I LOVE to travel! And, I especially love to travel when it's for pleasure. Your mind disconnects from the grit and grime of daily life, work, responsibilities, schedules... You know that feeling!
When my husband and I were looking for our first house, we both had high pressure and high responsibility jobs. I was a preschool director and my husband was an associate corporate lawyer. Stress was something that you accepted as part of the price of the paycheck. So, I knew that for us to be our best Monday through Friday, we needed a place that restored our minds, bodies and spirits.
We were just married, and just starting out in our careers, so our dreams were bigger than our bank account. But, I was determined! I finally found a new build development of single story villas, some lots which were on a small lake that overlooked a bird sanctuary. There were only two lots left, and when my husband saw it, and saw how the model had triple sliding glass doors that looked out over the view from both the living room and owner's suite, we agreed it was perfect.
We were so busy those first few years in our home, only able to get away once per year, if we were lucky. So I decided that if we couldn't get away, we could feel like we did, and I began to create a home that was designed to bring the best of feeling like we were at a lakeside resort.
Over time, friends who came to visit felt that "vacay vibe" too and wanted me to help them, and through that process I learned a lot about what makes a home feel like you are on vacation every day. Here are five of my top ways to get that done!
Art Work: We were lucky to have a view, but we later moved to other homes where we were not so lucky. Art work is the very best and easiest way to get that vacation feel. But, the mistake I often see is that the artwork my clients have tends to be underscale for the size rooms they are in, so that they don't create the focal point that they should be creating. The art work you choose should be a large scale, big enough to set the tone for the room. The subject, medium and expense doesn't matter, because that is personal and up to you. Is your favorite vacation spot somewhere in the mountains? Then choose a substantial piece that gives you that woodsy vibe. Maybe it is the hills of Italy? Don't go small- make it feel like you can simply step out onto that imaginary veranda and breathe the fresh air!
Beds: We have all had that experience of either having an amazing night's sleep on vacation or tossing and turning on a bed that belongs in a torcher chamber! A comfortable bed can be a big ticket investment but is worth it's value because you will look forward to a good night's sleep and your body will thank you. Look for beds that are made with organic and natural materials, that are well constructed, and if you can, personally test the bed, or at least get one you can return if it isn't right.
And don't forget your pillows and blankets! Pillows loose their loft after several years, causing you to have to use a less than comfortable sleep position. Having a couple of options for blankets in organic cotton with different densities can keep you cozy during different seasons and temperatures. And whenever possible, choose non-allergenic materials or down-alternatives. Your sinuses and the geese will thank you!
Linens and Towels: The best resorts have the best linens and towels! These high quality goods are usually pretty pricey, but well worth it when it comes to softness and luxury. Real linen sheets are the ultimate in luxury- they get softer over time and although they can be expensive, will most likely outlast any cotton sheets you have. If you can't afford linen, opt for high thread count cotton sheets that are soft to the touch. For a real vacation look, stick to white sheets, and add color to your bed by adding pillows that have removable covers that you can rotate seasonally to get a fresh look in your bedroom decor.
Towels can get dingy and stiff after a few years, so either opt to get towels that hold up longer, or replace them every few years. Go with fair trade organic cotton when possible. Donate your old towels to animal shelters who use them in a variety of useful ways. And having a fluffy white robe on hand is always the epitome of feeling like you are at a high end resort when you get out of the shower!
Aromatherapy: One of my favorite aromatherapy scents is cedar and pine. I love that when it fills my house, I imagine I am hiking through a winter forest (I am a Capricorn afterall). I also love the scent of candles that smell like a cozy fireplace. And in the summer, scents that hint at coconut and neroli make me dream of my favorite Florida beaches. Experiment with soy candles or real plant extract aromatherapy oils in room diffusers. Our sense of smell is the strongest at connecting us to our memories, so take advantage of that and bring the scent that reminds you of your favorite place to your home.
Simplicity: This is the one that is the cheapest fix, but can be the most difficult. One of the things I think most people realize while on vacation is how they don't really need "all that stuff". Go through your closets, get rid of things that, as Marie Kondo so wisely says, don't "spark joy". Hire a professional organizer to help you think it through if you struggle in this area. For example, take down all the scraps of paper stuck to the fridge, donate all the mismatched dishes from college, random coffee cups, cheap plastic bowls, forgotten cooking tools and machines you don't use. Keep only what is beautiful and makes you smile. Pare down. Simplify. Life will be easier, lighter, your cabinets and closets will breathe, and so will you!
Creating a home that is designed for rest and relaxation is one of the best gift you can give yourself and your family. Once you have done these steps and you feel like you are ready for more ways to make your home a special daily retreat, please give me a call- I'd love to help you get that vacay-vibe in your home!