Vacation Home Style

Area experts share their secrets for creating a graceful welcome 

Outdoor Week at the Washington Design Center continues! On March 3rd interior designer Erin Paige Pitts and architect Lee Foster discussed aspects of vacation house design, accompanied by hundreds of slides of the interiors and exteriors of vacation homes. The two speakers together recently launched, a search engine for high-end vacation homes worldwide.

Pitts, who lives year-round on Gibson Island off the Eastern Shore, offered insights on how to make vacation homes comfortable and inviting to guests, both indoors and out. “The program for a vacation home can be a little different than you look for in a primary residence,” she explained, pointing out that a vacation home frequently has to accommodate a crowd of people, as opposed to just an immediate family. She suggested that vacation-home owners place a priority on open floor plans and multi-functional spaces, along with cleverly concealed sleeping accommodations, durability of furnishings and fabrics (lots of Sunbrella) and a high level of comfort.

Pitts also revealed her “must-haves” for any welcoming guestroom: high-end linens, a seating area for laptop or iPad usage, plenty of storage for clothes and toiletries and a flat-screen TV. Hosts should also consider sprucing up their outdoor spaces. “An outdoor room should offer some sort of architectural structure to make it feel like its own space,” she said. “It should always have comfortable furniture and [polypropylene] rugs are a favorite of mine.”

Pitts’s colleague, Lee Foster, approached the subject of vacation homes from a different vantage point, discussing the ways to market a vacation home as its owner or as a broker trying to rent it out. She used a plethora of slides to illustrate regional variations in home styles. —Julie Sanders


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