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How will you spend your summer vacation? Some of us will be off to exotic adventures, returning home with a slew of passport stamps. Others will be happily stay-cationing. And yet others, including many of my clients, will be combining the two experiences – getting away AND staying home – in exquisite vacation homes beautifully designed by Lisa Sherry Interieurs

Interior design is all about relationships, so it’s the ultimate compliment when a client comes to me with a chance to design a second (or even third) home. These new projects are generally destination properties – think beach, lake, mountains, marsh – second home getaways, the perfect vacation pindrops. 

At home or away, my philosophy for life and design is "live beautiful." With that in mind, I'd like to share a short list of five specific tips on how to design a fabulous second home or vacation home. Are you ready to board? The adventure begins in my latest blog!


While the geographic location and natural environment surrounding the vacation home are always considered in the design process, I have a strong aversion to homes that scream “beach house” or “mountain retreat” overtly. I reject cliches and stereotypes at every turn.

Most Lisa Sherry Interieurs beach houses, like the Bald Head Island getway above, are bathed in a neutral palette. Three are hundreds of shades of white; Just ask Benjamin Moore. I’m very particular about hue, temperature and tone. Color is so personal. I partner with Mother Nature and the homeowners to select the right palette!

Similarly, while I might specify an awning-stripe hammock for an outdoor living area, interior textiles are understated, but highly textural. I favor wood furniture in reclaimed wood paired with more modern and refined finishes. In my world, it’s all about the mix, and that mix ought to have an element of surprise.


Let’s not put old furniture and accessories out to pasture in second homes and vacation getaways. No one likes hand-me-downs, not even homes! I’ve designed many multiple residences for clients. I approach each as an exciting fresh slate, spaces with unique challenges and opportunities, ready for the imprint of the homeowners’ personalities and passions. 

I’m a good listener. Every design project begins with a full understanding of how my client wants to live in the space. My team and I make floor plan recommendations and curate a unique assortment of furniture and accessories, piece by piece. 

For example, in the Wrightsville Beach second home above, we took down walls to create an open and expansive primary living area. Look closely and you will see vintage pieces, all carefully sourced finds expressly for this home, as well as beautiful new furniture selectins. It’s all about intent, not forcing old furniture into a new space.


Frankly, some decorating decisions are easy. When you’re designing a vacation home on Bald Head Island with expansive ocean views like the one above, your sight lines are naturally outward bound. Aren't we all drawn to the sea?

The ocean calls from every corner of this house, most especially the open-floor plan primary living area. The living room, dining room and kitchen all open seamlessly to the spacious decks and the ocean beyond. 

Inside is the new outside. Or is it the other way around?? So often daily life is all about making distinctions, putting up walls, defining “this” as opposed to “that” – like outside and inside. My favorite homes – vacation and primary homes – are always in step with nature. It’s a beautiful blur.


Frankly, I’ve not yet designed a second-home pied-a-terre for two. I welcome that call for a project in Paris sometime soon! Most Lisa Sherry Interieurs vacation homes are spacious, designed for entertaining, and guests who come to stay. 

The Kiawah Island vacation home (above) offers broad, sweeping marsh views and an open, ebb-and-flow floor plan. It also has five bedrooms, easily accommodating the homeowners three (nearly) adult children, friends and extended family. Each of the en-suite bedrooms is a world of its own. After a day of group activity – swimming, sunning, surfing, golfing, and cooking – personal downtime is important. It’s the essence of slow living, a more intentional and mindful response to the harried pace of everyday life. In this second home, private suites are a getaway inside a getaway.

The Kiawah Island home also accommodates surprise overnight guests, no reservations required. Each of the bedrooms includes a daybed or sofa sleeper. There’s always room at the inn. The homeowners children can plan impromptu sleepovers any time.


Of course, rule-breaking is baked into my decorating DNA. Thinking outside the box is especially important in the design of second homes and vacation homes. Take the mountain retreat (above) renovation project as an example. 

This High Country vacation home is an amazing before-and-after story. To bring the vacation home to its present beautiful state, my team and I upended the “mountain home” paradigm. While we didn’t knock down walls, we did, whitewash the  log-cabin beams, modernize the kitchen and renovated every bath to create a “lodge look” for today. 

When I look at a potential design project, I see what CAN be, not what IS. The rule book is thrown to the wind!


Right now, my own personal summer of love is taking shape. It’s a mix of work, play, and travel.

It’s an exciting time at Lisa Sherry Interieurs with so many great projects on the go – some second homes, many primary residences and commercial spaces, too. I feel exceptionally creative, engaged and inspired right now. My LSI team is exceptional. Our studio energy is palpable; I thrive on it. That said, I will make time to unplug, pause and savor. 

Remember, “creation” is the most important component of “recreation.” We all need to nurture our gifts and relationships. At home or away, enjoy your summer of love, as I will!


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