Relaxing Retreats: Swoon-Worthy Second Homes

As summer approaches, we can’t help but dream of a weekend retreat at these deftly designed escapes, from mountain cabins to beachfront havens.



Employing clean lines, ample windows and an open-concept flow, architects Rick Spitzmiller and Robert Norris—in collaboration with interior designer Teri Duffy and builder Chris Clay— fashioned a sophisticated Lake Burton vacation home that also felt comfortable and relaxing. “Because this house was going to be a retreat, [the clients] had the freedom to dream up things that wouldn’t necessarily suit their in-town home,” says Spitzmiller. Indeed, the home’s lake setting is evident in design elements such as a custom stone niche, a nautical-themed bedroom and an assortment of outdoor spaces. Tour the house here.


w141001_stanton_madison_egd_344Stanton Home Furnishings proprietor Jimmy Stanton splits his time between Atlanta and Madison, Georgia, where his 1831 Greek Revival home, Honeymoon, serves as a picturesque retreat, where the busy designer finds time to disconnect and revitalize. With towering windows, calming colors and timeless architecture create an idyllic balance between traditional and fresh. “When we walked through the door, we knew, immediately, this was the house,” Stanton says. “It was just so different from the others we’d looked at; it was so bright and airy.” Tour the house here.


150106_10030Designed, built and furnished by interior designer Melanie Turner and her husband, developer Stan Benecki, this Rosemary Beach oasis boasts an elegant luxury that matches its breathtaking beach setting. The three-story abode is adorned with eye-catching artwork and rare objects, while organic textures and colors (think Venetian plaster walls and reclaimed oak beams) create a sense of comfort. A private backyard features a swimming pool, lounge chairs and a luxurious dining area—perfect for socking up Florida sunshine. Tour the house here.


When it came to designing their Cashiers mountain cottage, Bonneau Ansley, founder of Ansley Atlanta Real Estate and Ansley Hewett Custom Homes, and his wife, Jennifer, wanted to take a more modern approach. To achieve this vision, the couple enlisted South of Market proprietor Kay Douglass, who played with scale and texture to create a light and bright home with clean lines and whimsical details. “Second homes afford you the opportunity to stretch your imagination and take some chances,” says Douglass. To that end, elements of surprise—a red lacquer coffee table and a glass-windowed dividing wall, for instance—mesh with more rustic elements such as wooden beams and plank walls, which nod to the abode’s natural setting. Tour the house here.