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Designer Collaborations

5 Interior Design Tips for Furnishing Your Vacation Home

Photo Credit: Tracey Ayton 


Do you have a seasonal vacation home or secondary residence? As the weather warms up, we’re probably all - now more than ever before - itching for our next vacation or weekend getaway. With the days getting longer and local travel (hopefully) on the horizon for many of us, we turned to renowned designer, Terry Doyle of Architerior Design, for top tips to keep in mind when furnishing a vacation home. 

Terry himself is a recent Vancouver Island transplant from the Greater Vancouver area and now calls Qualicum Beach home. With years of luxury design experience in his repertoire, keep reading for Terry’s best luxury design tips for getting the most out of your weekend retreat. 

The Vision

Our clients are successful restaurateurs that were preparing to build a contemporary weekend home in Whistler, B.C. where they could relax, enjoy the beautiful and accessible outdoors, while also creating a space to entertain friends and family.

Pick a colour palette that reflects your personality

The first thing our client said to us at the beginning of this project was, “I do not want another white house!” Right off the bat, we knew we were tasked with designing and decorating a home that would bring a warm, lively energy - perfect for relaxing and entertaining.

As a designer, I have to read between the lines to ‘wow’ my clients. Open communication and lively conversation were key to this project, and we easily settled on a cohesive warm colour palette, lots of textures and soft lighting throughout to create an atmosphere of relaxed comfort with elegant sweeping lines. 

Incorporate design elements that reflect the home’s natural surroundings

Whistler is known as a destination spot for its proximity to the outdoors, incredible access to year-round sports and adventure, and of course, natural beauty. I have designed many homes in Whistler, and each time, the natural surroundings dictate what is required for the project. In this home, we utilized lots of natural materials, wood tones and softly coloured timbers. 

We also spent a lot of time on the element of lighting, making it mostly indirect - due to plenty of natural light in the home - and accenting it with a few sculptural pieces. Furniture-wise, we designed custom furniture pieces with Once A Tree to suit the scale of the home and reflect our clients’ personality. In the dining room, for instance, we have a custom, Canadian-made Coast dining table surrounded by the sleek Gage chairs from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.

A vacation home should feel like a luxury weekend retreat

When it comes to furnishing and interior designing a secondary residence or vacation home, our goal is to offer a relaxing, serene environment. On vacation, people are not as likely to be on a tight schedule. Instead, they are taking the time to prepare a special meal to enjoy with a glass of wine, watch a movie with their feet up, sleep in luxurious bedding - the list goes on.

In this Whistler vacation home, we designed with this all in mind. The master bedroom, for instance, features Bernhardt’s Profile bed - perfect for those late nights and late mornings! 

Create a welcoming, central gathering place

In this vacation home, the great room is the heart of the home. Featuring an oversized custom designed and built sectional and a floor to ceiling natural stone fireplace that’s accented with an original painting by local artist Krista Johnson this room is the perfect backdrop for years of memories and family vacations to come. 

In this space, I imagine great food, good conversation, and music by a roaring fire looking out at the mountains. It’s truly a little patch of paradise. 

Design a home that showcases your design aesthetic, but also your family values

Most importantly, a home - whether it’s a vacation home or your primary residence - should always authentically reflect your personality and values. I was inspired by the genuine warmth of this particular family. We ensured open communication and they gave me a great deal of freedom to do my job as a designer. In the end, I was able to introduce them to the world of large scale modern art by local artists - including a selection of original paintings by Ronin Boyle. Not only does the art look magnificent in the space, but it offers a sophisticated, relaxed vibe throughout the home. 

We hope this post and these interior design tips from Terry Doyle of Architeriors Design provided some insight and inspiration into decorating your dream vacation home or making your current home feel like a vacation home. Whether you’re looking for luxury design inspiration for just one room or a whole house, at Once A Tree Furniture, our goal is to help you create a beautiful, liveable space while prioritizing functionality and aesthetic. 

We work with some of the most talented local designers - like Terry! - to help our clients bring their home dreams to life. Get in touch today for more information and for more luxury design inspiration and tips, follow us on Instagram or Pinterest!

  • Post author
    Daphne Nielsen