Qualified Remodeler Magazine

SEP 2018

Qualified Remodeler helps independent remodeling firms to survive, become more professional and more profitable by providing must-have business information, namely best business practices, new product information and timely design ideas.

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Page 58 of 79

Kitchen and Bath, says she's been designing several such outdoor kitchens each of the past five years, using a stainless steel cabinetry in partnership with Danver, an outdoor kitchen company. ese full kitchens tend to use multiple appliances—ice makers, kegerators, outdoor grills, smokers, tappenyaki grills, refrigerators—along with sinks and faucets. e difference between designing for outdoor spaces versus indoors revolves around finish. Appliances do not need to be flush with the cabinets and so forth. But the appli- ances, sinks, faucets and surfaces do have to be durable. ere is a lot of fog and moisture, she notes, so ev- erything must be air-tight and hold up well to water. e company likes to specify Dekton by Cosentino ul- tra-compact sintered surfaces because they hold up better than natural stone. ey do not fade. ey also tend to specify 16-gauge steel sinks. ey operate just like indoor kitchens, but the finishes are sturdier and tougher. "Designing an outside kitchen is a very similar process to designing an inside kitchen," Collins explains. "ey must select everything from the appliances that they wish to use out there—whether it is a pizza oven that is going to get built in, [an] ice maker, or obviously grills and things like that. So it's about finding out about the appliances and the items that the client needs and desires, and then working the cabinets around to make storage in the space that is left over." CONSTRUCTION CONSIDERATIONS It goes without saying that outdoor construction offers a different set of challenges. Trees, shrubs and topography play a major role in the timing and phasing of an out- door construction project, Hendy says. His clients expect the Neal's Remodeling team to smooth out all of these natural challenges as well as manage the wide variety of trade contractors—from plumbers and electricians to landscapers and pool contractors. "We are a process-oriented company," Hendy says. "So therefore, we have clients who are looking for somebody who is going to ride herd over those kinds of folks. So they are looking for a pool person they can trust. "What I am seeing is a bunch of landscapers who do a nice job and know that aspect of it. But when it comes to building a trellis, they are in trouble," he continues. "You can say the same thing about a pool guy. When the pool guy gets his pool in, it has got to have the hardscape around it. ese guys don't want to do the hardscape. But they need to have the pool at the right level. And all of a sudden they are not capable of making sure all of these things are thought about. ey are just thinking about their pool and moving on. at's what we do." e same is true for Collins and her outdoor kitchen work. Inside kitchens tend to have level floors to start with. Outside, they must work hard to create a level surface. Outdoor kitchens are growing in sophistication and are intricately designed, says kitchen designer Cynthia Collins of Gilmans Kitchen & Bath in San Mateo, California. "Outside you are dealing with uneven surfaces," Collins notes. "Oftentimes it needs to be made into an even surface. e cabinets have leveling legs, which is helpful because the boxes are built like an European fra- meless box—it has leveling legs, but we still need to start with a fairly level area and proceed from there." And because outdoor cabinets tend to be stainless steel, the measurements need to be more precise. "ey cannot be cut," says Collins, chuckling. In suburban Philadelphia, hillsides become opportuni- ties for progressions in formal and informal spaces, but it has to be coordinated and staged accurately, Bonner says. A PROFITABLE LUXURY NICHE e commonality for all regions of the country are the clients. Most are successful in their careers. Budget tends not to be an issue. ey seek to add entertaining space just like they would buying a second home. is is dis- cretionary money they can spend as they wish. "ese projects are more than profitable," Hendy says. "And from that standpoint of where we were doing a lot of room additions 20 years ago, now I am doing more outdoor living areas than I am doing room additions. It was not by design; it was just a different focus. A lot of our clients have a family room or a four-bedroom house. Now it's a question of giving them something that they are really desiring." | Photo: Treve Johnson Photography QualifiedRemodeler.com QR September 2018 59

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