Escape Winter’s Chill With H&H’s Best Vacation Homes
There may be snow outside but that doesn’t mean our daydreams can’t be clear-skied and sunny. We have just the spaces to fill your fantasies, from a playful Palm Springs getaway to a nature-inspired Mexican retreat. So grab your favorite oceanside drink and click through for the best vacation homes from the House & Home archives. Images of lush landscapes, beachside views and azure pools will make you want to jump through your screen!
Upon first glance, Vancouver artist Patricia Larsen’s Mexico home looks like an extension of the hill it’s built on. “I wanted it to look like it was part of the earth,” she says of its organic exterior.
This artistic, yet rustic, dining space is fitted with a simple farmhouse table and a barely-there cowhide rug. A dual-sided brick fireplace adds texture while separating the living and dining rooms.
Patricia’s collection of Mexican pottery and natural artifacts is housed on the living room’s open shelves, which act as both storage and display.
Dark wood walls and light bedding create poetic intimacy in the bedroom. A vintage rug warms rough concrete floors underneath while a lantern draped with jewelry and branches adds sculpture.
Raw walls stained with mud, graphite and plaster add dramatic contrast to the outdoor studio-sitting room. Natural materials keep the space feeling bright and airy.
Vancouver designer Alda Pereira took a turn from the usual mid-century modern homes found in Palm Springs and designed this vacation spot with natural textures and soft corners that play with the changing desert light.
Inside, guests are greeted with an airy entryway that sets the tone for the rest of the house.
Nothing in this home is precious, says Alda. Four concrete tables pushed together, a sisal rug and low-slung sectional add to the room’s casual feel while still emanating a cool and sophisticated California vibe.
Sliding glass doors overlooking the back terrace bring homeowners Debbie and Marco Paolella’s dream of a light and bright desert getaway to life.
Fitted with a bed and side tables from Ralph Lauren’s Desert Modern collection, the principal bedroom stays true to the home’s rustic desert feel.
The style is kept simple at actor David Cubitt’s Mexican vacation home, Casa Arabella. Designer Patricia Larsen decorated the home, which overlooks San Miguel de Allende, with relaxation in mind, incorporating repurposed materials and nature-inspired palettes.
In the main living space, iron-framed windows and doors were left in original condition to take advantage of the area’s natural light. According to homeowner Julia Molnar, evening light casts a beautiful gold glow across the room, which leaves out the need for any extra fixtures.
Creamy whites blanket the living room, with a large sofa that fits the homeowners’ six kids and two dogs. The neutral palette radiates serenity.
Cantera stone floors in the kitchen are complemented by floating concrete shelves. To create an airier space, Patricia removed a bulky island and replaced it with an old table and locally-sourced copper light fixture.
In the dining room, a table and wide bench are made of local repurposed doors. To add to the home’s nature-inspired vibe, a bird’s nest chandelier — made by Patricia — acts as a statement piece.
For Colette van den Thillart, designing her Barbados vacation home meant making it her own — with inspiration from English designer Oliver Messel. A coral-pink and tobacco-brown palette add whimsical flair to the space while local touches like the “gingerbreading” technique add Messel charm.
A coral slipcover adds brightness to this playful living room. Shades of pink, dramatic lamp shades and a large coffee table combine for a relaxed yet whimsical feel.
Green striped slipcovers in the dining room complement the lush greenery beyond. Traditional gingerbreading, found on all the island homes, adds to the space’s character.
A Messel-inspired trellis sits outside the open bathroom window for added privacy and maximum light. Seashell motifs can be found throughout the house.
Pops of Kelly green in the outdoor living room extend to lush plants outside. Large open windows offer an indoor and outdoor feel.
In this Florida retreat, a unique floor plan takes advantage of the indoor-outdoor lifestyle that comes with the Sunshine State. With living areas on the top floor and bedrooms on the main, homeowners Kim and Skip Franco can enjoy lush views and warm temperatures from the comfort of their own bed.
A pale blue ceiling in the entryway reflects the crystal tones of the pool, creating an enchanting feel in this sophisticated space. A vintage cowhide stool and layered spindle table add stylish flair.
Upstairs, an open-concept kitchen takes a modern turn with black countertops and sleek white cabinetry. Sloped ceilings and an ivory-grey color scheme keep the space bright and airy.
In the sun-drenched dining room, mismatched chairs lend a laid-back feel. A black and white mid-century modern chandelier provides definition against the crisp white envelope.
Equipped with a Pinterest board of inspiration, Kim and Skip’s daughter knew exactly what she wanted in her bedroom. Taking center stage is a hand-embossed brass bed that brings glamor and youthful style to this airy space.
For Canadian media executives Ivan Fecan and Sandra Faire, this spacious California villa is an escape from cold winters. The terrace acts as an extension of the interior living space. An open aluminum railing maximizes the lush views and a bright turquoise pool adds a splash of color.
In the open-concept living space, an angled studio window provides ultimate views of lush greenery and mountains. To emphasize comfort and divide the living space from the dining room, deep lounge chairs are set around a tufted ottoman.
The dining room uses artistic inspiration to its advantage. Designer Bruce Gregga based the chairs off an Italian Art Deco-era style, while a 12-panel Coromandel screen along the far wall acts as an eye-catching piece that adds depth and pattern.
A blue-hued guest suite offers breathtaking ocean vistas from its private balcony.
Throughout the home, statement rugs add color and pattern — this goes for the bathroom, too. In this space, a serene, water-toned rug adds warmth and dimension to the earthy palette.
For Canadian homeowners Sarah and Murray Bancroft, a vacation home in Palm Springs means getting to enjoy the mid-century modern architecture the area is known for.
In the kitchen, light grey Caesarstone counters complement concrete flooring and white cabinetry. Bits of color are brought in here and there with accessories.
A casual, low-slung Ikea sofa and blue beanbag chair add to the laid-back vibe in the living room, where Sarah and Murray enjoy game nights with their daughters or evenings with friends.
Big bunk beds and a bright palette attract adults and children alike in this bedroom oasis. A CBC painting on the wall nods to the family’s Canadian roots.
The principal bedroom is striking yet calm with a teal alligator-print wallpaper that plays on the home’s cool blue and green accents. Free of dressers and armoires, a wall of closets maintains a minimalist feel.
Montreal duo Maxime Vandal and Richard Oullette of Les Ensembliers turned this palatial home into a cozy, sophisticated vacation space for its Canadian owners. Symmetrical furniture placement gives the pavilion a formal living room feel while rugs and neutral fabrics add texture against the lush landscaping.
The grand living space was divided into five sections for added structure. A bold, graphic carpet nods to traditional Palm Beach style, while still complementing the room’s earthy tones.
Blue and white motifs add a classic touch to this quaint breakfast nook.
Soft light fixtures and elegant objects bring Eastern flair to this serene principal ensuite.
Like many other rooms in this vacation home, the principal ensuite opens onto a colorful patio to maximize outdoor living.