LIVING OUTDOORS IN LUXURY
It’s no secret, entertaining outdoors is not what it used to be. Homeowners are going the extra mile to transform their backyards into extensions of their indoor living spaces, installing products like the Epicure 52" Outdoor Grill, which provides you with the freedom to prepare just about anything you would cook in your kitchen, so you’ll never want to cook inside again.
But creating the perfect outdoor living space doesn’t end with the grill.
Outdoor living has recently taken on a brand-new meaning, with homeowners integrating pieces normally found indoors into their backyards. It’s not unusual to see a backyard area finished with all the creature comforts you usually enjoy inside the home, including luxury accessories such as designer furnishings, fireplaces, entertainment systems and innovative lighting designs.
And because of the challenged economy, many consumers are opting to stay at home instead of traveling, increasing the need to invest in their properties in order to create the perfect getaway – in the comfort of their home.
According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, an international trade association that represents and promotes the interests of the hearth products industry in North America, Americans are spending more on outdoor rooms than ever before, so it’s not surprising they want to get as much from their investment. Manufacturers are responding to the increased demand with the introduction of a wide range of products that make life on the outside as comfortable as possible. Homeowners now have virtually unlimited options and designers have a laundry list of items they are dying to install in their next project.
Today’s patio furniture designs are a far cry from the plastic and metal folding chairs and tables we are used to seeing, featuring heavy metal and wood frames in durable and luxurious fabrics that look like they belong in the family room or in a showroom. Dining al fresco with uncomfortable seating is a thing of the past.
Certified Kitchen Designer Ann Porter of Kitchen Studio of Naples in Naples, Florida, believes every successful outdoor kitchen needs good seating and loves the Sushi collection from Gloster, which is perfect for small spaces.
Hearth products of all sizes and dimensions allow you to extend the season with the addition of an outdoor fireplace, chiminea, fire pit or patio heater, which can run on liquid or propane gas. Establishing the perfect atmosphere can be as simple as lighting a match and can also keep bugs away, which can ruin any outdoor event. However, if you prefer water to fire, Mike Stram, CEO of Home Theater Gallery in Tampa, Fla., suggests installing an automated system that periodically emits a mist to help keep bugs away.
Stram, who designs and integrates a variety of audio, video and lighting systems for outdoor applications, recommends adding a little entertainment to your outdoor space for a luxury experience.
For the ultimate outdoor entertainment setup, install an outdoor weatherproof television, like the one designed by Pantel, which is available in five sizes up to 65" widths and is more than two times brighter than a standard television.
And there is no need to worry about where to put the sound.
“Speakers for outdoor applications are available in dozens of varieties, from white to black, shaped like a rock or even a coconut,” said Stram.
Subwoofers can be hidden in landscape lights that fit into the ground and seamlessly blend into the architecture.
There are a variety of ways to conceal sound and cabling with wireless controllers that make it easy to operate your audio and video equipment as well as lighting, which is extremely important.
Appropriate lighting can enhance the functionality and décor of your outdoor living space and will also give you a few more hours to enjoy life on the outside longer. Innovative designs help illuminate hidden paths for increased safety, add a certain ambiance and can highlight the special features of your space, so there’s no reason to go back into the house.
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