June 29, 2022

Creating a Sense of Place

Creating a sense of place for our clients is all about bringing the reasons they feel connected to a location into the design. It’s a gentle balance between a home that they love and the perfect getaway spot. In our latest blog we’re shedding light on the 3 ways we look to create a sense of place in our client homes.

We’ve learned quite a bit from our design work on hotel properties across New England. In fact, working on hotel projects is where the idea of creating a sense of place really came about. Through this experience we’ve been able to hone in on how to master that sense of place feel and adapt its technique for use in our client’s vacation homes. Although a sense of place can be applied in any home, we do see it more and more in our client’s vacation home. And we know why!  It creates that getaway, vacation or change of scenery that we all crave when we want to disconnect. We really applied much of the same theory and process to residential homes as we did with our hotel projects. 

Whether it’s a coastal retreat or a mountain top lodge, really understanding the inherent attributes of a location is key to creating a design that feels unique and one of a kind. With all this in mind, here are 3 ways we approach sense of place in the design of our client’s homes: 


Make it feel like a destination.

Knowing that hotels are destination focused, when working on its design, we aim to make the hotel experience be part of the overall travel experience. This includes finding creative ways to bring forth a sense of place without it feeling expected or overly themed. This same principle applies to a client’s vacation home. Using materials and finishes like grasscloth wall coverings, sheer drapery, and sisal rugs all work well for a coastal location. And for a mountain home, we’ll look to incorporate materials that have more of a cozy, warmer and “sink-in” feel, like wools, faux fur, plush fabrics and felt rugs. 



Bringing in the uniqueness of the outdoors.

Right now our current projects include numerous vacation homes from seaside sanctuaries to mountain retreats. And it’s really interesting to be able to flex our creativity and design in these various ways in very different locales. Looking for authentic ways to bring the outdoors into the home is one of our favorite parts of the design process. We always start by observing the surroundings outside of the home. This allows us to better understand the materials and finishes needed to create a natural flow between the indoor and outdoor space. The right interior finishes can be a deal breaker when it comes to creating that sense of place and one of a kind design. Lighter, airy finishes using linen-cotton textiles and other natural fibers are more conducive to a beach house property, clearing the way for those sought after views, whereas heavier details and rustic wood finish can bring out the unique beauty of a mountain retreat.  




Partnering with local artisans to tell a story.

Another thing we really enjoy doing to create a sense of place in our hotel projects is partnering with the local artisans. This can include photography, watercolor, acrylic or mixed media. In our residential work, this approach is a great way to give a client something that feels personal while adding a great story to the home design. And these days, everyone wants their home to have an interesting story that sparks great conversation. Not to mention, it’s great to be able to support local up and coming artisans. In our current Rhode Island waterfront project we are working with 2 local glass artisans to create custom light fixtures throughout the home. We’re really excited to share that exciting piece of the project in the coming months.  




Looking to capture that sense of place in the design of your vacation home? Give us a call to get started!

Until next time!

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