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August 3, 2010 > National grilling month sparks outdoor living trends

National grilling month sparks outdoor living trends

Submitted By Morgan Zenner

It's no coincidence that July is National Grilling Month, as temperatures around the nation begin to reach their peak during this time of year. To help homeowners further enjoy their outdoor cooking skills, one of the most popular remodeling trends is building outdoor rooms-including kitchens, covered lounge spaces, and dining areas-right in the backyard. Two members of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) won 2010's Contractor of the Year (CotY) Awards for projects designed to increase the livability of outdoor spaces. Here are the highlights:


Poolside Retreat

Bluestream Builders of Oakland Park, Fla., created a backyard oasis for two retirees who wanted to expand their entertaining space. They planned the project around the elements of fire, water, and earth, using the property's curvaceous swimming pool as the focal point.

The team built a pavilion kitchen near the pool in order to provide easy access to food and drinks for the homeowners and guests lounging in the Florida sun. The outdoor kitchen applied all the elements of an interior kitchen: a smart working footprint, fully equipped stainless steel cabinets, granite counters, 48-inch gas grill, duel warming drawers, refrigerator, and sink. Creature comforts like a hot water heater and disposal help make food preparation and clean up a breeze.

In an effort to extend the season for outdoor living as long as possible, a gas fireplace and wood-burning pizza oven became the "hot spot" within the pavilion. The plan incorporated audio-visual elements such as a big-screen television and custom sound system from the start, so that the homeowners didn't have to worry about adding them later. Several seating areas were placed on the outside and inside the pavilion to accommodate guests. As a safety feature, heavy-duty screening was installed to protect the pavilion from the strong hurricane winds the Florida home sometimes faces.


Mediterranean Escape

Michael Nash Custom Homes & Kitchens Inc. in Fairfax, Va., created a multi-level, Mediterranean-style indoor/outdoor haven for a 7,000-square-foot Colonial home in Oakton, Va. The homeowners are avid entertainers who host small, impromptu gatherings and large parties of 100 guests or more. "The sprawling acreage features old stand trees, wooded paths, and a private lake," says Sonny Nazemian, president of Michael Nash Custom Homes & Kitchens. "Beautifully landscaped, it unfolds as an idyllic panorama that naturally draws people to the outdoors."

The project featured two main gathering areas: a ground level made up of 2,000 square feet of flagstone, and an open-air deck. Shaded from the summer sun, the ground-level space uses an ornate fountain to create lush ambiance for the neighboring dining table. A semi-circular wall delineates the dining space from an outdoor kitchen equipped with a 60-inch barbeque grill, prep sink, warming drawer, refrigerator, and storage. A granite countertop became a bar area for eight.

A stairway connects the lower space to the 2,500-square-foot deck above, constructed with composite wood and plastic fibers. A highlight of the deck is a U-shaped kitchenette that is protected from the elements with cedar shake shingle roofing. Like its counterpart kitchen one level below, the outdoor kitchen is equipped with grill, refrigerator, and stainless steel cabinetry. Multiple cooking spaces accommodate more than one chef so the homeowners don't have to run up and down the stairs while entertaining.

NARI Certified Remodelers can help homeowners transform indoor and outdoor spaces into entertainment areas they've always dreamed of. Log on to http://www.NARIremodelers.com/ to find a remodeler in your area. For green remodeling information, please visit www.greenremodeling.org.

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