What factors do you see as driving the "outdoor room" popularity and growth?
There has been a tremendous tendency towards OUTDOORING. Where people set up their backyard space in the same way they would their interior rooms. Separating spaces into distinct useful areas to enjoy all summer long. This is clearly due to the fact that information and pictures are so much more readily available than they used to be: Houzz, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and more, are all tools from which homeowners are deriving inspiration, tips and tricks. This in turn guides people to use their own spaces more effectively and more beautifully.
“Fire features to warm up those late night outdoor gatherings are very much in demand.”
Can you name popular items, materials or trends you are working into your designs?
We’re mixing stone and exotic woods, as well as weathered wood finishes on Ipe and Teak. Large paver slabs are popular, with square slabs emerging as a growing trend. Fire features to warm up those late night outdoor gatherings are very much in demand. As is composite wood decking; we recommend one of the few that does not get hot for bare feet when exposed to sun.
Have outdoor kitchens grown in popularity? What are clients asking for (style, materials, functionality)
Outdoor kitchens are great for gatherings and entertaining guests. Clients are seeking clean and modern finishes. Fridges and sinks are common requests in addition to the cooking unit. Granite or Dekton countertops really give the outdoor kitchen a built-in feel. Some mixed wood and steel helps achieve a modern overall look for the space, and subtle lighting can also go a long way in enhancing its appeal.
Are there new technologies allowing clients to use their outdoor spaces for more of the year and/or when the weather is too hot/sunny or too cold/rainy?
Fire features and heating elements built into roofs and pergolas are great. When a pergola is not present some buy standalone heaters to squeeze in those extra few weeks of the season. They allow you to lounge or dine in comfort on cooler nights.
Pool heat-pump technologies have increased the length of the season as well. At a fairly reasonable cost, pool-owners can heat their pools well into October.
We recommend to many of our clients to purchase custom covers for their patio furniture so that they do not need to haul pillows back and forth to a storage bin every time they want to use their space. They function exactly like a BBQ cover and are removed and reinstalled easily.
“Boomers are using outdoor living space furniture, fire features, and outdoor kitchens to add space to the home, and extend their outdooring season up to eight months a year.”
What trends do you see in baby boomers moving from large suburban homes into condos? How are they planning and using balconies, decks and rooftops to maximize their outdoor living experience?
When I speak to local real-estate agents they describe the baby-boomers downsizing into condos as not willing to compromise. They still want the interior, and exterior amenities that they have always been accustomed to, but with less maintenance (or a condo board that will handle the maintenance and utilities for them). Boomers are using outdoor living space furniture, fire features, and outdoor kitchens to add space to the home, and extend their outdooring season up to eight months a year.