Embrace Unexpected Elements in Interior Design

A vacation home designed by Gabby LaBoy showcases how to have fun.

Written by:Diane Conrad
Photographed by:Spacecrafting
Embrace Unexpected Elements in Interior Design

Cambria’s Ivybridge™ quartz design is the perfect countertop choice for a green kitchen, and its maintenance-free quality makes it a no-brainer for vacationers who just want to have fun.

For Gabby LaBoy of Minneapolis-based Martha O’Hara Interiors, the design process always begins with listening. “Understanding the client’s wants and needs is the most important part, so that requires very careful attention,” she says. Having a deep understanding of the client lets her create a functional design—and then go a step (or several steps) beyond the basics. “Part of the role of the designer is to think outside the box. So I always try to add something unexpected—something the client wouldn’t typically select.”

In this Wisconsin lake house featured in the 26th issue of Cambria Style, for example, LaBoy suggested a bright green for the kitchen cabinets. It wasn’t exactly what the client had initially imagined, but it was the perfect choice to capture the feeling she wanted the house to have. Making a bold design choice is somewhat easier in a vacation home, LaBoy notes. “If you’re just going there to relax, it’s easier to have some fun with the design because you’ll just be there for a week or so at a time and you won’t have time to get sick of anything.”

But while it makes sense to embrace risk-taking and whimsy in vacation-home décor when it comes to the materials you want to be super practical. LaBoy says, “Think about who will be using the spaces, and how. Maybe there will be kids and dogs; maybe they’ll come in with sandy feet and wet bathing suits, or snow-covered boots. Pick materials that stand up to heavy use and are easy to clean.” For this lake house, LaBoy chose Cambria’s Ivybridge countertops for their durable beauty and selected stain-resistant fabrics in medium and dark colors throughout.

Finally, plan to cut down on clutter. The less you have on surfaces and counters, the less you’ll have to clean or care for. LaBoy says, “Plan a lot of storage. We filled the island in this house with drawers so everything could be put away to keep the counters as clear as possible.”

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