Are you designing a vacation home, or dream of planning a beautiful outdoor living space to enjoy tropical weather year-round?

Not everyone shares the same needs and desires when designing their vacation home. Design teams need to begin with a discussion with their clients to learn how they envision using the space.

“We always start with asking lots of questions, and listening carefully so we can personalize every space for the homeowners. It’s the first step in bringing the daydream into life. Is the intention a private space for a family with a lot of commitments? Or will the plan be to maximize the ROI from vacation rentals, and hosting special events and weddings. Every space has different needs,” says Tiffany Cassidy, Lagnappe Custom Interiors.

Outdoor pool area with ample shade will keep tile flooring cool
An outdoor living area with ample shade will keep tile flooring cool

The process can be easy and enjoyable when the proper steps are taken to asses your wishes.

“Our team chats with clients to help them make selections that are appropriate for the space, the use, the climate and budget,” says Tiffany.

Before you can begin selecting the furniture and other accessories to design your dream outdoor living area, review the following considerations.

Here are some conversation starters from Lagnappe Custom Interiors’ typical client meetings:

1. How many people will your home sleep? This is the first question asked in the initial planning stages. Larger families need more outdoor space. Lounging areas and dining tables are selected based on how many seats you need at the table, or how many loungers around the pool.

2. Do you plan to host parties or entertain? Some clients like to host parties when down on vacation. Others wish to rent their homes on VRBO (link to https://www.vrbo.com/) as a party destination for weddings, reunions or gatherings.

“We like to design a good bit of flexibility into these spaces to accommodate groups of varying sizes. Adding bar ledges with stools is a clever way to provide additional multi-functional seating at parties. Modular furniture is a great choice, as it can be moved around the create little lounging vignettes here and there when it’s just the family at home. For large functions, they can be combined to form one, big seating area,” says Tiffany.

3. What is your optimal balance for sun verses shade? For visitors who are not from the islands and used to the strong sun, ample shade is crucial to the layout of the outdoor area. Of course, clients want to include areas for sun bathing, so your design team can determine the best spots for sun.

Covered Patio with dining area
A covered patio keeps loved ones and furnishings protected from harsh UV rays.

“The intense sun in the Caribbean is not only hard on your skin, but also hard on outdoor furniture. Fabrics and materials which are left outdoors need to be selected based on what lasts in the this climate. We default to a few select lines of outdoor furniture which will withstand the UV rays, salt, and chlorine,” says Tiffany.

For shade structures and umbrellas, Tuuci has products which can transform a sunny spot into a shady oasis. Umbrellas can be added into swimming pools to provide shade for kids who play in the water all day.

You can also consider a permanent structure to provide coverage from both the sun and showers. A covered bar area is perfect for additional seating in the shade, plus a convince to serve cold drinks.

4. Will you be cooking or catering outdoors? Outdoor bars and kitchenettes are popular in the islands, as clients like to maximize their time outside. Dining ‘al fresco’ with a traditional patio table and chairs is simply not enough. Asking the question, “how much does our family like to cook, and do we plan to serve outside” is essential.

Options are available to build custom full-service bars and kitchens, to prepare and serve drinks and meals. These spaces can include features such as grills, stone pizza ovens, refrigerators, cabinets and lots of counter space.

“We like to add beverage coolers and ice makers to outdoor spaces every chance we get. In our view, there can never be too many cold drinks in the Caribbean,” says Tiffany.

5. How much maintenance are you prepared to do? Will you love teak and oil it? Will you wash cushion covers? You need to consider the color and material choice of tiles. Non-slip flooring, especially around the pools, prevents liability issues with vacation rentals. Light colors are necessary in Caribbean homes, as they heat up quickly in the hot sun. However, you need to be prepared to clean them.

Glass table tops are easy to clean with Windex, but many clients like the look of classic teak. Choosing teak is great, if you’re prepared to power-wash, oil, and retouch the paint…or love the weathered grey color teak becomes as it ages.

Consider the fabrics you choose for your outdoor furniture and cushions. Lagnappe loves the Brown Jordan Elements Collection. It contains functional and stylish options, designed to withstand Caribbean climates, and are easier to keep clean.

Poolside wicker lounge with fabric hood awning at sunset
Outdoor furnishings covered with fabric need protection, we love all-in-one solutions for this.

“You’ll need to be mindful of seating options available when people come in from the beach. We have lots of choices for colorful fabrics which are resistant to salt-water- a spot to sit in your wet bathing suit!” says Tiffany.

Caribbean vacation homes need to be designed for both functionality and enjoyment, custom to the clients’ needs. Lagnappe Custom Interiors begins with a conversation with their clients, followed by an efficient process to make the design process simple and fun.

 

 


About Lagnappe Custom Interiors

Lagnappe Custom Interiors is a full-service interior design firm specializing in bringing the small niceties to a home or commercial space that make it memorable, functional and yours. Based out of St. Thomas, Lagnappe [LAN-YAP] is led by Tiffany Cassidy who enjoys working with clients to create a home that reflects their style and needs. Tiffany marries her artistic and scientific sides together to bring the residents of the Virgin Islands and continental U.S. an interior decorating service that manages the complex and turns it into beauty. Her goal is to not only make a home prettier, but in doing so, make your life better. Visit www.Lagnappe.com for more information.