With many Americans deciding to live in community with one another, whether as a result of multiple generations of the same family at a single property or because the broad range of multifamily offerings and amenities simply can’t be beat, it’s time to rethink the way we form and finish our shared spaces. This is particularly true in the outdoor category, which has exploded in popularity in recent years.
Buyers in all markets are looking for the type of outdoor experiences at home that used to be reserved for warm-weather states only: cooking, entertaining and relaxing under the open sky, no matter the season. Particularly in the context of shared spaces, there’s nothing more attractive than a warm and inviting atmosphere that is multi-functional and includes the same allure of our homes’ interior spaces.
As humans, we’re innately social creatures, even when we are surrounded by an increasing number of digital tools and resources. In fact, the level of isolation that many people feel as a result of the digital revolution has prompted many to pursue more social connections and gathering opportunities, such as sharing meals under the stars or enjoying intimate conversations with family and friends by a crackling fire.
Here are two options to help homeowners calibrate their outdoor, shared spaces for optimum gather-ability:
1. Lighting the Night
Outdoor living, at its best, invites people to reinforce the ties they have to one another and to the natural world. From movie viewing under the summer sky to deep discussions around a fire, it’s all about bringing people together and providing a variety of opportunities for connection. From fire pits and sculpture-inspired fire bowls, to various outdoor fireplace configurations, there are many amazing products to transform any backyard into an outdoor oasis.
For the “best of the best” integrations, push for products that bring an elevated look and elegance while also providing quick, easy installation. Materials such as glass-reinforced concrete (GRFC) offer added durability while remaining lightweight, with no sacrifice on high-end aesthetics.
2. Delightful Alfresco Dining
Prepping, cooking, plating and serving delicious meals outside is a natural extension of the heart of the home: the kitchen. When appointing an outdoor kitchen, particularly for a multifamily or otherwise communal home space, it’s important to keep the same “indoor oriented” considerations in mind and provide solutions for ample countertops, high-end appliances and embellishments like wood-burning pizza ovens and temperature-controlled beverage dispensers.
To maximize the customizability of your team’s next outdoor kitchen project, consider using prefabricated “building block” cabinets to establish the footprint and offer endless configuration options. These outdoor kitchens can be modified to accommodate any countertops and appliances on your spec list and may be faced with a wide variety of stone, brick and other surface finishes.
Ultimately, the practice of crafting and personalizing the outdoor space in today’s environment challenges us to reimagine what a backyard, side yard or shared lawn can become for those who live there. Artfully functional pieces enrich entertaining spaces by serving as conversational centerpieces, and outdoor kitchens provide all the comforts of the indoors while anchoring the at-home dining experience with a polished look that blends with the natural landscape.
With more people searching for solutions that bring multiple generations and families together in a single footprint, the great outdoors has truly evolved into the new “Great Room” of the home.
About Sarah Lograsso
Sarah Lograsso is the Director of Marketing and Product Design for Boral North America’s stone division of brands (Cultured Stone, Eldorado Stone, Kindred Outdoors + Surrounds, Versetta Stone, Dutch Quality, StoneCraft and ProStone), where she manages all of the brands’ marketing, advertising and promotional projects and objectives. She is well versed in manufactured stone and brick veneer, masonry techniques, biophilic design, fireplace surrounds, outdoor living, fire bowls, color and texture, and up-to-date industry and market trends.
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