Vacation Home Trends Around the World

In Manitoba, we love our summer vacation homes. Every Friday, weekend warriors take to the highways in droves, enroute to their retreat spaces. With our short summer season, we cherish our cottages, cabins, yurts, trailers and tents.  

In last month’s blog, I unpacked various types of outdoor summer spaces that Manitoban’s own and enjoy. This month, I thought it would be fun to explore how the rest of the world lives and share some trends in vacation homes from around the world. 

During the pandemic, there was a common global theme with vacation homes – they transitioned from part-time to full-time vacation home-living. Many dual-home owners left their primary residence in the city for more remote, isolated locations. The vacation home is no longer a luxurious retreat, rather it has became a more permanent dwelling. As such, homeowners are looking to upgrade their existing fixtures and element with higher quality materials, so their space feels more like their primary residence. So, what are some vacation home trends around the world?

Here’s what I found…

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Summer Living: The Stages and Spaces

When you live in a place where winter consumes half of the year, Summer is a sacred time! Those longer days and nights of June, July & August should be spent with family and friends enjoying the outdoors (or at least enjoying indoor spaces that connect to the outdoors). Depending on your stage of life or your passion for comfort vs. roughing it, summer living has its own unique flavour.

I thought it would be fun to look at various options for summer living spaces from basic to luxurious through the lens of my personal and professional experiences. 

The Basics 

If you’re new to outdoor living and you’re not sure what you’ll enjoy, it’s always good to start with the basics. 

Tenting or Tent Trailering: If you’re venturing out from your own back yard, but want to keep it simple and low cost, then tenting or tent trailering are both great options. Some of the beautiful aspects of camping include: 

  • Saving money. A basic site in a Manitoba campground is under $25/night. 
  • Low carbon footprint.   
  • Moving around. With the portability of a tent or tent trailer, it’s easy to explore a new spot every weekend. 
  • Simplify. Living with only the basics can be truly freeing. 

Tracy’s tent trailer

Simple Backyard: If you’re not a fan of living in the wilderness and prefer your own bed at night, then simple upgrades to your back yard might be the perfect solution. Here’s one place to start: 

  • Build or buy a firepit. Sitting around the fire with family and friends enjoying conversation and some marshmallows is a great way to enjoy a summer evening (or a winter evening…firepit season can happen any time of year.) 

Design credit: B.Rocke Landscaping

Moving On Up 

Once you’ve decided you that you’re enjoying this summer outdoor living, it may be time to upgrade from the basics. So where do you go from here? 

Trabin: Is that a typo? No, it’s a term coined by our Office Administrator, Lynda. (And possibly by others, but Lynda introduced it to me.)  Here is our ‘official’ definition: 

A trailer parked on a permanent site for people who like the idea of a cabin but don’t want the upkeep of a second house and still want to feel like they’re camping (or glamping). 

My family upgraded from our tent trailer to a trabin last summer. The benefits of a trabin include: 

  • Having your summer space set up and ready for you each weekend rather than having to pack it and pull it… yet it still feels like camping. 
  • Not having to spend hours trying to reserve a camping spot on Manitoba’s fantastic reservation system (there is sarcasm in my voice… you campers out there know what I mean.) 
  • A much lower purchase price than buying a cabin, and minimal maintenance. 

Tracy’s Trabin

Upgraded Back Yard: For you homebodies, there’s more you can add to your back yard space. Here’s how you take your yard to the next level: 

  • Incorporate an intimate sitting area with comfy furniture and colourful cushions. 
  • Design pathways with various soft and hard landscaping to creates ‘zones’. 

Design Credit: B.Rocke Landscaping

Going All Out 

Now you’re all in, so go all out! There are no limits on your summer space. Let’s look at the fancy options. 

Cabin, Cottage, Summer Home: Whatever term you chose, owning a summer dwelling is a dream for many. Cabins and Cottages can be simple and rustic, but they can also be luxurious. Here are a few features that our clients can’t live without: 

  • A large kitchen with a large island. Summer homes are the hub for entertaining, so you need a space to feed the masses. 
  • Lots of beds. The masses like to stay the night also, so extra bedrooms, bunkrooms and flexible living spaces with pull out beds are a must. 
  • A view to the water. If your cottage is on the lake, you will want to see your water feature from all the key vantage points. Many cottage owners opt for sprawling decks directly off their cottage plus additional decks by the water and on top of their boathouses. 

Delta Beach Cottage

Backyard Extravaganza: If owning a second home isn’t your dream, you can bring all the design elements to your backyard. In addition to the features mentioned above, here’s how you take your backyard to the next level: 

  • Water features: pools, hot tubs, fountains, waterfalls. Water features look beautiful, sound beautiful, moderate the hot temperatures, and elevate your space. 
  • Add lighting, either strung from above or integrated into a patio or walkway. 
  • Architectural features such as pergolas, privacy fences and gazebos.  Architecture in coordination with landscape transforms a yard into an oasis. 

Design Credit: B.Rocke Landscaping

No matter what stage of life you’re in, or the type of outdoor space you prefer, enjoy the next few months and have a wonderful Summer! 

inclusivity in Office Design

Inclusivity in Office Design

On Earth Day, I attended a virtual sustainability conference, hosted by Material Bank and instructed by Mary Kate Cassidy from HOK.   During this educational seminar, Mary Kate discussed designing spaces for Inclusivity and supporting Neurodiversity in the workplace. “Neurodiversity” refers to people that are not neurotypical and includes people with diagnosed disorders such as ADHD, […]

Supply Chain Issues in Design & Construction: The Frustrations and The Beauty

construction supply chain issues

The ‘S’ word of the pandemic isn’t Snow (though we in Manitoba may think so) – rather, it stands for Supply as in the Supply Chain. The supply chain is the sequence of processes involved from the production of a product or commodity to its distribution to the end-user.

Since mid-2020, we’ve experienced the effects of the supply chain disruption, including many products, which may have been readily available to us in the past, now in short supply and the cost of these products increasing significantly.

If you’ve had the privilege of living your entire life in an abundant country, like Canada, you may be accustomed to getting the things you want when you want them. The store shelves are always full and companies like Amazon have done a fantastic job of teaching us (almost) instant gratification. It’s no wonder that waiting makes us frustrated, but we’ve entered a new reality including when it comes to renovating, building, and furnishing our spaces. Some of the supplies that have either been back-ordered or have seen prices skyrocket include:

  • Lumber and metal for framing
  • MDF for cabinetry
  • Windows and doors
  • Breakers for your electrical panel
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Paint (yes, there is a shortage of certain pigments & bases of paint, so even wall colours have limitations!)

it's late tshirt

And don’t get us started on furniture! The sofa that used to take 4-6 weeks from order date to sitting in your living room is now 18-20 weeks along with the increased costs, mostly shipping. We were recently quoted $1,700 to ship a $4,500 order of accent tables and the client, rightfully so, said ‘“no way”, so we went back to the drawing board. 

One of the biggest challenges of this new reality is we can’t predict the price increases or the shipping delays, as they are constantly in flux. We’re actually considering getting a new S3 team uniform that says, “I’m sorry it’s delayed… AGAIN!” 

So…where’s the upside in all of this? Because I promise you, it exists and we’ve seen it first hand.

Support. Local. Makers! 

With exorbitant shipping rates, we’ve become more attuned to what’s available in our own city and province. The pricing of a custom piece made locally is suddenly comparable in price to a generic, lesser quality piece purchased overseas. For example, S3 has used a custom upholstery shop in Winnipeg for years. On occasion, we’d have a client who required a custom piece of furniture and the results were always spectacular, but for some reason, the custom route was more often our back-up plan, not our go-to option. 

In the last year, we’ve recommended more clients to buying custom, locally-made furniture than ever before, and it’s a win-win for everyone! They get furniture that is completely customized and of extremely high quality, from a supplier who will service their pieces for years to come. It’s a beautiful thing, and it just makes sense.  

With all of the shortages, delays, and inflated costs on products, right now may not be the best time to build your project, but it’s certainly a great time to design it. The supply chain can’t stop great ideas and it shouldn’t delay you from getting your project on paper. A well-constructed & detailed plan takes time, so while our clients are waiting for contractors to become available and the supply chain to normalize, we’re able to focus our attention on a comprehensive plan to allow the construction to move forward when the time is right. You can’t take us down, Supply Chain!

We know that waiting can be frustrating, especially when you’ve been dreaming of your new space for months or even years, but don’t lose hope…it will happen! The timing and cost may look different than you anticipated, so taking the extra time to plan works out better for you in the long run.

We’ll make it through this and learn from it. If we exit this pandemic with any lessons, my hope is that patience and grace are two of the big ones to carry us forward.

Your Definitive Guide to Running a Renovation Project

Over the last two years, we’ve noticed an increase in residential home renovations. We’ve been home more often than ever, so we’ve had time to dream about our homes’ possibilities and become keenly aware of the things that desperately require change. Read more