Q. Outdoor kitchens are, of course, especially popular with families who entertain frequently. In terms of entertaining, discuss some of the advantages that derive from building an outdoor kitchen.
A. These spaces allow homeowners the flexibility of entertaining friends and family in settings that are conducive to large gatherings and where spills and messes are not concerns. The adults can cook or sit in the space to visit and talk; children play within sight in the backyard. Exterior cooking and grilling can even take less time than certain indoor food preparation tasks, given modern technologies suited to exterior cooking areas.
Some homeowners might build an outdoor kitchen to express their design creativities and “show off” their “second kitchens” to their friends and family members.
The ease of entertaining outdoors, relaxed formality, mood set by lighting, fragrances from nearby gardens, and a more tranquil environment all add to the ambiance of such a space. Deciding whether form follows function or vice versa is truly up to the homeowner. But, no matter the type or style, the goal should be to build an outdoor kitchen that permits the homeowner ease of use for entertaining large or small groups, whichever is preferred.
Q. In addition to the advantages they offer for entertaining and for daily al fresco dining, how else would you account for the fact that more and more folks are building these rooms outside?
A. Building them allows homeowners the opportunity to spend a lot of quality time at home, without leaving the comfort of their own property.
They also give homeowners the opportunity to create customized backyard oases.
Even with the expense of building an outdoor kitchen, it can be less money in some cases than paying for a family vacation. If not true in other situations, the long-term value of the outdoor kitchen and its day-to-day use certainly equates to worth.
If you're seeking a “staycation,” building an outdoor kitchen gives you the opportunity to bring your favorite vacation destinations to the backyard. For example, a Tuscan-style enclosure would create the sense of actually being in Italy. Preparing traditional Italian fare in a Tuscan-style space provides the instantaneous bliss of dining abroad. When times get tough, homeowners are looking for ways to enjoy their summer vacations without spending huge budgets. These spaces give them a unique place to enjoy summer barbecues and backyard relaxation many times and in many ways without spending travel dollars. These types of environments serve as a convenient, relaxing escape in backyards.
Another reason why homeowners are building outdoor kitchens is the fact that people are busy. Preparing evening meals outside is quicker and more efficient, with grilling times often roughly half the cooking time as compared to when cooking indoors. Such areas extend living spaces beyond interiors and typical patios and decks. Not only this, homeowners are able to enjoy the great outdoors while preparing food, mixing drinks, and visiting with family and friends.
Q. Long-term value is one reason to build an outdoor kitchen. Discuss ROI, for the sake of homeowners who may be selling their homes someday.
A. According to many experts, the cost of building outdoor kitchens can be recouped when selling a home. In addition, in about one-third of the cases, they even help homeowners sell homes faster and add profit to their overall sales. They can be the determining factor for prospective buyers. They interest home buyers like no other aspect of the yard, as evidenced by select sources.
In a competitive economy, homeowners face the challenge of differentiating their residence from others. These spaces are a unique selling point that could act as a deciding factor amongst perspective home buyers. Also, they will last and provide enjoyment for decades. The enjoyment to be had from dining outside is passed from homeowner to homeowner.
Q. Can building an outdoor kitchen still be a good investment for those who have no intention ever of selling their homes?
A. Yes, because they also give homeowners the freedom to prepare food for their families, without heating up an indoor cooking area -- a common preference during the warm summer months. This can reduce cooling costs.
They also provide spaces that include value-added activities, where the outdoors becomes not only an extension of the home’s living areas, but transitions the yard areas into the home’s atmosphere. For homeowners never intending to sell their properties, having such a space is like having more than one bathroom in a house. They offer double the cooking space and double the family space. Sometimes, a client wants to build an outdoor kitchen because their indoor cooking area is small or outdated. In some cases, outdoor kitchens become the main cooking areas.
Q. Is there a ballpark figure you can give us for the cost of a typical installation?
A. Obviously a primary consideration for homeowners is to determine what their vision is for the outdoor kitchen, and budget. Homeowners should generally plan on spending around $12,000 – $15,000 to build an outdoor kitchen, but for those with more creativity and cash, the tab can easily reach $100,000.
The budget estimation above is an accurate assessment. Homeowners should put a lot of thought and consideration into their budgets. The outdoor kitchen should be a stress-free place of relaxation. Worrying about financial ramifications will take away from the enjoyment.
These spaces can be as ornate and technical in nature as any indoor equivalent, or a simple and basic exterior area to grill and dine. The style, components, features, and appliances of outdoor kitchens will dictate the cost of design and building. Exploring all options and their related costs upfront is a means to realizing a budget without exceeding it in the end.
On Page 3 we continue our discussion....