Erin Paige Pitts Interiors

"It's all in the details……."

“It’s all in the details… finding the perfect artwork for a project that completes the space…”

I was in High Point last week for the fall market and one of the things that I focused on the most was finding artwork for current projects.   Finding just the right artwork and accessories really makes a good project a great project.  It gives a residence a sense of completion in a way nothing else can.  Artwork doesn’t always mean investment quality original works.  There are so many sources for gorgeous limited edition prints that have as much aesthetic bang for your buck as an expensive original oil painting.  I wanted to share a few of my favorites and I am sure you will quickly realize there are is some great artwork out there to fit every budget. 

For any of you who know me or closely follow my work.  I love the sea and everything about the water.  I do a lot of waterfront residence and am always looking for appropriate artwork.  Seahorses and Starfish are among my greatest loves.  Here are some stunning seahorse and starfish prints.


I have also always loved garden plans but had never seen them in this lovely shade of light blue…

Last… who can not resist images of children frolicking in the water or playing with their hola hoops… perfect for a beach house!

I am also always looking for fish, crab or lobster prints that aren’t the typical.  These are hand colored and each one looks like an original watercolor.  I fell in love with these instantly…

I hope these images brought you some renewed excitement and it has urged you to make your interiors complete with the addition of some great prints and artwork.  If you love what you see but don’t know how to put it all together, I am always happy to take on artwork consulting projects in addition to full interiors projects.  Before starting my own interiors firm, one of my positions was as a fine art consultant to corporations and private collectors for Renaissance Fine Art. 

Always, feel free to contact me at  if you have any questions!




“It’s all in the details… Making your home into your own personal retreat (for everyday)…”

First, I want to apologize for not blogging in quite a while.  I have been with raising three young children and running my own design firm, that there just hasn’t been time.  I have missed writing my blog and am going to try  to get it back up to speed.  Thanks for your kind follow.

I am a firm believer that “you should live where you really want to be”.  What exactly do I mean by that, you might ask?  Too many of us live where we NEED to live, not where we WANT to live.  We may need to live to be close to work or to school or to family ….  If you fall into this category and aren’t able to live where your dreams take you, why not make your home feel like your own personal retreat?

I am going to make the assumption that if you are reading Coastal Style, you either live near the coast or are vacationing here.  If so, I am guessing you love the relaxing feel of the coast? The sea breezes, the beautiful colors and textures of the sand and surf?  All of these are elements you can incorporate in the design of your home (primary or second home) to give it that relaxing coastal vibe.

As an Interior Designer that specializes in “elegant coastal homes”, there are several elements I incorporate in my designs that create the luxurious and restful (aka “retreat feel). For one to relax, the mind has to relax. Too many opposing elements, make a space busy, not restful.  Here are a few ways …
1) tonal or monochromatic color schemes- this doesn’t mean NO color- just fewer colors used deliberately.
2) luxurious finishes and fabrics- “use tactile and textured elements”
3) consistent use of theme- pick something and stick to it!
4) edit- fewer larger elements create more impact without appearing “busy”

I am sharing with you photos of a few bathroom spaces I’ve designed that embody the “retreat” feel.  A room in which this approach is extremely effective is the Master Bedroom and bath.  Think of a hotel room or spa you’ve visited or seen in a magazine.  What elements about that room appealed to you?  That can be the basis of your master bedroom or bathrooms design. 

This particular master bedroom is a great example of a soothing grayed green and sandy beige color scheme.  The room uses two principle colors married with texture (in the fabric and area rug) and subtle pattern (on pillows, bedding and artwork) to create a restful feel.  The simplicity of the draperies, in a flowing off white linen allow you mind to relax.  The addition of the shell trim to the draperies leading edge gives it just a touch of natural luxury.  Dress your bed with fine high count linens to sink into after a long hot day.  There are no jarring colors or details here, all the elements reinstate the feel of a luxurious retreat.  The addition of a bedside bouquet and some wonderfully scented candles add the crowning touch.

Master Bath rooms can be designed to feel like a spa bath.  Perhaps you have noticed that High-end spas tend to use one principal type and variety of stone throughout and be very soothing?  It is the simplicity of their design that creates that spa like feel. Here I used white Jura  Limestone in this bathroom on the floors and countertops (as well as the bathtub surround and shower, not pictured) to give a consistent natural element to the space.  The details such as polished nickel lighting and hardware are a glamorous partner to the more natural finish of the stone.  The white custom cabinetry with the open area under the sinks and large hyacinth baskets give the space a very relaxing non-cluttered feel.

A large soaking tub is also a necessary luxury in a spa bath.  There are tub selections for every type of bather.  You can choose from soakage tubs, air massage tubs and of course, jetted tubs. All three varieties available as freestanding or built-in versions.

Outfitting the shower to elevate bathing to a new level should also be a part of making your bathroom into a retreat. A luxurious shower fitted with a comfortable shower seat, rain head, shower body jets and other features should be part of the plan.  This shower was carved out of an otherwise unusable space- a dormer window.  We tiled the entire shower, ceiling, dormer and all.  The window gives this otherwise dark area much needed light.  The consistent use of this dreamy blue-green tile makes you feel as if you are swimming in the Caribbean!  Who doesn’t love that! This bathroom is a good example that efficient use of space and good design you can make any size shower become luxurious and retreat like.

Here is another view …

It is always important to do your research and know what you want before embarking on a renovation project.  A well developed design concept and floor plan will facilitate a great finished project.  If you seek professional help designing your home to feel like a retreat for everyday or any other project, please feel free to contact me at

“It’s all in the details….DC Design House- Pool Room…”

I am excited and honored to be among the talented group of designers participating in this years DC Design House to benefit Children’s National Medical Center. The show house runs through May 8th and is in the former estate of the founders of Woodward and Lothrop department store. The home, currently owned by the Wasserman family is located at 3134 Ellicott Street, NW Washington D.C. in the Forrest Hills neighborhood just off Connecticut Avenue. The house is a 1925 English Country Tudor. It boasts 12,000 square feet and has a pool and koi pond on its grounds. Over the years the home has hosted events for many dignitaries, politicians and celebrities. I envisioned my room, the “Pool Room” as a “porch-like” space, or a aerie retreat from the more formal areas of the home. The house does not include any porches despite its grand size. The “Pool Room” is located between the main living room and the grounds where the pool is located and has two large windows and a set of french doors overlooking the pool and a large bay window looking out to Ellicott Street. In keeping with my love of elegant coastal interiors, I filled the room with all the things I love. To start, I painted the existing dark wood panelling in 5 coats of Farrow and Balls “All White”. I used their 40% sheen on the walls and their 90% sheen on the trim, beams and doors. By using a high sheen on all surfaces, it made the room very light reflective and bright. The original flooring was a dark brown poured terrazo floor. I enlisted my favorite faux finishers “Twin Diamonds Studios” to paint the floors in a faux bois floor pattern, giving the room addittional “porch like feel”. I then added a diamond patterned sisal rug from Stark to define the seating area. I chose white or taupe fabrics all from “Jim Thompson Fabrics” in natural linens to give a breezy porch like feel. Despite the neutral color palette, you will notice a subtle layering of patterns and textures that give the room depth and interest without a lot of color. The swings are my subliminal way of giving the room a relaxing overtone. I love being on a swing and it is difficult to be stressed out while on a swing!! I chose all the furniture in a light finish from a local Maryland based furniture manufacture, David Edward. David Edward’s products ( are entirely made from sustainable materials and since they are local, keeping down the carbor footprint. I achored the back of the room with a large round skirted table. I just love the table skirt and envision it blowing in the breeze on a warm summer day. The table skirt is in a semi-sheer fabric called Mosaica and has a large taupe border at the bottom. On top the large round skirted table are a collection of my favorite design books and a murano glass vase designed by my dear friend Thomas Fuches with Otium-NYC. The murano glass vase on the skirted table has “rostri” detail in the center that reminds me of sea urchin, another subtle coastal element. I then filled the room with shells, bone, starfish, natural woven baskets, lanterns etc… The starfish hanging sculpture is something I designed and made myself to create a beautiful sculptural backdrop to one of the swings. I especially love how the starfish spin and turn, creating shadows and plays of light, it is truely magical and one of my favorite aspects of the room. Flanking the large bay window are four marine intaglios which were custom made for me by an artist from Florida. Each intaglio is a different sea creature, sea horse, starfish, sand dollar etc…. it is a very subtle and elegant way to reaffirm the coastal feel. I also feature the work of Maryland artist, Pamela Phillips. She captures the beauty of shells as still life. You can see two of her paintings in the room, a small one on an easel in the bay window and another hanging on the wall over the slipcovered chair. I just love the detail in Pam’s paintings! The comment I hear the most as people enter my room is that it is like a “breath of fresh air” and that is exactly what I wanted to achieve. I hope you get a chance to visit this years DC Design House ( There are so many amazing spaces designed by many of the areas most talented designers, Patrick Sutton, Liz Levin, Lauren Liess, Barbara Franceski, just to name a few. If you have a porch or any other space you would like to transform, please feel free to contact me at or

“It’s all in the details…. designing your Outdoor Spaces to become Outdoor Living Rooms”.

As the warm weather approaches, we turn our attention to our yards, gardens and outdoor spaces.  When planning your spring garden, ordering your seeds and plants….  Include your “outdoor spaces” in your planning.  You can take existing outdoor spaces (I.e. Porches, decks, verandas..) and turn them into “Outdoor living Rooms”, rooms equally as comfortably furnished and aesthetically pleasing as any interior room. 

Designing Outdoor Rooms doesn’t require a different skill set from designing regular interior spaces however, it does require the knowledge of products, finishes and materials that can look beautiful, be comfortable, and withstand the elements of wind, water and sun.

Let’s take the typical interior and break it into parts and compare it to how you would design an Outdoor Room of equal design. 

The first thing that every Interior room has and not all exterior rooms have is a sense of structure.  People like structure.  It gives them intimacy and a sense of scale to relate to.  Some ways to incorporate structure onto your outdoor spaces would be to build pergolas, add columns, lattice, even large planters with trees or tall plants. (Images).  Options for adding something overhead to protect you from the elements are retractable awing or adding greenhouse glass atop your pergola. 

The second thing that help makes outdoor spaces become an Outdoor room is comfortable furniture.  The options in outdoor furniture are vast and meet every design style and functional requirement.  Some options are teak, synthetic resin rattan, aluminum, cast, and more recently fully upholstered lounge product. Keep in mind how you intend to use the outdoor space, and plan accordingly.  Also, allowing the spaces to have multi-functions will make them more useful to you and your guests.  Depending on the size of your space, incorporating a mix of lounge chairs, and dining height tables and seating allow for outdoor meals, games or an impromptu office space.

Equally important is the outdoor fabric you choose for your cushions and upholstered furniture. This is where the options explode.  There is virtually an outdoor fabric equivalent for every indoor fabric.  There are your standard twills, terry cloth, patterns to name just few. There is also a vast range of price points associated with outdoor fabric.  Sunbrella, the name mostly associated with outdoor fabrics uses proprietary polymer chemistry to every step of the production process – fiber formation, yarn manufacturing, weaving and finishing.  In recent years, many other fabric companies have introduced outdoor or performance fabrics.  Some of the more design oriented fabric companies are Perennials Fabrics, Ralph Lauren, etc…

The fourth element is floor coverings.  Adding an outdoor rug to your outdoor room is not only soft, warm and forgiving to bare feet; it also helps define the space.  Just like you would use an area rug over your hardwood floors in your interior living room, you should likewise use a rug outdoors. The most durable material for outdoor rugs is polypropylene. Polypropylene can take a ton of wear and tear, does not absorb water or moisture, it is highly stain and fade resistant and can be scrubbed down to clean.  Some of the outdoor rug lines I like to use when designing Outdoor Rooms are Dash and Albert and Stanton carpet’s “Anywhere” and “Bella” Collections.  (images)

The fifth element is draperies, or as referred to when they are outdoors “Cabana Draperies”.  Cabana draperies can also help define your outdoor room and add a bit of sophistication at the same time.   You can use any outdoor fabric for your Cabana draperies but make sure you use drapery hardware that is suited for outdoor use.  You can hang your draperies from the underside of your pergola or deck.  They need only be one width of fabric (unless you plan to close them, in that case you may need more) and they should have a good solid anchored tie back to keep them from blowing in the wind of summer thunderstorms.  (images)

The sixth element is lighting; candle lighting, solar or electrified lighting.  When the sun goes down, you will still want to use your outdoor spaces so make sure they are properly lit.  There is nothing more ambient than the light produced by candles so, fill your space with hurricanes and lanterns. I love largely scaled lanterns that allow for several pillar candles at once- the more the better.  Over your seating grouping or dining table hang an outdoor rated pendant or chandelier. Adding various lighting types will make your space feel complete. Another clever lighting option is Soji Lanterns and Soji string lights.  They are elegant solar powered lights that provide an ambient glow to your outdoor living area day in and day out. Because they are solar powered, there is no hassle with power cords and cables. Solar cells collect sunlight during the day to power the lantern during the night. 

Now is the time to start this planning before the season is upon us!  Good planning will result in a beautifully executed Outdoor room that you will enjoy for years to come!  If you need help creating the outdoor room of your dreams, feel free to email me at or

“It’s all in the details… Coastal Charm for the Holidays…”


Column: Right At Home

Taking cues from your coastal surroundings and working within a refined palette can
create an elegant holiday theme for your home. As the holidays approach, I use my home’s interior palette of blue, white and gray as my inspiration for our coastal holiday décor. I love homes with design continuity; why should your holiday decorations be an exception?  

My coastal home is on Gibson Island, a small private island that is bordered by the Chesapeake Bay and the Magothy River. My holiday decorating always begins with my dear friend and neighbor, Elizabeth Davis. Elizabeth and I, armed with our pruning sheers and a mug full of hot tea, scour the island for fresh greenery, pinecones and shells.

Typically, we fill the back of the SUV with boxwood, magnolia, cedar, cypress, holly and juniper, from which we will later weave our wreaths and garlands. Once back home, we divide our “winnings” and set up our individual workshops in our respective garages.
Whereas Elizabeth is more traditional in her holiday style, I like to incorporate silver mercury balls, silver-painted shells, starfish and other seaside elements into my wreaths and garlands.  

Our holiday tree is truly a collection of family ornaments and shells. Around the tree drapes a capiz garland that allows light to pass through its translucent shells. There is also a collection of starfish and seashells of every kind hanging from the tree. We place the tree in the center of the room, so that we can appreciate the decorations from every angle and see the tree glitter from the street. We wrap our gifts in similar blue and silver tones to complement all our decorations. Making your own seashell ornaments is easy and can become a family tradition. Drill a small hole at the top of each shell and thread through it a silver ribbon from which to hang your ornament. This is an elegant yet inexpensive way to decorate your tree. If you want to add more sparkle to your shell ornaments, spray them with adhesive spray, then dip them in glitter.

Our home is an open plan, with one room opening onto another; therefore, we add unexpected touches of greenery and decorations throughout the entire house. I love hanging wreaths from beautiful ribbon over windows, mirrors or mantels. I use the same ribbon, shells and silver balls in the garland that adorns my stairwell. Meanwhile, it’s good to remember that a perfectly decorated house should please more than just your eyes. Adding fresh greenery to your home during the holidays makes it smell like Christmas, making your house feel that much more festive as a result.

Another great way to personalize your home for the holidays is with custom stockings. I prefer to make my stockings out of fabrics that complement my home’s palette. This year I chose a stocking in blue velvet, embroidered with white lettering, for our living room. Our family room, which has a more casual feel, has whipstitched burlap stockings hanging from the mantel. If you have a sewing machine and scissors, you can make your own custom stockings, too. 

Lastly, make the exterior of your home a reflection of the interior of your home. Choose greenery, ribbons and other decorations for the outside as you would the inside. Fill
window boxes with greenery, silver-painted pinecones and ribbon. Put wreaths on every door to welcome your holiday guests. There is nothing more festive than seeing a home with great holiday curb appeal! Combining fresh greens, a neutral palette and classic details will make for a holiday décor that is as inviting as it is timeless.

As Coastal Style’s new Design Editor, I wanted to share with you how I decorate my coastal home for the holidays. I look forward to bringing you design tips and advice throughout the year to make your home an elegant refuge for your family and friends

“It’s all in the details…. Balboa Peninsula Point…. Coastal Cottage Charm….”

I just returned from a week in California, I am working on a private residence in Newport Beach.  I stayed at the Balboa Inn on the Balboa Peninsula so I can be near the beach.  I had never explored the Balboa Peninsula before, as it turned out, it is a real visual treat.  On my morning run to the very tip of the island, I ran through a neighborhood with the most amazing coastal cottages.  Everything I saw was just from the curb but it was a feast for the eyes.  After my run, I went back and got my camera and took these photos to share with you.   As you all know, my foremost love is “Elegant Coastal Homes for families” and all of these fit the bill.  I could only see the outsides but I am sure the insides are equally beautiful!

This stunner was equally beautiful street side and beach side.  I just loved the railing detail and the Juliette balcony.  This home is beyond a cottage but still maintains a cottage feel.

Here is how it looks from the beach!  Great house for entertaining!

This dark gray house really caught my attention.  I just love how the white trim pops! 

This house had the most charming curb appeal.  I particularly loved the shell street sign!  I am going to make one of these with my daughters!

The entry to this house, covered in a flowering vine, beckons you to come in! 

I couldn’t help but take a closer look….

Not every house was a cottage.  I loved this Modern beach front marvel!

Last but not least, Grandmother’s cottage (or at least that is what I call it).  It is small, charming and sweet. 

I hope you enjoyed your visual architectural tour of Balboa Peninsula Point!  There are so many more wonderful houses, I don’t have room to share them all.  Make a point of driving out there when you are in the Newport Beach area.

If you love elegant coastal homes or want your in-town home to feel like a getaway, I’d love to help you design it and make your dream a reality!

Until next time….



“It’s all in the details…. Houseboat Chic on the LoneStar!!!!!!!!!!!

First of all, for those of you who haven’t been to Gibson Island, Maryland, a private island where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Magothy River, you are missing out.  First of all, it is beautiful beyond comparison.  Imagine, the beauty of the Hampton’s or Nantucket, but an hour outside of Washington D.C.  Secondly, it is filled with amazing people and fabulous homes.  The island is totally private, no businesses other than the Gibson Island Club which includes, golf, tennis, boating and our post office.

Last summer, I had the most amazing intern, Kate Tracey.  Kate’s family has owned the “Lone Star” Houseboat for two generations (Kate’s mom, Nina’s parent bought the house boat when she was a young girl). The “Lone Star” is moored in the harbor at Gibson Island every summer. It is often the location of fabulous family friendly parties where everyone “jumps off the roof of the house boat!!  Today, I had the great pleasure of taking a tour of the Lone Star with Kate’s mom, Nina Tracey.  Nina and her sister Rebel, now own and operate the Lone Star as their summer residence.  Not only is it full of family history, but it is such a fun, super cool place to call your summer home that I just had to share it with you.  Since my love and specialty is coastal homes, what could be more coastal than a houseboat?

This is how the house boat looks as you approach by tender from the Gibson Island Yacht Squadron.  My captain this morning was the always delightful Denver Sanner, our harbor master.  Below is The GIYS tender “Salty Marks”.

Once on the “Lone Star” house boat, you are instantly put in “relaxed summer mode”  This is one of the outdoor decks.

Inside the “Lone Star” is a real treat.  Very tastefully, nautically done with many family memories.

The “Lone Star” sunk years ago and had to be rebuilt.  The player piano that was on the original “Lone Star” is memorialized with a wall hanging made by family friends’ the Knipp’s, showing two remaining parts from the piano that were salvaged from the depths of the harbor floor.

The state rooms, couldn’t be more inviting, decked out in Lilly Pulitzer and Nautical themes.  I can’t wait for a sleepover invitation!

The dining room is a cool, elegant retreat from the days heat! 

Here is a sign that says it all !

Hail to the Lone Star!  Many thanks to the Tracey’s for inviting me into their home and allowing me to share it with all of you!



P.S. If you are looking to hire an interior designer for a residential interiors project, I’d love to hear from you!  In particular, I love creating elegant coastal homes for families but I also do urban and country homes!  Let me make your dream home a realty!

“It’s all in the details, shopping Hamptons style….”

I just returned from a week out in the Hampton’s with some great friends and family.  As you all know, the Hampton’s is aesthetic overload.  Virtually everything is beautiful and well designed. This is mostly due to the fact that the most influential fashion and interior designers out of New York City have homes there.  I enjoyed a lovely afternoon strolling through South Hampton with my friend and relative, Deborah Pitts.  As an avid lover of Coastal Design and anything to do with the sea, there were so many shops that appealed to me.  I took a few quick pics of my favorites to share.

There is never a doubt in anyone’s mind that Ralph Lauren knows how to do coastal blue and whites the best.  I just love this little cabana vignette outside his home store.

Inside the home store, I was totally smitten by his new collection of blue and white dinnerware.  It was all I could do not to leave with a place setting for 12!  It is blue and white without being precious.  That is what makes Ralph Lauren’s designs so incredible and appealing.

Our next stop is one of Deborah’s favorites… Privet House.  She wanted me to see the beautiful hurricane’s they fill with shells and starfish.  They are done well and are a perfect addition to any coastal home.

The Privet House also had the most amazing coral display I’ve ever seen.  All types of coral including blue coral, one of my favorites! 

Lastly, we stopped in this amazing floral shop.  I am unable to recall the name of the store but the table just inside is an amazing sight.  The selection of orchids and other beautiful floral and fauna was a total feast!

I look forward to another visit the Hampton’s again this September.  It is a place I simply can’t get enough of!

Have a spectacular 4th of July!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“It’s all in the details…”where design rents…” luxury coastal homes to rent, with well designed interiors”

Where do you find luxury rental homes with great interiors?  Who do you go to, to find the top properties that have been carefully selected by designers as homes they would rent themselves?  Look no further, there is an answer to this long dilemma… .  I am very pleased to announce my partnership with a very talented and successful architect in this venture, Lee Foster.

Lee realized many years ago, that renting a house with a well designed interior was a real challenge.  The images on websites were misleading and there was no website dedicated to making it easier to find these types of luxury rental properties.  I understand this dilemma well, I have traveled far and wide with my husband’s family for their annual family vacation. Most years, my husband and I would fly to the destination before finalizing the rental. We would walk through the homes to make sure they met our criteria and were as described.  In many cases they did not. If we would have had 30 people arrive at these houses after many hours of traveling half way across the world, there would have been problems.

Vacation House, reviews each and every listing in person by an architect or interior designer before allowing the home to be listed on their site. The site is by invitation only to property managers and owners.  The site puts you in touch with the property manager or owner and you arrange the rental directly with them.  If the house doesn’t meet the criteria to be on our site or isn’t on our site but is interested in being listed, we will offer the owner or property manager, a “design assesment” that would improve the property to our design standards.  We also offer, Interior Design Services to renovate a vacation property that they would like to have meet our design standards or if someone is building a vacation property and wants to work with a designer that specializes in high-end vacation homes, look no further, we are the authority.

A large part of my business has been doing homes in coastal areas.  Since I have a growing family, I have become acutely aware of the need to design homes that are elegant but that withstand the rigors of family life.  That is why Erin Paige Pitts Interiors  is uniquely suited to provide interior design services for these types of properties.  If a homeowner wants an elegant interior that will look good for years to come, I have an arsenal of products and design ideas to make this a reality.

Here is a vacation home I recently completed for a client.

In vacation properties, the outdoors spaces are as important and the interior spaces.

What if one of your requirement for the luxury rental is being able to entertain?  Knowing that the property offers spaces and the accoutrements to entertain family or business associates is key.

Here are some example of of homes listed on VacationHouseReview.

This house is in Palm Springs California.  It is our “Modern Desert Estate“.

We also offer international properties… here is one from Avignon, France “Mas La Barque”

Lastly, here is one on Kiawah Island “309 Sand Fiddler Court”

We’d love your comments and feedback on this new venture! If you are an agent, property manager or property owner and would like to find more about our site or design services.  Please feel free to contact us!   or

“It’s all in the details… article for Design Commotion magazine titled “what the joys are…”


A second home; a clean slate. A place you don’t have to bring your grandmother’s china or your aunt Sara’s mirror. A place your mind has been going to for years…a place right out of your fondest dreams.

To different people, vacation means different things. To some, it is a day chock full of activities: golfing and fishing, perhaps, or hiking and skiing. To others, it is a restful place where they can

decompress, relax, and unwind. Some prefer large homes that allow space for family and friends, while others dream of spaces small, personal and quaint. As an interior designer who has created many second homes, I find that asking questions to draw from my clients the elements they truly want in their second homes is “key.” I then take what I refer to as “the download,” or the information I’ve gathered, and use it to interpret a design concept to best represent each client’s dream. Even though the spaces in the second homes I design may vary stylistically and architecturally, I often find several reoccurring themes. First, clients do not want to sacrifice beauty and luxury for durability but they absolutely want the house to be durable, cleanable and be able to withstand the rigors of guests. I have been able to create beautiful interiors using highly cleanable fabrics such as Sunbrella. I’ve been able to nudge even particularly doubtful clients from disbelief when they see what can be achieved with highly durable fabrics.

For one particular client, who couldn’t seem to comprehend this, I created two presentation boards. The first board was composed of high-end designer fabrics. The second board was a “knock-off” version of the first, which contained only highly cleanable and some outdoor-worthy fabrics. The client couldn’t tell the difference between many of these when she saw the boards, and the possibilities for achieving a sophisticated look with durable fabrics have continued to increase since then thanks to many fabric companies investing in necessary technology. Some of my favorites are Perennials Fabrics, Sina Pearson, DeLaney and Long, and Ralph Lauren.


Sina Pearson

Delaney & Long

Ralph Lauren

As for furniture, the options are just as vast. Many companies have expanded their lines to include wicker and rattan furnishings that fit as seamlessly inside as they do outside. One of my favorite rooms to design on any given project is the veranda because it is the perfect outdoor living room. Any loggia, in fact, offers the opportunity to use comfortable lounge seating with lively colored fabrics, cabana style drapery panels and candelabra-style lighting—all enhancing the space’s connection to the surrounding outdoors. I love incorporating large glazed planters overflowing with flowers to further connect the landscape with the interiors. 

Lastly, not everyone is able to completely leave the office behind when on vacation so incorporating a home office area, either as part of an existing space such as the kitchen or bedroom, or as a dedicated room is easily achieved. Making the space be equally enjoyable design-wise and having it feel like the rest of the house is important. Outfitting that space with all of the office amenities—computer, fax and scanner, for instance—will decrease stress when some at-home work has to be accomplished. Having a private space where you can concentrate will allow you to jump back into the fun as soon as the work is done. If there is access to a water or mountain view, even better!

When planning your second home, be sure to put a great deal of thought into how you intend to use each space and plan accordingly. If you’re not ready to go it alone, a seasoned interior designer can give you some great direction, which will take the stress out of making your dream home especially dreamy. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Erin, here with her husband Gregory, 6-year -old daughter Scarlet, 4-year-old son Jackson, and 2-year-old daughter Hutton, is a Maryland-based designer. The family’s vacation home is being featured in the June/July issue of Traditional Home Magazine (turn to page 119 for the story titled “All Blue and White Delight.”

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