Image: William Waldron (portrait, palm beach), Pieter Esterhorn (Nantucket) | Design: Victoria Hagan
Victoria Hagan reveals her interior design tips and shows off her own vacation homes in Nantucket and Palm Beach.
Classically elegant, relaxed yet refined with just a hint of modern: The chic spaces by designer Victoria Hagan have long been lusted after by Style at Home’s editors. And while the houses she creates are nothing short of stunning, it’s Victoria’s incredible escapes that really take our breath away. “I somewhat specialize in designing vacation homes,” says the designer, who doesn’t take the job lightly. “There’s something so special about helping a client execute their big dream.” As for her own great getaways, Victoria and her husband have built “a place and purpose that we can pass on to our sons” in Nantucket, Mass., and Palm Beach, Fla. (We wish we were part of the family, too.)
Slipcovers, weathered wood, simple wall panelling and a mix of styles converge in the living room of Victoria’s relaxed yet refined Nantucket, Mass., retreat. “In fact, it’s all very simple, defined by remarkable light and intense ocean breezes. We call the house Fly Away, because at times it seems it might do just that,” says Victoria.
If you could be a fly on the wall when Victoria is discussing a new decor project with a client, you’d never hear her ask, “What do you want your space to look like?” Instead, she queries, “How do you want it to feel?” “Interiors are more than a picture – they’re interactive,” says Victoria, who also examines lifestyle priorities and adapts her designs accordingly. “I always ask for three words that describe how my clients want their home to feel at the end of the day.” The most common answers? Comfortable, timeless and calm: aesthetics the designer has certainly mastered. “I interpret a client’s wishes – their dreams – and work to make them a reality.”
“My mom hates this story, but I swear I remember looking out of my crib and not liking my nursery floor – a sparkle-patterned pink tile,” says Victoria of design being in her blood. “I’ve always been aware of how spaces can make you feel.” Case in point: A visit to the Dorothy Draper-designed cafeteria at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City when she was young. “I remember thinking how incredible it felt to eat lunch there.” From there, she began her decor journey, much to her parents’ chagrin. “I used to move the furniture around all the time, and I’d hear my father come in and say with a sigh, ‘Not again.’”
In Victoria’s Palm Beach home, 11-foot-high walls of glass slide open, blurring the line between indoors and out. “I wanted it to be completely modern and open to nature,” says Victoria. “We kid that it’s our cabana.”
“If readers walk away with only one message from my book [the just-released Dream Spaces], I’d want it to be this: Relax, have fun and relish the moments in your vacation home,” says Victoria, who’s made an art of effortlessly elegant living, both at work and on vacation. “Invite friends over, stop working on it, don’t sweat the details…and really live there.” Because, as she writes in the introduction, “That’s what a retreat is: a place where you feel like your wishes have been granted, where you can feel comfortable just being yourself.”
Dream Spaces by Victoria Hanlon and David Colman. Copyright © 2017.