Home From Home


As the British Summer begins, it heralds the dawn of ‘Holiday Season’ across the UK. L-J Andrew talks Manuela Hamilford, Founder & Creative Director of Hamilford Design, to discover how to keep a holiday home fresh, stylish and, most importantly, homely


Do you find people tend to take a different design inspiration in a second home?

Initially, not entirely. People can be creatures of habit, and they know which design styles they appreciate. However, as a designer, they quickly learn to trust you and allow you to guide them through the process.

I always visit my client’s main home to gain ideas for how their second home should look. In my opinion, a second home should reflect elements of their primary residence, to ensure they feel comfortable in this space, but also include exciting new aspects, which helps to create a sense of escapism and relaxation. With a second home, you must look forward to visiting each time, so it’s essential to enjoy every inch of the space.

It’s also a key priority to understand why type of home it may be, as this can change how you design the home. For example, a home used for the summer may need a lighter colour palette of yellows and whites and a focus on outdoor entertainment spaces, whereas a home for the winter will need a richer colour scheme of reds and browns, thicker fabrics, and a sophisticated indoor dining room. A home for the whole year round will need to be a clever combination of the two – a vacation home in the countryside will need to be adept for bare feet in summer and muddy wellies in winter.

The Bohemian Retreat, Lakes By Yoo, The Cotswolds, UK

Is there a common theme or trend you have noticed when designing for second homes?

In a second home, it can often be all about entertaining and accommodating as many people as possible. My clients are always mindful of how they can fit as much as possible into the space to accommodate and entertain in the initial planning stages, so we see a lot of bunk beds and outdoor entertaining areas with pizza ovens and fire pits. Many of my clients also prefer large kitchens and an open plan living area for this reason, as entertaining is ideal in a grander, multi-functional space.

Boot rooms are also a key trend in the countryside – as time is spent on idyllic walks, a luxurious little space in the home to leave muddy shoes and to dry off wet dogs can be essential.

The Pool House, Lakes By Yoo, The Cotswolds, UK

How much inspiration do you take from the surrounding area in your designs?

We take so much inspiration from the stunning surroundings of our second homes. For instance, in The Cotswolds, the cosy countryside look is not merely an aesthetic, it represents part of the lifestyle. It’s vital that the vibe of the countryside comes into the homes, and we often achieve this by using a colour palette of earth tones, tartan fabrics, and wood flooring. In a home in The Hamptons, we also mimic the easy and relaxed lifestyle within the interiors. Obviously blue and white colour schemes are utilised, but we also ensure that the layout remains spacious and airy.

Arcadian Lodge, Lakes By Yoo, The Cotswold, UK

How important is the sense of a ‘Home from Home’?

I always build strong relationships with my clients to determine how creative they want to be with the design, but I also emphasise to them that the concept of ‘home from home’ is so important, as you must feel like you can always connect to your space. When interior designing a second home, there is a strong degree of creating a heavenly escape and a new environment, but there should always be familiar elements to provide a sense of comfort.

The Pool House, Lakes By Yoo, The Cotswold, UK

Tell us about a design that has stuck with you

Definitely The Pool House, which was a project I completed a few years ago at the Lakes by Yoo in The Cotswolds. It is the only house with a pool on the roof on the private estate, which posed a few structural challenges throughout the build, but produced an incredible result. The pool location now benefits from the stunning surrounding lakeside views, and the client was also very pleased that we met the brief of the home, whilst maintaining a contemporary style with a cosy countryside feel throughout.

Additionally, The Bohemian Retreat, also at the Lakes by Yoo, was a memorable project for me and my team. This property was 7,000 sq ft, and the client was keen to weave Moroccan influences into the design. We did this by including bold pattern on fabrics and tiles, and using bright and warm tones of blue, green and white with dark wood in the communal living spaces.

The Bohemian Retreat, Lakes By Yoo, The Cotswolds, UK


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