4 Things You Don’t Know About Outdoor Kitchens

Now that the 2015 International Builders’ Show has partnered with the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, there are plenty of examples of beautiful cooking spaces, indoors and out. But what about the numbers? The results of a new survey released at the show attempt to define what consumers want when it comes to outdoor kitchens.

Dave Brown, a partner with Chicago-based ad firm HY Connect, surveyed consumers who have or would like to have outdoor kitchens in their homes. The study, which surveyed households making $150,000 or more in household income across the United States, was conducted in December 2014. He discussed the results of the survey at the first day of IBS/KBIS in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

A Growing Market
While only 4 percent of affluent households have outdoor kitchens today, 13.6 percent say they are planning on adding one in 2014. Brown says that the largest age group who don’t have these amenities but are hoping to incorporate them in their living space is between the ages of 45 and 54. He also adds that those who are interested in this particular amenity are more likely to have children in the home, noting, “These are active households. They’re doing stuff.”

The Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor
The needs and wants associated with an indoor kitchen don’t necessarily translate to that of an outdoor cooking space. “Outdoors is all about socializing… it is all about having fun and a great experience,” Brown says, noting that adequate seating space is one place where home owners tend to underestimate. Also, he adds that “storage in the indoor kitchen is huge [but] in terms of the outdoors, food prep becomes more important.”

Unexpected Features Top Favorites Lists
It may not seem that surprising that survey respondents consistently rated the outdoor kitchen their favorite room in the whole house. However, their favorite features weren’t the traditional items seen in most outdoor entertainment areas. The No. 1 item that current owners of outdoor kitchen regretted leaving out was a pizza oven. “What’s loved the most is what’s unique. Fountains, fireplaces, pools,” Brown says. He adds that his backyard pizza oven serves as a gathering place for guests to participate in the food prep process. “It’s what I call ‘kitchen karaoke.’”

Integration Is Key
Brown says that many home owners start small with the intention of adding on features later. But he notes that the most successful, best-loved outdoor kitchens tend to occur when the design process is holistic: “It feels like an entire outdoor room where I can have an event and not just a bunch of stuff stuck outside.”

—Meg White, REALTOR® Magazine

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