Beach Houses and Life Lessons

People often ask me what inspires me and what gets me excited about design?

As a decorator, anytime I go on vacation or start planning my getaway it leads me to so much more.  I am so inspired by travel and the design ideas that start turning in my head during this process make me elated about what I do.

The research process and the dreaming about where we are going and where we will be staying is all part of the experience and is so much fun for my design eye.  Travel is one of the things that gets my juices going and helps me to become better at what I do!  Getting away from all the "busy" things of life is always rejuvinating too!

 Panamanian dancers celebrating independence day.

We are in the planning stages of a trip to Panama.  I spent my 7th and 8th grade year in Panama City and have some amazing memories of times on the beach. We had a pilot friend that owned his own plane and would take us out for the day and fly us to local private beaches!  Pure bliss!!
  I remember him doing figure 8's in the sky and I look back on that now and can't believe that was me.  What an amazing experience. The crazy thing is that  I thought that was every kids normal.  I remember a one day trip specifically because we landed on the beach and the entire beach had black sand,  it was a trip and very HOT!
  One specific beach memory pops in my head all the time now because it was a time when I learned one of the biggest lessons of life.
I was riding a horse on the beach one early morning with my good friends during free time at summer camp.  Let's just say this horse was VERY stubborn, I'm going to call her Adamant.  She consistently wanted to gallop with me and would run away from the shore close to the little grass huts that were on the beach for vacationers to sit under and relax.  Adamant would start to trot and then would go into a full gallop instantly.  Being that I wasn't an expert rider, I didn't like her habits.  I kept slowing her down and each time she would eventually get into the gallop stage. Well, my controlling her wasn't working too well.  She won the battle every time and continued to gallop, gallop, gallop.  I was freaking out!!!  Remember, I'm about 12 years old.
While galloping, the entire saddle started to slowly get loose and eventually I was underneath the horse....yes, still galloping!  She kept up the pace for at least 40 seconds with me hanging on for dear life.  I was screaming and my friends didn't know what to do.  Adamant finally stopped and I was crying hysterically.  My friends got me calmed down and then said these words "you have to get back on this horse or you will  never ride again."  It seemed like good logic and so mature, but they hadn't experienced this horror.   After lots of convincing, I did get back on Adamant and she calmly trotted with me along the shore (I think my screaming scared her).  It was a life lesson about hard times for me.
  We often get knocked down and shaken up and don't know how to handle life's blows.  Most of the time, the best solution is to do something and that s to continually get back up and keep riding.  Whenever I'm experiencing a hard time, Adamant comes to mind...keep riding, don't give up!  Oh, and the most important part is to surround yourself with friends that can encourage you to get back up and continue.  Sometimes you don't have the strength to think logically on your own.
Anyway, back to the vacation planning.   We have found a few beach homes that look promising and I thought I'd share them with you because they look so appealing during this cold winter season.
House #1
  This home has a private beach!  See that table and chairs below, under the umbrella, that would be my happy spot for the week!  Such a peaceful atmosphere.

This split level vacation home is right on the beach and is for rent for the week. I've already moved in, no convincing needed.  I'll be in that hammock in the evening as I listen to voice of the waves! 
There are a couple of patios that overlook the ocean and I can see us spending hours chatting with our friends and watching the kids as they surf.  The tropical atmosphere is to die for.  I can't wait to spend time with our friends in this kind of atmosphere.
This patio is absolutely amazing.  The thatch roof, the beams, tile floor, large table with rustic leather chairs.  The architecture of this home is so appealing to me.  This kind of Spanish decor has always been one of my favorites styles.  It's beautifully accessorized too.
The thick stucco walls with the combination of tile and rustic wood beams is such a great mix.
This home won the 2008 single unit International Property Awards in association with CNBC and New York Times.

This patio is beautiful.  Aren't these benches with upholstered cushions, the curved leather chairs and the tree trunk coffee table the best?
Practical tile floors throughout.
So cool how they incorporated these tree trunks into the design on this patio.
Perfect getaway for a large family.  Beautiful lawn and the beach, Wow!
Waking up to this every morning would be called "living in Paradise"
I love hanging in a hammock.....can't imagine this.....
So peaceful!  I remember collecting whole shells and whole sand dollars by the dozen.  I wonder if it is still like that?  I can't wait to find out!  My choice is House #1, we'll see what happens!
For more information about my design consultations, go to my website to see before and after pictures that will inspire you.