How-To: Make Your House Look and Feel Like a Luxury Getaway

Posted by Stephanie Mikkelsen on Monday, April 16, 2018

There is something special about how a luxury getaway makes you feel, and a big part of that is a stay's interior styling because often, you travel to accommodation that may look completely different to your own house.

The good news? You don't need a formal degree or time logged on reality TV home improvement shows to create spaces worthy of 'oohs' and 'ahhs' from your friends and family. To make sure your abode is in tip-top shape, we have partnered with Pottery Barn to match a stylish Beautiful Accommodation stay with an interior look for the upcoming season. These escapes embody either an island, coastal, farmhouse or rustic look. For an island look, think linens and blonde timbers. Or embrace stripes and crisp colour palettes to nail a coastal style. When it comes to a rustic aesthetic, look to pieces inspired by nature, while those who favour of a farmhouse style can turn to woods and textures. But before you hit the shops or add to cart, we chatted to the brains behind these stylish stays for their expert tips and tricks. Then, once you've gleaned some interior intel, head over to the Stylish Stays Collection to see even more getaways with immaculate interiors. 

Plus, because we know that you'll have a hankering to discover these stylish stays for yourself, be sure to go to Pottery Barn and vote for your favourite interior look. By having your say on which interior style you love best, you will have the chance to win a two-night getaway at one of these beautiful properties. 

The Look: Island Retreat

The Getaway: Verandah Retreat in Phillip Island, Victoria

The Expert: Kahli Ritchie

How did you create the concept of the look for Verandah Retreat?

Kahli: The vision for the interior of the home started out from a house I fell in love with in a cookbook called Food with Friends. From there I created a vision board of loves and inspirations to see what was coming up as a recurring theme. It’s funny to now look back on this vision board and see so many elements of it in Verandah Retreat. I also treasure a book called Absolutely Beauty Things by Anna Spiros, and it gave me the confidence to go with our own style.

Can you describe the Verandah Retreat style?

KR: We deliberately didn’t choose just one style, which is kind of unconventional. But being a holiday home, we really wanted to create an atmosphere that guests could relax in and not have anything too restrictive or ‘styled’, so to speak. This also gave us a lot of freedom when choosing décor. The basis of the home is beautiful hardwood floors and a mix of old and new furniture. Add a touch of wicker, mixed textured fabrics, gold vases and ceramics, the occasional op shop find and you have Verandah Retreat.

What Pottery Barn furnishings and products have you used in your styling?

KR: Some of our favourite items include classic linen striped cushions, mixed scatter cushions and glass-blown table lamp with hessian shade. Our biggest challenge is finding unique items, and we find Pottery Barn fabrics to be timeless and different to what you will find in other stores.

What tips or recommendations do you have for guests that may want to recreate a Verandah Retreat-style look in their own home?

KR: Don’t be afraid to mix old with new, especially when it comes to furniture – this really gives the home a personality. Resist making everything match because it’s in the space in between that we found creates an authentic experience for our guests.


The Look: Industrial Farmhouse

The Getaway: The Blackwood Sassafras in Sassafras, Victoria

The Expert: Justin Bishop

How would you describe The Blackwood Sassafras' style?

Justin: The style of the Blackwood is classic, timeless and elegant, circa 1910. It was inspired by my own home, an original Edwardian property situated nearby. It has the look of a London or New York apartment from the Edwardian era, and could pass as being built at the same time as my own home. There is perhaps a gentleman that lives there; his top hat and cane are on the coat stand, his books are by the fire and his whiskey is in a cut-glass decanter on the elegant sideboard. He is passionate about traditional, hand-tailored style but he enjoys the luxuries of the modern world.

How does the interior and styling of Blackwood Sassafras enhance the experience guests have at your property?

JB: It hopefully transports our guests to another era. A quieter time where tasteful, elegant design was paramount and a simpler life was the norm. Although we have modern technology hidden within its walls, at first glance the styling of the Blackwood exudes classic period style.

Are there any Pottery Barn pieces used in The Blackwood?

JB: We love Pottery Barn products. There is a definite synergy between the style of the Blackwood and the range of furnishings and items from Pottery Barn. We change up the accessories in the Blackwood and from time-to-time we feature Pottery Barn products within the mix of interior items. We have used many linen cushions from Pottery Barn; our favourite being a natural linen, European size, with a soft silk sheer flange. We also feature faux fur throws (plus optional faux fur slippers for guests) and Homescent Square Oil Diffuser in Grey Moss as the scent for the Blackwood - we love it!

Is it feasible to plan an entire interior look around one piece, or would you recommend people tackle an interior project with a holistic style in mind?

JB: Definitely. Begin an interior scheme with an overall completed picture in mind. Individual pieces and details are all important, but only as far as they work within the overall scheme. With a clear understanding of how you imagine the end product to look, selecting the layers and products that build up the interior becomes a lot easier and a lot less daunting.

Beautiful Accommodation The Blackwood Sassafras Beautiful Accommodation The Blackwood SassafrasBeautiful Accommodation The Blackwood Sassafras

The Look: Coastal Calm

The Getaway: The Summer House at Shelter in St Andrews Beach, Victoria

The Expert: Deborah McLean

How did you settle on style of house?

Deborah: The decision to come up with that look came from my obsession with Scandinavia and Sweden. It is a fusion between a Swedish barn and a cabin. It can look a little bit Canadian, or it can look a little bit Scandinavian. As far as finishes in that space, I wanted it to be modern and rustic luxe.

What drew you to the Scandinavian aesthetic?

DMcL: It is incredibly minimalistic in a rustic way, without it being void of personality. It’s got soul. There is so much consideration for the environment. The design is beautiful but super functional. For us and for The Summer House, anything in that space had to make sense. It can’t just be a pretty bit of fluff. Negative space and having space around you is just as valuable as having things around you too. I like the idea of how Scandinavians approach their interiors. The design and furniture also hasn’t gone out of fashion.

What role does the interior and styling of a getaway play in the guest experience?

DMcL: It is everything. I want to hear guests say, “Oh, wow!”. I want them to feel as if they’ve come to a really luxe hotel room, somewhere a little bit quirky, out of the way with their own private garden and a deck to hang out on. It is a fusion between living in a house and being in a really high-end hotel room. It is that in-between zone. I want them to feel super chill. The bath, and the fact that it is in the centre of the room, instantly makes you feel like this is a place to relax. As far as the room is concerned, my focus was on colours that don’t complicate the mind; things that are quiet like the soft greys and the natural wool.

How would you suggest a guest replicates the Scandinavian style, in particular?

DMcL: You don’t do hot pink or bright orange, unless you’re doing a vintage Danish vibe. It is all about white, black and warm wood, like an oak. They are the three go-to colours and then you layer it. You could then do hot pink, but you would do it with soft furnishings. There is plenty of furniture around that is in that ideal tonal palette. You don’t have to have expensive things everywhere.

What is one interior trend you never want to see again?

DMcL: Cherubs. It was a whole trend, and I had them everywhere in the 80s. The 1980s were horrendous anyway, except for some of the music, but the cherubs were awful.

Beautiful Accommodation The Summer House at Shelter Beautiful Accommodation The Summer House at Shelter Beautiful Accommodation The Summer House at Shelter

The Look: Relaxed Retreat

The Getaway: The Helmsman's House near Cygnet, Tasmania

The Expert: Posie Graeme-Evans

How was the look of The Helmsman’s House created?

Posie Graeme-Evans: Andrew Blackwood, the co-director of Frenchman’s River, trained as an interior designer. So he and I worked hand-in-glove on an 18-month renovation, which saw the house transformed and opened up to the view in all directions. We collaborated on quite an eclectic design scheme. We’re both very interested in Japanese design, and we have an extensive collection of Tasmanian artworks by leading painters. We assembled quite an unusual collection of furniture and pictures, each one of which has a story. Some of the collection comes from our travels. We have drawn inspiration from the past with the history of French explorers; from our own lives, which is the collection of furniture and pictures; and from the natural world. We tried to unify all the things that have pleased us.

Are there any designers that were particularly influential?

PG-E: The Helmsman's House is is a Federation-era building, and we have been faithful to the detail of the building, however, I think it’s fair to say that Frank Lloyd Wright’s early work – he was very influenced by the Japanese – had a bearing on Andrew’s vision for the house. We lived in a house in Sydney that was a direct descendant of the Frank Lloyd Wright houses that he designed in Chicago in the 1920s, and we have also always managed to tack on time to visit some of his houses when we’ve been overseas.

What was your aim with the styling, in terms of guest experience?

PG-E: Our aim is for people not to be intimidated. This is genuinely a house that you feel at home in. Some extreme high-end design can feel like you can’t touch anything, or you feel like you shouldn’t be there. This house is not like that. This house is comfortable, warm, filled with light and framed by glorious views.

Do you have any favourite pieces?

PG-E: There are two or three pieces of Japanese furniture that are merchants’ chests. I love the ornamentation on them. There is also an extraordinary Metters revolving bush pantry. I’ve had it for 30 years and it is very rare. It had been covered in horrible dark brown paint and it is quite battered because it has had an incredible life. I got down to the zinc coating and I polished it up, and there it is, in all of its battered glory, and it really works. It is capable of holding all kinds of things; each of the drawers you open holds a treasure you don’t expect, such as squid-ink noodles, or three kinds of dukkah, or artisanal Italian pasta.

What is your tip for guests wanting to recreate a similar look at home?

PG-E: Choose one or two colours only, one dark and one light. And don’t be frightened; things don’t have to be incredibly expensive. You can have a surprisingly cheap collection of objects yet when you put them against a dark background, they shine.


Don't forget to head over to the Stylish Stays Collection to check out other beautifully presented getaways, and make sure to vote on your favourite Stylish Stay for your chance to win a two-night getaway at your voted-for escape.