Our Pacific Northwest climate generally limits outdoor dining activities to 3 or 4 months of the year.
With a growing popularity of outdoor kitchens, patio rooms and covered decks, enjoying the outdoors year-round is becoming commonplace. Whether for expanded lifestyle options or strictly for entertaining, here are some considerations for your home.
Outdoor kitchens generally include a built-in grill surrounded by solid surface counter space over weather-resistant cabinetry, mini refrigerators and frost-free prep sinks. Design criteria may include a permanent roof with lighting, radiant heaters and ventilation. As they grow in popularity, outdoor kitchen ideas continue to grace the pages of residential magazines and websites.
Patio rooms are a cross between a conservatory and a covered patio. They are often a breezeway connecting the indoors to the outdoors, with comfortable furnishings for R&R. Depending on the climate, these transition spaces may be used for family games including billiards. Often slab-on-grade construction, they are suitable for hosting large numbers of people. Removable screens or glass panels offer additional seasonal usage.
Decks are wood structures built on concrete footings. Because they have the capability of hosting more people than a given room in a home, the building code requires they have more structural capacity. It is advisable to apply for a building permit for any of these residential structures. Outdoor living spaces can add significant value to your home both in terms of lifestyle enjoyment and for resale. Although it may be rather expensive, building it right the first time will ensure life long enjoyment.
Michael Tenhulzen is president of Tenhulzen Remodeling in Redmond. For more information, contact (425) 885-9871 or www.tenhulzen.com.