A room with a view
When I was a kid, we had a concrete patio off the kitchen with a roof over it constructed with two by fours covered with a little paint. The barbeque was yards off the patio to keep the smoke out of the house, and all of this was built by my father my brother and a few neighbors. That plus a picnic table and a few lawn chairs pretty much passed as my parents’ outside entertaining area.
Today’s outdoor entertaining has changed a good deal since the 1950s, with backyards being turned into elaborate rooms and some homeowners wanting to duplicate the interior of their homes. With many new innovate products on the market and many more companies designing and installing outside kitchens and living space, this has become easier, if not more costly, in recent years.
The outdoor kitchen or summer kitchen has really taken off, especially in states like Florida, where good weather year round makes outdoor living a daily event. However, even in colder regions of the country outdoor kitchens are popular, adapting their designs to accommodate the weather. The cost for the privilege of installing a high end outdoor kitchen starts around $20,000 and goes up to $100,000 or more based on the vast variety of amenities to choose from.
Custom polymer cabinetry, which was developed for use in the marine industry, designed to resist all outdoor elements and perfect for the waterfront living available on Anna Maria, is pretty much the industry standard for new outdoor construction. Kitchens are being equipped with multiple cooking surfaces and multiple barbeque areas, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and islands, as well as shatterproof dinnerware designed to look like high end pottery, for outdoor use.
In addition, companies that sell high-end kitchen equipment for outdoor kitchens have developed a dishwasher specifically designed for the outdoors – built with stainless steel casing, specialized tubing and electric systems to resist dampness. Also available are outdoor TVs, created to withstand foul weather and temperatures from 24 degrees below zero up to 122 degrees. One of the companies that sell these TVs is SunBrite, which claims its price has come down considerably with its 32-inch, outdoor TV now costing $1,495. down more than $1,000 in recent years.
Outdoor furniture companies also are expanding their lines of outdoor furniture and rugs to meet the demand as well as adding outdoor artwork and floral arrangements. But that’s just the beginning. Outdoor spaces are being converted to tiki huts, custom designed bars and flooring using brick and stones, including fireplaces and retractable screening. You may not need the screening, however, if you install a mosquito control system to go along with your cooling-mist system.
Even Florida can get chilly in the winter, so don’t forget to add the old stand by fire pit and/or radiant-heat light fixtures. And for the seriously decadent in all of us an outdoor movie theatre, pizza oven and beer tap. It goes without saying that homes have evolved from simply being shelter with four walls and a roof to elaborate structures that express our tastes and wealth, and I doubt it will end with over the top outdoor entertaining spaces.
My poor parents would have a stroke if they saw all this, but I wonder if the burgers really taste any better cooked in a $100,000 outdoor kitchen than on my father’s homemade brick barbeque. No longer are we just looking for a room with a view. Now the room has become the view, a long way from that brick barbeque.
Even if you didn’t get a new outdoor kitchen under your tree this morning I bet your holiday burger will taste just as good. Have a happy and peaceful holiday.