CLEAN MACHINE. Cut back on the potential for dust bunnies with a streamlined version of your primary residence. The less you have in the way of furniture and accessories, the less you’ll have to clean. Whenever possible, choose materials that don’t require much upkeep and can handle the wear and tear from a steady stream of guests.
Invest in multipurpose pieces that become space savers in the process. Everything from trays and ottomans to bar carts and tiered tables are ideal for a vacation home. Opt for functional decor like clocks and mirrors instead of knickknacks. And display family photos on shelves alongside a handful of sentimental pieces that relate to your stay.
BUYING POWER. Purchase nonperishable items in bulk so that you’re not obligated to shop for supplies every time you head to your vacation home. If family or close friends will be staying with you, kindly ask that they bring the essentials (towels or toilet paper) instead of housewarming gifts. This can be particularly helpful if your hideaway is in a rural area that doesn’t offer much of a selection of groceries and other goods.
If you intend to stay for an entire season or an extended period of time, pack as much as possible on your initial trip. Then, make the most of local or farmers’ markets in the area for an assortment of fresh, healthy foods.
BE MY GUEST. Television is not an expected form of entertainment in a remote setting. Often, the goal is to get away from electronics and get back to nature. A stack of books and current magazines are great entertainment options, as are an assortment of board games.
Keep it simple with everything from slipcovers to window blinds. Prepare for rainy days with buckets for umbrellas and baskets for boots. Select natural-fiber rugs such as sea grass and sisal, and hang hooks to make up for any insufficient closet space.
SPECIAL SECTION. If your hideaway is short on square footage, divvy up your rooms into versatile zones like a dining area that doubles as a place for puzzles and games and a reading corner with an end table and a throw blanket for a cup of tea or an afternoon nap. Whether you maximize indoor or outdoor spaces, make sure you create a suitable spot for those late-night conversations. Keep plenty of snacks on hand for everyone to enjoy.
STAY ON TRACK. Air out the house when you get there, and divide the chores among family members so that one person can unload the groceries while another hoses down the patio furniture. Keep a checklist of what needs to be done upon arrival and prior to departure to keep everything running smoothly all year-round.
Stock up on toothbrushes and sample-size toiletries for your guests. Do a quick sweep of your main home for extra cushions, candles, or towels to fill in as needed at the second house. Stash a storage container near the door for items that need to go back and forth with you.
FINAL SAY. Resist the temptation to finish everything at once. Instead, see what works for decor and supplies and what could use some fine-tuning each time you visit. If you purchase an existing home, hold on to decent pieces left behind by the previous owners. Supplement with flea-market finds and works by local artists that are unique to the region.
Cover the walls with framed or canvas photos of your trip experiences. Whether you capture a lone boat at the dock or a colorful bird perched in a tree, it’s all about paring down to the basics in a vacation home. There is beauty in the simplicity of all that surrounds you. Written by Jeanine Matlow.
~Courtesy of My Home & Lifestyle Magazine~