Vacation homes are all about relaxing and leisure, not about detail and dusting. Choose a cabinet style that reflects this casual spirit. Fussy moldings and ornate carvings would be as out-of-place in your beach house or mountain cabin as a ball gown at a barbecue.
Low maintenance counts
I'm betting you don't want to spend your vacation polishing granite or sealing wood tops. Choose a counter surface that lets you choose to spend time outdoors instead of in the kitchen. Repairable Corian or engineered stone can work in this setting. So could stainless steel if you don't mind seeing scratches. Ditto for your floors. An attractive porcelain tile that stands up to the thundering of wet, muddy, active feet or a wood that's already distressed could be your best vacation friend.
Quartz tops, like this one from Cambria, offer easy clean-up and high durability for vacation home kitchens.
Have plenty of seating, and make sure it's at a height comfortable for the majority of your guests. They're going to hang out in the kitchen anyway. Make it easy to do so with counter-height stools instead of bar stools and, if there's space, chairs at a standard-height table.
Got kids? A bench, like this Pottery Barn Benchwright model, seats a bunch of them in casual style.
Guests young and old will be traipsing in and out of your house all day. That's the nature of summer homes. If outdoor entertaining is a big part of your vacation life, plan for a large deck next to your kitchen, if possible. Ideally, the doors from the kitchen open completely onto this deck for easy transit. A zero threshhold will be kindest to bare feet. A pass-through from kitchen window to deck will be great for serving and cleaning up.
Open wide with a NanaWall window and patio door combination for your vacation home kitchen.
The whole point of a vacation home is to enjoy a relaxing time away from your busy life. Chances are, it has a great view of nearby woods, lake, mountain, gulf, bay or ocean. Let Mother Nature do the decorating for you. The view should be the focal point, so keep window coverings and distractions to a minimum. Choose outdoor-rated fabrics for cushions and area rugs.
Outdoor rugs, like these striped braided indoor/outdoor versions from Ballard Designs, work great in vacation home kitchens (and on their decks).
For more vacation home kitchen ideas, read the entire post on Gold Notes.