some experimentation.

4. Use different but complementary scents throughout your home.

If you a using a scented candle in your living room, the diffuser in the kitchen can be using a different scent, just make sure it’s appealing when walking from one room into the other.

At the end of a long day when the world seems crazy, adding a little detail like fragrance might not seem important but it does help you to feel good about being in your home. It’s so nice to walk into a space that’s been well thought out for you and your lifestyle, adding the touch of a scent that you love will bring you comfort whenever you walk into your home.

Until next time,

Gia

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Adding the Luxury Of Fresh Flowers To Your Home

Adding the Luxury of Fresh Flowers to your Home

I have always loved creating different types of flower arrangements, whether it’s for an event, one of my design projects, a project photo session, or for my own home. Most of my flower arrangements are created by foraging outdoors for flowers and greenery, or a handful of simple grocery store flowers that I’ve arranged in interesting containers. Occasionally, I might order specific blossoms from my favorite florist to weave into my arrangements.

I just love flowers, I think this runs in my family as my mother’s family ran a small flower shop in New York City. My mother followed suit with creating beautiful flower arrangements of every kind. My sister and I seemed to inherit her passion for flowers and decorating.

Now, more than ever we should enjoy the little luxury of having a few fresh flowers in our home. That doesn’t mean we need to have expensive arrangements. But now that spring is upon us we can easily find a few blossoms to create simple arrangements that we can enjoy indoors and outdoors.

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Even a simple arrangement of mixed greenery or branches can create an interesting arrangement.

One.

Use what you have in your own yard. If you have a backyard with some flowers that you can cut then this is perfect, use what is in bloom to start your arrangements. If you don’t have any flowers in your yard and you have some greenery, use a mix of interesting greens to create an arrangement. If you don’t have a yard, a few grocery store flowers can surely be made into a few nice arrangements.

Two.

Find an interesting container. This could be a glass vase, ice bucket, canister, teacups, or a few mugs. You could use a galvanized bucket as an outdoor flower pot, a wine glass, or just about anything can be used to display flowers. As long as it holds water and the proportion is right for the flowers that you have.

Three.

Small arrangements are easier to place in your home. Maybe instead of creating one large arrangement, find a few small containers and create several small arrangements. These can definitely be mixed into your decor easier than a large arrangement. A small vase next to your sink in the kitchen or bathroom, a small arrangement on your desk, or a few small arrangements on the dining table still allow for other items to be on the surface. Smaller Arrangements on the dining table also allow for easier conversation during dinner then a tall arrangement.

Four.

Place arrangements where you can enjoy them. I do love creating one large arrangement for my entry table. I’m counting the minutes until my lilacs bloom in my yard so I can collect hand fulls of beautiful fragrant blossoms to display in my entry. I change out this display depending on the season and what is blooming at the time. This area works great in my home since I can enjoy it whenever I pass through this central location. The fragrance greets me in the morning on the way down the stairs. Think about where you might enjoy fresh flowers in your home.

Five.

Use color. Add a burst of color to any room with fresh flowers. If you have flowers that compliment your decor, then great. But don’t be afraid to add fresh flowers of any color to your decor that splash of color will add interest and give your home the look of a finished designed space.

Until next time,

Gia

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Creating An Outdoor Living Space

Creating An Outdoor Living Space

As the first few warm days of Spring arrive. The warmer weather calls us outdoors and we start to evaluate the outdoor areas of our home. This year, especially, our world is practicing social distancing and it seems like we might be spending a lot more time at home in the coming months. You are probably considering giving a little attention to your outdoor areas and wondering where to start.

Your outdoor spaces should be designed the same way that you’re indoors the spaces are designed.

First, think about all of the different activities that are going to happen in these outdoor spaces. Cooking, dining, entertaining, maybe you would like a comfortable spot to curl up with a good book. However large or small your outdoor space is, there is room for great design. My mother, in the later years of her life, created the most beautiful outdoor balcony space in her small New York apartment balcony. It was truly an oasis with everything needed to enjoy the tiny space.

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Once you identify the activities that will go on in these spaces, you then can best figure out where to locate all of the designated areas in your outdoor space. If you are creating an outdoor kitchen or cooking area, consider any electrical, gas, and accessibility needs. As far as furnishings, lounge chairs might sense closer to a pool or water feature if you have one. Consider the lighting of the space, which in an outdoor space is the sun. The sun’s location at different times throughout the day, consider this when planning your space.

Create a quick sketch of your yard, they plan a layout that would function well for your lifestyle. Then and only then should you start looking at outdoor furniture to purchase. Most people overestimate the amount of space that they have and how much can fit into it. This is true of exterior spaces as well as interior spaces. Be sure you measure everything first. Take your time and add pieces slowly.

Be sure to include comfortable seating. Many outdoor seating options are not as comfortable as they look. Again, look at measurements to really understand the pieces and their proportion, especially the seat depths and back height. If you are 6’5” tall, a low seat back will not be comfortable. Look at all the dimensions.

Add personality! Your outdoor spaces can be a reflection of your personality just like your indoor spaces. Use items that you love. Your basic pieces should be weather resistant. But on a day filled with sunshine, you and your family can enjoy your outdoor space like an extension of your indoor living space. Add pillows, decorative accessories, and a splash of color. These are the elements that will make your space inviting and you will enjoy spending time in your new outdoor living area.

Until next time,

Gia

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Evaluating the Function of Your Home

Evaluating the Function of Your Home

Like most of us, you might be finding yourself spending a lot more time at home for a while. We are now working, teaching, homeschooling, exercising, and cooking all of our meals at home. 

As we settle into this new norm we might be noticing that certain areas of our homes might not be functioning as well as you might like. That dated kitchen that you have been thinking about renovating is now also revealing all of the design and functionality flaws now that you are giving it so much daily use. You are also probably wishing that you had renovated it last year when you started discussing it.

That family room, the one that you have been thinking about opening up to your kitchen space to give you more flow and function in your home, you are now wishing that you had done this project before your home turned into the center of all daily activities. You are now discovering where your home lacks in function in a whole new way and your home is now a bigger priority than it might have been a few months ago. 

So, how do you proceed with thinking or planning a renovation in the midst of the unknown world situation?

Planning is more important now than ever when renovating. Even under normal conditions, a good renovation takes a few months of thorough planning.

  • Start the process now when your ideas are fresh on your mind.
  • Make notes now while you are home about your thoughts regarding your current space and what you would like to improve. Are you noticing that you are in need of panty space? Or you preparing to re-configure the entry are along with that kitchen renovation.
  • Do you want to include a designated home office space?
     

Involve a Professional early in the process. Even under normal circumstances designing and planning a renovation can take several months. Most of the design and planning processes can be done virtually. A virtual site visit or video tour can get the process started. Then the creation: a design plan for your space is done offsite along with the necessary client meetings. Involving a Professional to design and manage your project is now more important than ever. I can guide you through the ever-changing landscape of the interior design and construction industry.

Look to the future. Plan for a new normal but don’t give up on your dreams! Stay busy moving your dreams forward!

Until next time,

Gia

From The Blog

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How To Create An Oasis In Your Master Bathroom

How to Create an Oasis in your Master Bathroom

Have you ever dreamed of a luxurious bathroom space? Now more than ever we are craving a master bathroom space that is an oasis. A space to which we can retreat at the end of a long and very stressful day. 

I have spent most of my life designing and renovating beautiful master bathroom spaces for my clients. Beautiful retreats with custom showers including all the features that one dreams of in a shower, and some features that you didn’t even know existed. Bathrooms that have been expanded well beyond their original floor plan and footprint, with exciting new layouts to accommodate large freestanding soaking tubs, customized storage, and privacy needs. Of course, using all of the beautiful fixtures, colors, and finishes that you would expect to see in a master bath retreat, marble, porcelain tile, glass, gleaming metals, luxurious fabrics, and soothing colors. Then, of course, all of the finishing touches that add a feeling of comfort to the space that we usually add after a space is fully renovated.

During this time at home, while thinking about and planning for that luxurious master bathroom renovation there are also some small things that you can do to create an oasis in your bathroom until our renovation gets underway.

Buy the best bath towels

100% cotton is the best. They are the most absorbent and durable. Egyptian cotton and Pima tend to be a softer cotton towel. The thicker the better. I love using solid white in most of my bathroom spaces. Sometimes a bathroom design might call for a brightly colored hand towel mixed with stacks of soft cotton bath towels.

Accent with soft textures

If you have space try adding a small chair or bench. A bathroom has lots of hard surfaces, adding a fabric piece can soften the look of the room. If you don’t have space, adding fabric window treatments will also soften the look of the space.

Bring nature indoors

Add fresh flowers or greenery. A few fragrant blossoms in a small vase on your bathroom vanity can make your bathroom feel like an oasis.

Accessorize

A decorative vanity tray can collect and display make-up or personal items. A grouping of decorative glasses or boxes can conceal necessities.

Fill the air with sound

Add a blue tooth speaker so you can stream music into your bathroom easily. The sounds of ocean waves or pouring rain can create a soothing ambiance in your bathroom. Try the CALM app or one of the many streaming music services that offer soothing sounds.

Creative decor

Add some art. Try a new print or canvas art piece in your bathroom. Use a grouping of framed pieces that coordinate with your bathroom’s decor.

Until Next Time,

Gia

From The Blog

Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk

I often run into a local Home Goods or Home Sense store in whatever town I might be working in at the time. I might be looking for a few odds and...

read more

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