As summer heats up, fewer consumers are using funds for vacations and more are interested in an outdoor space fit for stay-cations. We have some ideas.
In the past two years, outdoor kitchens remained at the top of the list for kitchen trends, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA). With regulations keeping consumers at home, this trend continues into 2020. What is changing though are the interests from homeowners, and the designs they want for their outdoor spaces.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens found 63.7% of designers surveyed confirmed a growing interest in outdoor living spaces, with suburban and luxury markets having the highest interest. The majority of clients hire contractors for outdoor kitchens, 85% to be exact, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s 2019 Kitchen Consumer Profile.
According to Google Trends analytics, the search term “outdoor kitchen” has skyrocketed in the U.S since March. More specifically, consumers are searching for gazebos, barbecues, and stainless steel.
Heavy stone countertops with stainless steel cabinet inserts are not cutting it anymore for consumers like they were 10 years ago. Though traditional and transitional styles remain popular, contemporary design and colors are making its way to the top.
The most-wanted colors are neutral hues of whites, blacks, and grays. Mitch Slater, president of Jordan Brown Outdoor Kitchens and Danver, told the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) there has been a shift toward pops of color, primarily with shades of blue. In 2019, pops of color were at the top of NKBA’s trends list as well.
Now that the industry is in the midst of deck and outdoor space-building season, we have some product and material options your clients and buyers might like:
Kent Collection by TileBar
One of TileBar’s latest collections, the Kent Collection, adds depth to an outdoor kitchen’s backsplash. The elongated hexagonal tiles come in a contoured 3D or flat body and are available in five colorways. Made from ceramic and approved for wall use, The Kent Collection can be used for indoor, or outdoor use. Available in gray, blue, green, pink, white, and brown with a polished finish, the tiles measure 2.6 inches by 13 inches.
Restaurant closures pushed many to rekindle a love for home cooking, and consumers were already looking for outdoor grills that are capable of multiple types of cooking. Slater calls it a “cooking appliance explosion.” Pizza ovens, smokers, and other specialty appliances are on the rise for outside just like they are on the rise for inside.
“If they can, they're putting five different ways to cook outside,” Slater told NKBA. “If they can’t, they'll get a multi-cooker. Someway they’ll do a grill with different fuels.”
Alfresco Luxury All-Grill
The Alfresco 56-inch Luxury All-Grill has 15 different cooking options ranging from deep frying to rotisserie cooking. It comes with a commercial griddle, steamer, fryer, and pasta cooker, wind guards, and three stainless steel Accufire main burners. Meats can be seared on Alfresco’s Sear Zone infrared burner, or smoked with real wood and herbs in a pull-out smoking system, the company says.
One of the trends with greatest interest is design with a connection to the indoors. Outdoor-indoor living connections are a trend for home design, but designing an outdoor kitchen that extends the home’s style is of utmost importance. Wayfair Professional’s study on product searches for the beginning of 2020 supported this idea, finding that while consumers are forced indoors, they want their backyard living space to be an extension of the home.
Homes provide comfort, and that feeling should also be extended to the outdoors. Comfort comes in the form of furniture, landscaping, construction, but also product choices. Houzz’s most popular spring deck and patio trends found that consumers are interested in the comfort pergolas provide. Consumers do not have to worry about inclement weather or bugs with overheard coverings.
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StruXure TraX System
StruXure pergolas are weather-resistant, bringing shade and protection to clients’ backyards.
TraX expands the company’s pergola offerings by allowing for additional accessory attachments, such as cable management, LED strip lighting, and motorized screens. The universal cable system which makes way for more location customization options. The patent-pending TraX system is an addition to StruXure’s pergolas and can be added at any time.
Products such as wine and beverage coolers help with comfort too, designers say. Anything that minimizes the need for a client to run indoors for different needs is a must. Easy accessibility and sufficient storage capabilities should be available within arms-reach, along with plentiful counter space.
Vinotemp 15-Inch Outdoor Dual-Zone Wine & Beverage Cooler
Vinotemp’s dual zone beverage cooler is a stainless-steel appliance that fits into many different styles, the company says. The product allows for two separate temperature settings. The cooler has a climate control alarm system, safety lock, kick plate, reversible door swing, and dual-pane glass door. It can store up to 35 cans and 19 standard wine bottles on glass and wood shelves. Dimensions of the dual-zone cooler are 15 by 22 9/10 by 34 3.10 inches.
Dekton Outdoor Counters
Surface manufacturer Cosentino uses a combination of raw materials to create high-quality glass, porcelain, and quartz work surfaces. Cosentino’s Dekton countertop offerings come in a plethora of colors and designs, which makes it easy to find the ideal look for a client’s outdoor kitchen. Their collections include natural, industrial, and solid color styles. The counters have zero porosity with no possibility of defects that cause tension and weak spots, the company says.
Lighting also plays a large part in creating a welcoming atmosphere. NKBA found that multiple types of lighting help transition an outdoor space from day to night or family time to hosting time. Outdoor lights are required because clients want to use their outdoor kitchens any time of day. Identifying the desired atmosphere is key in choosing light fixtures.
Freeport by Generation Lighting
The Freeport line has pendant, post, chandelier, and flush mount lights specifically for the outdoors. By combining a geometric design, copper, and T10 bulbs, the Freeport line works for the modern outdoor kitchen. All products have a square element with sharp lines that accentuate the oblong bulb shape. The lights are designed by E.F. Chapman and Kyle Myers, both home product design veterans.
Icone Lighting Salsola Outdoor FX Lamp
Made and designed in Italy, Salsola's organic appearance works well for the outdoors, as it complements the surrounding nature. Salsola is made entirely from aluminum and is available in white, aluminum, or old brown. There are three sizes available: 18.9, 25.6, or 33.5 inches. The product is also made primarily by hand, are treated with anti-corrosive coatings, and have a protective undercoat to give the fixture a long lifespan. For an extra cost, the fixture can come in a repositionable version.
Overall, consumers want products that are weather-resistant and durable. Slater found clients enjoy a wood-look but hate the upkeep that comes with it. Composite decking can bring in a natural wood look while remaining low-maintenance. Manufacturers of the wood alternative say the product also withstands heavy weight, has high traction, and is resistant to stains, sags, and cracks. Porcelain tiles share similar attributes to composite decking. The material is weather and temperature-resistant.
Deckorators Voyage Varied Plank Composite Decking
Voyage Decking, is part of the company’s patented mineral-based composite technology line. Voyage decking is a lighter option compared to other composites. Voyage decking received the 2019 Golden Hammer Award by the HBSDealer for its innovation. Deckorators products also come with a 25-year warranty. During installation, the decking will not expand or contract. Varied-plank Voyage decking is available in five colorways and in 3.5, 5.5, and 7.25-inch widths with grooved or solid-edge profiles.
Commissary by Daltile
The pavers are made from porcelain, which gives them weather and temperature-resistant properties. Though made from porcelain, the pavers have a distinct wood-like appearance. Commissary by Daltile was also a finalist for best outdoor product at IBS 2020. Daltile offers two sizes, 24 by 24 inches and 16 by 48 inches in a matte, textured finish. Along with two sizes, the product comes in five different colors: deputy grey, regent honey, commander beige, proxy grey, and bureau brown. The pavers are resistant to chemicals, have a water absorption rate of less than 0.5%, and withstand weight up to 1,000 pounds.