There has been a dramatic increase in the second home market in recent years. Someone designing a second home should consider several aspects of the home that make it different than a person’s primary residence. In previous editions I have discussed details regarding practical design of a versatile second home. Following are additional concepts we feel should be considered in the design of any retreat home:
1. Expandable Dining Area. The dining area should have the ability to seat large groups. This can be achieved in a variety of ways. For example, a single dining area that is adjacent to or part of a great room allows for expansion of the table. A breakfast bar provides for additional seating, in addition to creating a good buffet serving counter.
2. Flexible Bedrooms. Consider sizing the bedrooms such that they fit two beds instead of just one. This will provide more flexibility for differing sleeping arrangements. We have included a large kids’ bunkroom with six to eight beds in some designs. This is a fun space for kids and gives the adults more privacy.
3. Numerous Bathrooms. The more the better. One per room is ideal. Separating the vanity from the wet area allows multiple users. Since everyone will potentially shower at the same time, be sure to have enough hot water capacity. We encourage our clients to double the standard hot water heater size. Provide a bath with direct outdoor access to reduce traffic through the house.
4. Spacious Storage. Large closets in each bedroom are not really critical; nobody is bringing their entire wardrobe for a weekend stay. However, a large linen storage closet is important. Also, provide a storage area with outdoor access for recreational gear.
In later editions I will discuss outdoor living features as well as materials and finishes that will minimize upkeep; an issue that is so important for a second home.