Top Building and Design Decisions for a Getaway House

In many ways, the design and construction process for a second home can be more enjoyable and carefree than for a primary residence. By building your retreat from the ground up, you get to maximize its R&R potential. Whether kicking back means quiet, leisurely weekends with a good book or action-packed family escapes with barbecue marathons, mountain hikes and lake toys is up to you.



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© via skynesher/getty images


Building your getaway home isn’t all fun and games, however. You’ll need to make practical decisions about its design and finishes, taking into account you won’t be living there full time.

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“The differences between a vacation home and a full-time home are very personal, so I’d encourage anyone considering one to spend some time thinking about how they live differently while they are there,” says California-based Ward Young architect Aren Saltiel. “You may spend more of your time at

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The House Whisperer’s Guide to Finding Your Design Style | KFI AM 640

1. The Senses

This is probably the most obvious way that we engage with our homes. Pattern, color, lighting, and spatial arrangement appeal to the eyes; flowers and candles appeal to the nose; textures and space planning appeal to the touch; music, conversation, and quiet appeal to the ears; and foods and drinks appeal to the tongue. A comfortable home will have elements designed to please all of the senses, and as a consequence, sensory engagement is probably the primary way that we make sense of the items that we buy for our homes. Is it pretty? Does it please? Does it fit the space? Is it the right style? An environment’s experiential foundation rests on these fundamental physical and material qualities.

2. Time and Movement through Space

Whether you’re looking for modern, antique, or a mixture of the two, time is a crucial design element. Environments steeped in antiques

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How a Designer Rescued This Home From Bad 1980s Design

Photo credit: David A. Land

Photo credit: David A. Land

From House Beautiful

When a young, creative family tapped Revamp Interior Design founder Danielle
Fennoy to update their new weekend home in Oyster Bay, Long Island, there was a catch: “The before pictures were whoa,” laughs Fennoy. “Red walls, heavy paneling, thick drapes.” The 1980s contemporary build featured a double-height living room and huge windows, but its decor, left over from the previous owners, didn’t reflect the architecture—or the cheerful attitude of its new inhabitants. Plus, the homeowners had made some big-ticket purchases, like a modular sofa, before bringing Fennoy into the picture. “The question became, ‘How do we pull this all together?’ ” the designer recalls.

First, by subtraction. Fennoy began by peeling back the heavy layers to reveal the home’s clean lines. “You’ll notice all the walls are white,” she says. “That way, we could really go more crazy with the art

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Not Just for Kids? The Latest, Happiest Design Trend

Who doesn’t need a mental boost in the home after the dumpster fire that was 2020? To help make this year lighter and brighter, consider a healthy dose of kindercore.

This childlike design aesthetic is trending big-time for good reason: Its signature bright, primary colors plant us squarely in a much happier place.

“I literally have a client right now who is fully embracing this design look in his home, and I also did a show house in this concept several years ago,” reports Ana Cummings of ANA Interiors.

But is this look really for adults—or just for kids?

“Frankly, it’s Fisher-Price for the adult market,” says Beverly Solomon of the eponymous design firm. While living among Lego- and Duplo-inspired hues isn’t for everyone, kindercore may be exactly your cup of tea if you’re game enough to try big splashes of bold color.

Here’s more about kindercore, including its

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Level up your interior design skills with a course bundle on sale

Products featured here are selected by our partners at StackCommerce.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

Learn how to flip furniture, thrift for home goods, and more.
Learn how to flip furniture, thrift for home goods, and more.

Image: International Open Academy

TL;DR: Learn how to make the most of your space with The Home Design and Cleaning Bundle, which is on sale for $19.99 as of March 27.


We aren’t all professional interior designers, but you don’t have to be one to have an aesthetically pleasing space. 

The Home Design and Cleaning Bundle can help you better envision an interior without actually building it. Whether you’re looking to completely overhaul your workspace or turn your interior design interests into a career, this six-course, 11-hour training has you covered. 

The bundle features two in-depth courses from Jamie Cardoso, an expert in 3D lighting, rendering,

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