Breathtaking summer holiday homes from around the world


Author: Susan Redman on Houzz

Some of the best summer holiday spots are by the sea, so it’s not surprising that the dream for many is to build a permanent getaway along the coast. Some lucky Houzzers have fulfilled their dream by buying or constructing permanent holiday or summer homes that feature ocean vistas. Which one is your holiday dream house?

1. Contemporary island refuge in New Zealand
Location: Waiheke Island, New Zealand
Who holidays here: A couple and their two daughters
Size: This holiday home is made up of three buildings: the main house (190 square metres), a garage (50 square metres), and a studio (32 square metres)
Architect: Charissa Snijders Architect

Surrounded by grassy paddocks, with a vista of the Pacific Ocean, this hilltop abode is imbued with the sense of “getting away from it all”. It feels remote but the house is, in fact, built on an island just 20 kilometres from Auckland. The owners employed architect Charissa Snijders to come up with a beautiful plan for family living. She devised three interconnecting pavilions, which include three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a utility room, kitchen/dining/living area, a small internal courtyard and a sunroom. Additionally, the outside has many courtyards and places to sit and rest.

“The main purpose behind the project was to provide more opportunities for the family of four and their extended family to be together,” says architect Charissa Snijders. “The owners also wanted to create a home that sat quietly and sympathetically with the land. And for it to respond to its wildness, particularly the wind!”

Not surprisingly, the architect’s design is low-lying, nestling into the hill and following the natural contours of the slope. There is also a material sense of the house “belonging” to the landscape. It is built from local stone and features concrete floors and timbers sourced close to home, such as Lawson Cypress for the exposed structural elements, Tasmanian Oak for interior doors, skirtings and handrails, and hoop pine ply for the walls.

The main bedroom has a window seat and picture window that looks into the farm and gully below. “It’s quite a different feel to the view to the sea,” Snijders says.

Thoughtful warm spaces, coloured glass features, humble white-washed pine walls, and a concrete floor that echoes the sandy beaches of Waiheke, are all additional architectural characteristics that the homeowners love.  

2. Beachcomber’s holiday chalet in south-west England
Location: Whitsand Bay, Cornwall, UK
Who holidays here: A British family
Architect: McCaren Architecture
Photos: McCaren – see more photos here

Principal Robin McCaren of McCaren Architecture demolished an existing holiday chalet on the Cornwall coast and replaced it with a new timber-framed, cedar-clad chalet, designed to take full advantage of the stunning panoramic view from Rame Head in the east to the Lizard Point in the west.

According to McCaren, the location of the chalet meant that careful consideration had to be given to the method of construction and the design of the glazing and external finishes – it had to withstand the forces of nature and weather. This resulted in a timber frame which was designed to be partly pre-fabricated off-site, and assembled by bolting together a number of plywood panels.

The external finishes were selected to blend in with the local environment and to provide the chalet’s owners with relatively low levels of maintenance.

3. Italian villa with vistas of Mount Vesuvius
Location: Villa Ercolano, near Naples, Italy
Who holidays here: An Italian family
Architect: Fabrizia Frezza Architecture & Interiors
Photos: Fabrizia Frezza Architecture & Interiors – see more photos here

Villa Ercolano is a summer home in Naples that was originally built in the early 1970s but has been more recently updated by architect Fabrizia Frezza. It mixes classic Mediterranean style with a fresh and modern interior and features smooth whitewashed walls, a brilliant turquoise pool, and a dazzling view of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Frezza positioned the pool so that the top of Mount Vesuvius would be visible from the pool steps. She also kept the design in line with the region’s style by maintaining the home’s original coastal and Mediterranean characteristics.

To emphasise the look and culture of the surrounding town, the architect chose materials, furniture and accessories from local artisans and material resources, as well as many custom pieces of her own design. “I like to use local materials to create a project that keeps the location alive,” Frezza says. “I want to link the past and the present.”

4. Surfside luxury in Sydney
Location: Palm Beach, Sydney, Australia
Who holidays here: A businessman who uses the house as a weekender. It’s also a high-end rental property
Size: The 320-square-metre house (4 bedrooms over 2 storeys) and garage sits on a 960-square-metre site
Architect: Justin Long Design
Interior designer: Pike Withers
Photos: Justin Long Design – see more photos here

The owner of this spectacular holiday house wanted it to feel like a resort where he could unwind from the stresses of the week and relax with family and friends. Designers were called in to rework the home inside and out, to bring in light and to make the most of stunning Pacific Ocean views.

Built on a hilltop overlooking Sydney’s iconic Palm Beach, the views are to die for. “The owner wanted a laid-back feel that was intrinsically calming,” says designer Amanda Pike. “A particular request was to be able to ‘sit on the view’.” Pike says that this required an extensive rethink of the home’s layout. The kitchen and living areas were completely redesigned to create larger spaces that flowed seamlessly into one another; balconies were extended, and Pike says the automated sliding roof installed over the living room now allows the house to “literally open up”.