Its been a busy, busy week as I scramble to make final preparations for our family’s spring break trip to our Outer Banks vacation home. We rent our home for most of the spring, summer and fall but during April and May we always try to enjoy a week or 2 of vacation ourselves.
During this time, although we love to relax and enjoy the Outer Banks, there will be some work to be done too. I have scheduled a few maintenance visits and I will have a car-load of updates and upgrades.
One area that I feel annual updates are especially important is in the kitchen. I’m not talking updates of counter tops or major appliances. When I have rented vacation homes myself, I find its the little things that matter the most. I like when the house has a good corkscrew and lots of wine glasses. I like when there are sharp knives that can actually cut a piece of meat or a fresh tomato. I like when there is a good, working can opener (manual is fine) and a vegetable peeler that peels. Lots of clean, stainless steel cooking utensils like serving spoons, spatulas and ladles are also important. To me there is nothing worse than a wooden spoon or plastic spatula that look like they have 10 years of old food soaked in or burned onto them.
Since we have a large family and we often vacation with aunts, uncles and cousins, I like plenty of large serving bowls and platters for our big family meals. Its also important that there are BBQ tools – a spatula, tongs and a fork are necessities along with a good grill brush for cleaning up afterwards.
In the bedrooms, nothing is better than a new quilt. It looks crisp and fresh and can brighten up a whole room! Some replacement pillows, blankets and mattress pads are also part of my usual updates every year. Because we have 8 bedrooms and it would be quite expensive to purchase new bedding for the whole house every year, I use a rotation system. First, I keep my eye out for sales of pretty quilts and pillow shams. When I see a sale on good quality bedding that will match our color scheme, I buy it whether I need it at that time or not. Then, I update 3 or 4 of the bedrooms every year during the off season to keep the whole house looking updated and fresh. I use the same system for pillows, blankets and mattress pads.
In the bathrooms, I supply the little things like liquid soap dispensers (and some refill soap), a small trash can and hooks behind the door for wet towels and bathing suits.
These are the things that make a vacation home easier, more fun and more user-friendly. They are generally small, inexpensive items that matter to me when I am on vacation and so I think must matter to the guests who stay in my house. These are the personal touches of a homeowner who wants people to enjoy a wonderful vacation in her rental home on the Outer Banks.
Large rental management companies tell homeowners that guests want TVs in every room, exercise rooms and tiki bars. These things are certainly lovely but I have a different opinion about what matters most to OBX vacationers. The most important thing is relaxing with family and friends on the beach. And its the little things that make life easier on OBX!