Luxury Interior Design for Vacation and Summer Homes

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Luxury Interior Design For Your Vacation Property

luxury Summer home interior design

Photo by Andrew Ingalls

How to design your vacation home’s interiors to be equal parts fashion and function.

Investing in a second home is as smart of a real estate investment as creating a quality space for multigenerational family vacations. In both cases, you truly get back what you put into them. ICONIC LIFE spoke with interior designer Jess Cooney about her own homebase in Southern California that is filled with examples of both the right and wrong ways to outfit one’s second home. Whether you are constructing a luxurious beachfront property or modernizing a Manhattan home, Cooney advises home owners on how to interior design your summer vacation home right—the first time around.

modern luxury vacation home interior design

Photo by Lisa Vollmer

Cooney’s luxury interior design firm has been notably celebrated for their innovative projects, including a geodesic dome farmhouse in New England and creating functional, yet playful, décor in family homes. “The first consideration in the initial design stage is planning for multiple generations, as most of my clients have children or grandchildren who will come to stay,” Cooney says. “While one couple will use the house the majority of the time, they will need several bedrooms and larger dining areas for when extended family and friends visit.


“The first consideration in the initial design stage is planning for multiple generations, as most of my clients have children or grandchildren who will come to stay.”

modern vacation home interior design

Photo by Andrew Ingalls

The second is factoring in durable materials so kids, dogs and other guests don’t need to worry about things being too delicate or getting broken in their summer vacation home. The third is designing for hobbies and activities. Will the owners use the home in the summers for swimming and hiking? Will they use it during ski season? We design elements for this so everything has its place.”

According to Cooney, a common mistake some clients make during the luxury home interior design process of their summer home is looking at each piece of the room individually instead of looking at the whole concept. She advises they avoid overdoing a room by choosing what aspects or pieces should be the focal point, and what will fade into the background. This results in a look that is balanced rather than overly cluttered, especially if clients allow themselves to trust their designers to see the overall picture of how it will be layered and completed in the end with complimentary pillows and comfy bedding, striking pieces of artwork and paintings and even exceptional kitchen accessories.



Cooney adds there are decor trends practically tailor made for the lifestyle occupants will assume when they set foot in the second home:

modern luxury vacation interior design

  • Indoor-outdoor fabrics for different kinds of seating, as well as wool in natural, timeless hues for rugs that can withstand a lot of high traffic. Fade and stain resistance is especially appealing to the clients who may want to rent their home or allow a friend to use it for a weekend.
  • Use of natural materials for the home’s exterior. “Stone and natural wood shingles will never go out of style,” Cooney stresses. “A beautiful front door will always be timeless.”
  • As most people who may rent or borrow your vacation home will want privacy, screening in the yard with plantings provides a solution that is environmentally friendly and visually pleasing.
  • A well-designed summer luxury house interior design will often include a basement hang-out space with a large sectional for sleeping as well as watching TV. It is a great option for overflow of guests when the house fills up on weekends and holidays.

Interior designing your summer home’s communal spaces and private rooms is an artful balancing act.

modern Summer home interior design

Photo by Lisa Vollmer

“We love to put in Chilewich mats in heavy traffic kitchens and mudrooms,” she continues. “Even with snow and mud, they’ll always look great after you have taken them outside and shaken them. We also like wooden shiplap rather than sheetrock, as wood will hold up so much longer through wear-and-tear. If it’s painted in an oil-based paint, it really can take a beating from kids and pets.

Large-scale porcelain tiles with radiant heat, meanwhile, work well for cleaning the space with fewer grout lines and in our area, they are great for drying the mud and snow that come in on your feet thanks to the fact radiant heat dries it right up. Additionally, built-in storage is another advantage with mudrooms giving occupants a place for everything and every season.”

Interior designing your summer home’s communal spaces and private rooms is an artful balancing act. Following Cooney’s expert advice on approaching your second home will help you appreciate the process of design even more while executing an livable space that will be shared by your family for generations to come.

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