16 August 2011

SENSIBLE STYLE - Vacation Home Kitchens

It’s summertime – and the living is easy! Foods are simple and unfussy. Days are long and spent as much outdoors as possible. Sand and mud get tracked into the house from flip flops and hiking boots.

This Sensible Style is dedicated to vacations… and vacation home kitchens.

Simplicity counts

Vacation homes are all about relaxing and leisure, not about detail and dusting. Choose a cabinet style that reflects this casual spirit. Fussy moldings and ornate carvings would be as out-of-place in your beach house or mountain cabin as a ball gown at a barbecue.

Simple cabinets, like these American Woodmark Del Ray models, work great for a vacation home kitchen's pared-down lifestyle

They’re not about slaving over a hot stove either. You don’t need a pro style range. Chances are, you’ll be cooking a lot of your meals on the outside grill. Nor do you need an oversized refrigerator. You’ll be cooking fresh food from farm stands and the fresh catch of the day.

If you don’t like paper plates, have the space in your kitchen, and welcome frequent guests, you might want to consider planning in a second dishwasher. This is a luxury that will definitely pay off.

Low maintenance counts

I’m betting you don’t want to spend your vacation polishing granite or sealing wood tops. Choose a counter surface that lets you choose to spend time outdoors instead of in the kitchen. Repairable Corian or engineered stone can work in this setting. So could stainless steel if you don’t mind seeing scratches.

Low maintenance quartz tops, like this one by Cambria, are ideal for vacation homes

Ditto for your floors. An attractive porcelain tile that stands up to the thundering of wet, muddy active feet or a wood that’s already distressed could be your best vacation friend.

Porcelain tile, like this one from Daltile, is vacation home friendly

Another option is flood-friendly stained concrete, especially if your home is built on a concrete slab already. It will take just about anything you can throw at it.

Avoid elaborate backsplashes. They won’t fit in any better than the heavily-decorated cabinets would. Beadboard, tin ceiling tiles, or just a simple painted surface can work at your summer home. Keep it simple.

Seating matters

Have plenty of it, at a height comfortable for the majority of your guests. They’re going to hang out in the kitchen anyway. Make it easy to do so with counter-height stools instead of bar stools and, if there’s space, chairs, benches or banquette with washable cushions at a standard height table.

A bench, like this Benchwright model from Pottery Barn, welcomes kids and friends to your table

Planning matters

Guests young and old will be traipsing in and out of your house all day. That’s the nature of summer homes. If outdoor entertaining is a big part of your vacation life, plan for a large deck next to your kitchen, if possible. Ideally, the doors from the kitchen open completely onto this deck for easy transit. A zero threshhold will be kindest to bare feet.

Vacations are about indoor-outdoor living; so is this glass wall-door combo by NanaWall

A pass-through from kitchen window to deck would also be great for serving and cleaning up.

I would also suggest planning an extra large, deep, sturdy sink for grilling tools and stock pots from crab boils and the like. A tall, pull-out faucet will be the most convenient for filling them.

A large, durable sink, like this Blanco Silgranit II sink, is ideal for vacation home kitchen clean-up

Decorating points

The whole point of vacation homes is to enjoy a relaxing time away from your daily life. Chances are, it’s got a great view of nearby woods, lake, mountain, gulf, bay or ocean. Let Mother Nature do the decorating for you. The view should be the focal point, so keep window coverings and distractions to a minimum.

Choose outdoor-rated fabrics for cushions and area rugs.

Outdoor rugs, like these Striped Braided versions from Ballard Designs, work great in vacation home kitchens (and on their decks)


  1. I'd like to have one of these as well!

  2. Thanks. So would I... I'm still working on my non-vacation home kitchen! But then again, living in San Diego makes me feel like I'm on vacation all year 'round.


Found Gold: Popular Posts from the Past!

Don't miss out on any gold -- subscribe by email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner