Monday, August 22, 2011

The scoop about vacation home living rooms.

Remember how I mentioned my parent's new "beach house" project way back here? Well, as of last week, that was the only progress made to-date (eek!). But since then, I've been inching my way through coming up with an overall color scheme, floor plan and artwork list for the entire space.

[Note for the fellow nerds: I then cross referenced the idea with the list of furniture and accessories my parent's already have to create a room plan, materials list, DIY list and budget - properly sourced and tabbed in a giant Excel workbook. I know, awesome right?!]

While I won't show you the entire plan just yet, I do want to cover off on some points for what will be the most used space in the vacation home... the living room. After spending some time at other vacation homes, I've been lucky enough to gather a good arsenal of tips and tricks for what creates a good one and am planning on keeping those in mind when pulling together my parents'.

Per usual, I haven't shown any of this to my mom yet (love you, mom!) but am pretty confident she'll agree with majority of the content below. And yes, we are still going with the Hamptons Chic theme which I know most of the example photos below don't feature. Tough day on Google images and pinterest.

1. Have an abundance of seating all positioned for conversation. First, you never know the size of the entourage members of the family (AKA my brother and I) are looking to host at a vacation home. Second, it's always easier to edit seating than it is to create some. Third, always arrange furniture for conversation and entertainment vs. zoning out in front of the TV only. For example, make sure someone sitting on the sofa, has access to a group of people that may be playing cards at the kitchen table. For those playing a game at the coffee table, make sure there are some seating options in case someone else needs to pull up a chair.

In the case of my parent's spot, it will likely be a lower-backed sectional with a couple chairs hidden in corners with non-neck-hurting visuals of the breakfast nook, patio and front door.

2. Have easy access to a variety of entertainment options. Want to play Euchre? We've got cards. A board game? We've got Monopoly. Need some dice? Coming right up. The best way to make sure the vacation home gets used as often as possible is by assessing all of the possible options for ways to entertain someone and then making sure all of those options are readily available in the house. And not only available but extremely accessible - as in, no one wants to search for something they don't know is there.

I think what we will likely do is balance the bulkiness of the sectional with some stacked floating shelves and rattan baskets for storage. This can be arranged next to the TV to create an "entertainment center" and house everything from a deck of cards to a vintage Guess Who game. Are you... Bernard?

[note: I can't find an example of what I'm thinking and therefore need to sketch it out to see if it will work. For now, here are some cute TV stands that offer the same storage without the bulk.]

3. Take it easy on the nick-knacks and living things. Of course, this is pending how much time you're actually planning on spending at your vacation home. Naturally, if you head up every weekend, there is a little more flexibility. But if you're only planning to use the space every couple of months, minimizing the amount of excess decor is crucial if you don't want to spend the first day of your vacation dusting and throwing out dead plants. Instead, aim for accessorizing based on functional uses only and adding personal touches with hanging photos vs. tabletop ones.

This is going to be, by far, the largest challenge for me considering my giant infatuation with chotchskies. Luckily, my mom hates them and has no problem telling me when it's too much (phew!).

[note: Ok this was VERY hard given Elle Decor's standard of "a photograph isn't complete without a living thing in it". So, pretend the obviously stylized vases aren't in these pictures to see my point.]

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