Vacation homes shouldn't be a pain—they should be low-maintenance places for respite. Here's how ten lakeside and beachfront retreats use the most low-maintenance of materials: wood.
Make it float!
On the edge of a tiny island on Lake Huron, accessible only by boat, this buoyant summer home lives the life aquatic.
Build open shelving.
Los Angeles firm Commune Design remade what was formerly the "dinkiest, cheapest, grossest" trailer at the Paradise Cove Mobile Home Park in Malibu with some ingenuity and bright colors. The custom open shelving was inexpensive to fabricate and holds all the home's kitchen tools with unfussy aplomb.
Photo by: Spencer Lowell
Use plywood for doors and walls.
Architect Page Goolrick preserved the humble roots and mellow vibe of this 1960s Long Island beach bungalow with touches like this sliding panel door with matte marine hardware that will age gracefully in the salty air.
Photo by: Richard Foulser
Treat it like a treehouse.
On this lakeside plot outside Toronto, four friends forge a new kind of vacation house. The complex is designed to promote an easy flow between the two families' spaces, which include guest cabins and a shared porch for hanging out and eating.
Photo by: Lorne Bridgman
Deck out interiors like a boat.
On an island 20 miles off the coast of Maine, a green getaway is chock-full of nautical details and space-saving storage solutions like this built-in breakfast nook.
Photo by: Eirik Johnson
Tranform an outdated facade.
On a sandy cul-de-sac in Stinson Beach, California, architects Matthew Peek and Renata Ancona built an elevated modern structure beside a modest 1940s bungalow.
Pair it with glass.
Wood cladding on an exterior brings the very concept of a vacation home back down to earth. When paired with glass, like in this lagoon-side abode in Northern California, a facade can be both cozy and open to its natural surroundings.
Photo by: Matthew Millman
Build a separate house for your pool.
Inside this cedar-framed pool house in New Jersey are a 40-foot-long lap pool and a hot tub. Should that feel too limiting or too tame, the Atlantic Ocean is only a short 200-yard stroll away.
Photo by: Ron Pollard