I often design projects long distance, particularly for vacation homes. I recently had an opportunity to stay in one of the homes I designed late last year. It was really a fun opportunity for me for many reasons.

The Client: My client and I have a long relationship. We’ve worked together on his office, his private home, show homes, luxury homes, condos, extensive remodels, and flip houses. I’m making a guess here, but we’ve probably done over 30 complete residences or offices together. By now I know his particular design aesthetic, his need for everything to be of high quality in appearance and function, and his relentless attention to detail. His trust in me gives me the opportunity to propose possible floor plans, appliances, plumbing, and finishes that I think would be worthwhile. So, when it was time to remodel his family getaway I was delighted! This meant that we could use finishes and combinations that appealed to him and not a possible buyer or homeowner. (Note: his wife is really laid back and is happy to abstain from the design process!)

Space: As always, we started working on making the floor plan more user friendly. The tiny laundry room went away, making room for a much larger kitchen with the stackable washer and dryer tucked into a tall cabinet. A big island with an overhang on 3 sides increased work space, storage, and seating. Off of one of the bedrooms a little powder room was rearranged to squeeze in a custom shower. We relocated a smaller on-demand water heater in an oversized bedroom closet.

Appliances and Plumbing: When the space plan was right we discussed appliances and plumbing fixtures. The client wanted to use many of the appliances that we’d specified many times for his award-winning show homes. Since we knew the sizes and finishes of these we were able to move quickly to the next part of a project.

Finish Composition: We then went to the decorating portion of the project. I proposed that we acknowledge the beach location in all of the finishes with a nod to the Mid-West, kind of like having one foot in the sand and one in the prairie. For ease of maintenance we chose tile for all of the rooms. Broad barnwood-like planks of tile flooring would go everywhere and become the base for the rest of our choices. The walls would be a pale gray-green with contrasting trim in pure white. In the kitchen we selected cabinets with a classic Shaker profile in a soft, cloudy driftwood gray finish. Our cabinet hardware choice was a counterpoint to the classic Shaker style. We chose large rectangular crinkled metal pulls, strong in shape but soft in finish with tones of stainless steel and chrome. Big expanses of counter top were the perfect place to use quartz material with reclaimed glass bits in shades of blue, turquoise, and amber. Watery glass tiles on the backsplash repeated the blues and grays of the kitchen.

In the bathrooms we placed a smaller, lighter plank style tile on the walls. The cabinets are the same gray with pure white sinks and fixtures. To add more character the walls in the baths are a Caribbean sky blue. The whole effect is very pleasant, clean, and soothing just as I imagined.