How to turn your backyard into a vacation spot

A town on a coastal hill with rows of umbrellas and sunloungers on the beach below.

Nicole Kirwan, member and founder of Los Angeles store Permanent Vacation, shares her picks for transforming your home into your personal escape

By Nicole Kirwan   Above image: Positano tray   Tuesday 25 August, 2020   Short read 

‘I have always loved packing for a vacation; picking all your favourite pieces and putting together full looks. I’ve spent years working in the fashion industry, starting my career in design and then switching to manufacturing. Having a shop has always been my dream, though. I generally don’t enjoy shopping, but the one exception is when I’m travelling. I love seeking out the new, different and special. I try to apply that to buying for my store, Permanent Vacation. 

‘When lockdown was just starting, I decided I would try on everything we carry in the store and take photos. I live within walking distance of the shop, so my quarantine routine consisted of me and my son Rocco going there most mornings to take some photos, or ship something out before hitting our local park. The try-on photos ended up being popular with my audience and helped me stay connected. I’m not model size and I don’t love being in front of the camera, but I approached it with humour and I think people appreciated that. Pretty dresses are not going to cure COVID-19, but they make everyone happy. 

‘There has been a groundswell of support for small and local businesses that I hope continues after the crisis. We are primarily a bricks and mortar shop, and although my goal is to be a bit more omnichannel in the future, we’re not there yet. With Permanent Vacation, I have always hoped to create a bit of a refuge from your day-to-day life. 

‘This summer, my extended family was supposed to go on a boat trip in Italy. We actually ended up cancelling pre-pandemic, because my step-sister had a baby in June. Instead, a few weeks ago, my son and I went up to Montecito and stayed in a little bungalow at the Rosewood Miramar for a few days. We ate room service and played on the beach – it was so nice to have a change of scenery.

‘While this escape was much needed, I’m a firm believer that your own home can also be the best getaway. Below are my picks for what I use to transform my place into my ideal staycation spot to relax, reset and dream of far-flung destinations.
A colourful cushion on a white background.
A woman wearing a black robe with flowers embroidered on it.
Colourful throw pillows
‘Colour makes me happy, and pillows are an easy and inexpensive way to add some spice to your outdoor space. This particular pillow is from La DoubleJ, an Italian line we have in the store, which is all about print and colour. This one is called the Colombo Bianco/Mexico Cushion.’

Upgraded casualwear
‘Take a break from your sweatpants, without sacrificing comfort, by swapping for a glamorous cover-up or robe. This one from Anjuna is gorgeous. All of their pieces are made in Italy and feature special details like beading, crochet and embroidery.’

Destination-inspired dishware
‘Get some plates or bowls that remind you of your favourite destinations. This [top image] is a tray by the photographer Gray Malin that we carry in the shop and features a photo of the beach in Positano. The trays come in a bunch of different options and are great for display or use.’
A blue candle and it's colourful abstract packaging.
Scents of summer
‘Set the mood with a candle that makes you think of a special memory or just smells good. My candle (to go along with my Italian Riviera dream trip theme) is from Dan300 and is called Capri. It is mandarin, blood orange and rose scented – it smells like vacations.’
A woman wearing a black bikini.
A great bikini
‘Use your staycation to work on your tan – plus, vitamin D is a mood booster. The Corset Bikini from Lisa Marie Fernandez is new this season, but is sure to become a classic.’
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