The Design Trends Shaping Vacation Homes Postpandemic

Vacation homes took on new meaning during the pandemic. For some people, “weekend” houses became primary residences; others, previously thinking they had bid the big city farewell for good, realized that maybe they weren’t quite ready for the slow pace of small-town life year-round. For the latter set, the country home planned as a primary residence was eventually designated as a vacation retreat.

With those changing dynamics has also come a shift in design priorities for vacation homes. We chatted to five design pros about what they’re seeing in their most recent vacation home projects.

The alcove office in a Paris apartment designed by AD100 talent Pierre Yovanovitch.

Photo: Francois Halard

Future tripping

Now that we’ve had a couple of years to reflect on our pandemic choices, we’re prepping for the future armed with those lessons.

“During the pandemic, many people relocated to their vacation homes as a way to stay safe and healthy,” says designer Kelly Finley of Joy Street Design. “And while the original design intent may have excluded things you didn’t need because it was just a weekend house, that rendered the homes underprepared during that time. Now, I’m hearing clients wanting to include the contingency that they will be living in these homes for extended periods of time.”

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That means a different choice of materials—more marble and stone, for example, instead of the porcelain and quartz the team typically used in second homes—as well as more robust, tricked-out kitchens.

“Cooking is a big part of most vacation homes,” says designer Sarah Zames of General Assembly. “People like to host and also just enjoy spending time cooking together. We often include multiple kitchen spaces—the main kitchen, a kitchenette, and an outdoor kitchen.”

Designer Tom Stringer, of Tom Stringer Design Partners, adds that vacation homes also now need to support ad hoc remote work. “We’re noticing that every vacation home now has a dedicated office, even if they are what we’re calling ‘pocket offices’—a tiny space where you can pop in, have a working surface, and do a video call while on vacation.”