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Second Home Interior Design from Halfway Around the World

The idea of owning a second home or holiday home in a luxury destination or other favoured locale is certainly alluring.  It promises not only a well-deserved escape, but also the opportunity to explore and immerse yourself in a different way of life – on your terms.   

Exciting as this prospect is, it does present unique challenges and considerations.   Managing the details of planning, sourcing, logistics and installation from afar requires a particular type of knowledge and know-how.   Working with a trusted interior designer with specialist expertise in these types of projects can make all the difference.

Specialist Expertise in Second Home Interior Design

Irish born and London-based, Brian Woulfe has been leading interior design and development projects for private clients, property developers and commercial clients across Europe, the US and Asia-Pacific regions since founding his design studio in 2009.   While he loves working with clients who are passionate about their homes, he appreciates that the demands of modern life often mean that property owners have minimal time to invest in creating their ideal living environment.   This can be even more true when it comes to a second home in a far-away locale.

Over the years Brian and his team have refined their approach to designing internationally.  They truly understand how to achieve an ideal balance between luxury home design and comfort, whilst seamlessly managing the project with minimal time investment required of the client.

Tied garden design with asian influences, London.

Luxury Home Design Offering The Best of Both Worlds

Ideally, a second home is curated as an extension of your unique tastes and preferences, while also respecting the essence of the destination’s culture, traditions and characteristics. 

It’s also about balancing beauty and elegance with ease.  The ideal second home is a true retreat — a place to escape to relax, entertain, and enjoy your favourite pastimes.  It should feel effortless and indulgent.

A second home, or holiday home, often serves different purposes than a primary residence does. It may need to cater to more significant demands for entertaining and hosting overnight guests, for example. Or, a second home may need to accommodate specific hobbies or interests relevant to the holiday destination, whether it’s skiing, surfing, or other outdoor pursuits – or perhaps a particularly well equipped kitchen, a significant library or a complete artist’s studio.  Even if it’s just well considered places to enjoy a special panoramic view, the key is finding balance between luxury and functionality.

Harmonising with the Surroundings

One of the fundamental principles of second home design is achieving the perfect balance between indulgent luxury and welcoming comfort. It’s this dynamic that makes a truly blissful, relaxing home away from home.  Brian and his team excel at creating spaces that make this dream a reality.

One luxury home design “tip” that works universally is to harmonise the design of a home with its location, celebrating the surroundings whether that’s breathtaking natural beauty or a stunning cityscape.

By integrating interior and exterior design, Brian creates spaces that seamlessly connect with their surroundings. From open spaces that allow natural light to flood in, to breathtaking views that become part of the decor, Brian’s approach to design is a testament to his commitment to honouring the environment.

Walnut joinery creates a warm focal point in the corner of the principle bedroom.

Global Inspiration, Local Touch

Your second home represents an opportunity to experiment with different design styles – deviating, if you so desire, from the aesthetics of your primary residence.  You might go bolder or more subdued, or explore varied uses of colour, texture and material.   

You also could consider embracing the unique character of your chosen holiday destination, with an openness to incorporating local design elements. Collaboration with local designers and suppliers ensures your second home is truly unique and celebrates the craftsmanship of the region. Brian values the essence of local culture and tradition, and his passion for supporting emerging and under-represented talent extends to his global projects.

Bespoke bedroom joinery Designed by Woulfe

Your holiday home can be not only a reflection of your taste, but also an homage to the culture and traditions of the locale.  With the use of indigenous materials, traditional patterns, or regional art, your home can become a tribute to the local culture. Your holiday home becomes a place of authenticity, an immersive experience that allows you to connect with the place and its people.

With his particular affinity for working with local design talent, artisan craftspeople and up-and-coming artists, Brian seamlessly integrates these elements into his projects.   Whether it’s incorporating handcrafted furniture, textiles, or objets d’art, Brian’s attention to detail guarantees that your second home is a masterpiece.  If you desire, he can expertly guide you through a collaborative creative process, curating unique inspiration, ideas and concepts that complement your tastes and preferences.

This luxury kitchen boasts a refined and modern aesthetic. Light grey stone-look flooring sets the foundation for the space. Dark wood kitchen cabinets and joinery, paired with a sleek slate black countertop and sink, create a striking contrast. Shelves adorned with vibrant plants above the sink add a touch of freshness. On the opposite wall, slate black cabinets A slate black island with hobs becomes a centrepiece, complemented by a large glass bowl filled with vibrant oranges, lemons, and limes. Above the island, large glass bulb lights illuminate the workspace. Expansive glass sliding doors and a skylight flood the kitchen with natural light, enhancing its luxurious ambiance.

Simple Maintenance, Smart Technology & Sound Security

A second home’s interior design also requires particular practical considerations when compared with a primary residence. Brian’s diverse portfolio showcases his ability to seamlessly integrate escapist comfort and inspiring aesthetics with the practical requirements of a second home. 

While the space might remain unoccupied for extended periods, it must also be ready to use and enjoy as desired.  When you walk through the door, you’ll want to feel instantly relaxed and at home, no matter how long you’ve been away.   So it’s essential to design for easy maintenance, with minimal hands-on effort or direction required.  

grand victorian home dalkey entrance

When selecting materials and furniture, options that are durable and require minimal upkeep are essential, whilst maintaining the highest standards of luxury and comfort. This ensures that your holiday home remains as stunning as the day it was designed, even with minimal attention.  Brian’s practical approach to design ensures that this second home is not only beautiful, but also effortless to care for.

Managing a second home from afar also requires advanced technology and security measures. Brian can offer expert advice in integrating smart home technology to allow you to remotely control various aspects of your property, from climate to security.  Knowing that your holiday home is protected and secure, even when you’re miles away, allows you to focus on enjoying the benefits and enhancements your investment adds to your life.

Brian demonstrated creativity in concept and a clear understanding of our needs. Owning a villa in a foreign country always brings extra challenges. Being able to deal with someone who understands the nuances whilst delivering a quality service is so important. Thank you, Brian.

Residential Client

A Trusted Partner in Luxury Second Home Design

Particularly in a second home, an interior designer’s ability to capture that balance begins with an authentic and trusting client relationship. This is Brian’s true speciality.   

Brian builds a thorough and accurate understanding of each client’s needs, taste and preferences from the very beginning of a project, by asking thoughtful questions and listening with the intuitive context of his deep and broad design expertise.  From this foundation, he’s able to not only translate a client’s desires into an actionable design and plan of action – he also acts as a trusted liaison with key parties throughout the project to bring this vision to life, even if it’s coming to life halfway around the world.

One of the biggest challenges of designing a second home from halfway around the world is project management. It’s simply not practically possible for most clients to manage all the details of the process.  

A custom tiled room divider fireplace in the living area is an efficient and stylish solution, serving more than one purpose. It subtly divides the room into different zones, allowing the homeowners and their guests to enjoy the comfort and warmth from wherever they choose to sit.

Brian’s dedication to his craft, commitment to his clients, and enthusiasm for perfection ensures that your project is in the most capable hands. You can rest assured that your second home is being crafted to the highest standards, even when you’re miles away.

For examples of our work around the globe, we invite you to explore the following projects:

New York City

Brian Woulfe

Our Awards & Affiliation

  • Eu property awards 2021 winner
  • EU Property Awards 2020 winner
  • BHA finalist 2020
  • United Kingdom Property Awards SALIC Winner 2018-2019

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