Thursday, Sep 27, 2012

Think outside the indoor box
By PAUL WELLS, Calgary Sun Homes

Canadians are bringing the creature comforts of the indoors into the great outdoors. According to Home and Hearth's Preston Meyer, the outdoor room is a major trend.

"Many homeowners are creating outdoor spaces for cooking, dining, relaxing and entertaining," he says.

"And they are doing so with the same detail they used throughout the interior of their house."

One of these outdoor products is the built-in barbecue kitchen island.

Offering different size barbecues and a variety of work areas, fridges, side burners, wine coolers and even CD-DVD players, everything under the sun -- or moon -- can be incorporated.

The outdoor kitchen can streamline the summer entertaining experience -- why run through the house and leave guests unattended when all your kitchen amenities can be at your fingertips?

"Some manufacturers even offer modular components so that the consumer can pick what style and shape and then take home and install in an afternoon," Meyer says.

"Interior trends -- the colours and styles of furniture -- are also happening outdoors when people are looking o buy deck and patio furniture," says Ken Toon, owner of Kitchen and Patio Furniture Gallery.

"People are looking at their backyard as an extension of their home and for entertaining."

With modern outdoor furniture constructed utilizing strong and easily-maintained synthetic materials which are incredible weather-resistant, the main focus of consumers is to purchase furniture which allows them to create their own sense of outdoor style.

And, as is the case every spring, certain trends are emerging.

"Style-wise we're seeing more and more people moving away from conventional outdoor furniture and moving toward a mixed-media of materials," Toon says.

"For example, mixing wicker and teak together or aluminum with wicker or teak."

In terms of colour, Mother Earth would seem to dominate.

"Earth tones are still extremely popular," Toon says. "Darker colours -- the blacks, dark rusts and dark browns are also the choice quite often."

Although summer has been nothing but a rumour in Calgary thus far, Toon says city residents continue to put a lot of effort into making their patio or deck a place of comfort.

"We have a short summer, so when you have the ability to enjoy your backyard, it's enjoyable," he says.

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