SEAR-iously Hot Innovations in Outdoor Living
Outdoor living is by no means a new concept, yet it is full of new and exciting surprises. Curiously, over the last ten years of volatility in the housing market, outdoor living has incrementally increased in popularity. Inverse to the decreasing size of homes, outdoor living is on the rise. Space lost indoors appears to be recouped outside, and with no fewer amenities than you would find inside. Many are entertaining outdoors, growing gardens, and creating more privacy. In many cases, homeowners are looking to develop outdoor living areas while also addressing common problems arising from water and flooding.
Whatever the motive, the rise of outdoor living continues to grow and evolve.
A roundup of living trends and design developments was published earlier this year in AIA Architect, in The Coming Decade for Residential Design. Writers Kermit Baker and Jennifer Riskus suggest that the rise of outdoor living has lurched into popularity primarily as a reflection of underlying social and economic trends and increasing preferences toward informality and a more casual approach in our living patterns. “Formal living rooms and dining rooms are disappearing, replaced by great rooms, dens, and open-space layouts.”
Looking out the backdoor, the focus is shifting beyond decks, patios, and grills “to outdoor kitchens and fully furnished outdoor rooms”.
Americans aren’t just blurring the boundaries between indoors and out, we are now obscuring all the seams and joints. The boundaries aren’t blurry any longer they’re practically invisible. Why the shift?
Hints from Fashion
Informal living appears to mirror casual fashion. We reach for distressed denim, designer flip flops and swingy organic cotton tees, and more often than only on Saturdays. Casual can also be luxuriously elegant. This February, relaxed silhouettes, care-free off-the-shoulder tops, and luxury materials in loose languid layers graced the runways at New York Fashion Week in the Spring 2016 Shows.
Scholar, public historian, and teacher, Deirdre Clemente has spent the last decade studying the rise of casual dress. In her August 2015 article for Time.com, Why and When Did Americans Begin to Dress So Casually? Clemente states, “To dress casual is quintessentially to dress as an American and to live, or to dream of living, fast, loose and carefree.” Why are we moving toward more informal patterns of everyday living? If we look to casual fashion, it’s
“freedom to choose how we present ourselves to the world.”
Immersive Outdoor Innovations
If comfort and freedom are the mantra of personal style, outdoor living has not missed any cues. If it could be just as comfortable outside and if we could break through the barrier of being confined inside, outdoor living innovations are at your service. Outdoor-grade materials, furnishings and appliances have advanced dramatically in recent years and with remarkable design details that will make you swoon, such that nearly every comfort one could enjoy while living inside has been reinterpreted for exterior conditions. Pick your muse.
Answering the call for grilling aficionados, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet has introduced a nationally celebrated hybrid grill, doing all the work of a charcoal grill, gas grill and smoker with one hero grilling unit. Kalamazoo Outdoor’s Artisan Fire Pizza Oven was heralded by David Rosengarten for Forbes.com in April this year as one that makes
“the best pizza you’ve ever made at home (a pizza which actually tops a lot of pizzeria pizza too!)”.
Rosengarten notes that grilling, “a kind of religion in America”, is nothing new, yet now “we are a nation of foodies…and foodies want new toys, new ways to cook old things, not to mention new things to cook.”
If you have a greater affection for play, Janus et Cie offers gamers a cool modern indoor/outdoor stainless steel Foosball Table and Ping Pong Table. If your gatherings revolve around digitally streamed entertainment, you can now also achieve precision audio-visual ambiance and sophistication without complexity. Advances in outdoor-rated automated equipment including flat-panel TVs, high-definition projectors and hidden waterproof speakers are transforming the event of watching the game, a YouTube clip, or a movie under the stars into an immersive outdoor home theatre experience.
To amplify the ambiance and convenience of outdoor living space, LED lighting integrated with automation systems, can be zoned, dimmed, scheduled and even color controlled all from the convenience of your handheld device. With vast improvements in the quality and control of LED lighting in the last five years, significant energy savings, and the brilliance of not having to change a single bulb for 10, 15, 20 years, the market for LED solutions is flooding with demand.
Heart of Outdoor Living
Define the heart of your outdoor home. Whether kitchen and grill, pool and cabana, fireplace or fire pit, defining your focus area will work as a gauge for making supportive design decisions. To assure your time outdoors is spent more for enjoyment than ongoing maintenance, investing in thoughtful planning, quality materials and equipment, integrated automation solutions, and professional design and construction services will result in an
outdoor living space that delivers large on leisure and dramatically less on labor.