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Hearth & Home August 2014

Richard Wright
Hearth & Home Magazine

Outdoor Room Design Ideas

Over the past six or seven years, Hearth & Home has invited architects, designers and landscape architects to subscribe to the magazine. We believed then – still do now – that developing a relationship with the greater community of designers would be beneficial to our base of manufacturers and retailers.

It’s also beneficial to those designers, because Hearth & Home regularly covers most aspects of the Outdoor Room – a trend that began perhaps 15 years ago, that remains far from its peak, and is of interest to just about every designer in North America. (Yes, the Outdoor Room trend is even going strong in Canada!).

A few months ago, with our annual Outdoor Room issue coming up in August, we decided to ask these professionals to send us images of Outdoor Rooms they have created. Our goal was to put together a special section that could be used by all of our readers to provide design ideas to their customers.

We were pleasantly surprised by the terrific response we received. About 160 companies sent us hundreds and hundreds of images. After examining each one, we selected projects that ranged from the very expensive to the very inexpensive, then sent those folks a brief questionnaire to complete. Our writer, Lisa Readie Mayer, followed with a phone call.

The result is a 24-page special section in this issue of Hearth & Home; next year look for it be even larger. We thank all those who went to the effort of sending us images of their wonderful Outdoor Room projects.

Fire Features

Combining her trained talent for sculpture and a fascination with fire has allowed Elena Colombo to create works of art and a burgeoning international business. Her company, now called Fire Features, was started in 2004. Over that 10-year period she has produced scores of outdoor sculptures, and a few for interior use; she has worked with water, and over water; for giant corporations, and with many individuals; at price points below $5,000, and some above $300,000.

Opportunity in College Housing

The private sector has finally noticed the great opportunity for creating rather upscale housing for college students.

The Marshall, an $86.7 million complex developed by EdR, features 315 one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments and townhomes, private bathrooms for each bedroom, kitchens with stainless-steel appliances and granite counters, a washer and dryer in each unit, an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, tanning beds, grilling area, outdoor living spaces with fire features, Zen garden, computer lab, and ground-level, street-front retail stores.

Whew! During our collegiate years we recall rather Spartan accommodations in a brick building with drab green, cinder-block interior walls and certainly no kitchen, no pool, no tanning salon or grilling area.

Manufacturers and retailers alike should explore this trend. There’s opportunity for sales of patio furnishings, barbecues, fire pits, etc.

Major Developers Offer Outdoor Rooms®

It may have taken a while, but major developers – the Big Boys such as PulteGroup – have discovered the Outdoor Room and what it means to excitement and sales in the building community. Different firms offer different options, however, there’s opportunity here both for manufacturers and retailers. Get out from behind your desk or sales counter and go talk to the developers working your area.

If the Preview Show held in Chicago in mid-July is any indication, the Casual Market should be great this year!

More Stories in this Issue

Miami Heat

By Lisa Readie Mayer

Luxapatio is the hot retail store behind some of south Florida’s coolest outdoor living environments.

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The Spark of Creativity

By Richard Wright

Elena Colombo has found her niche creating Fire Features that display her artistic skills and delight her clients; her work is unique.

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Special Section: The Outdoor Room Design Ideas

What is an Outdoor Room? To some it is a grand pavilion with an imposing fireplace, an appliance-packed, custom-masonry outdoor kitchen, distinct areas for dining, entertaining and relaxing, TVs, sound systems and other entertainment amenities, and a fabulous swimming pool or water feature all set against a stunningly landscaped and hardscaped backdrop.

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True-ly American

By Richard Wright

What starts in St. Louis, remains in St. Louis – at least that’s the case for True Manufacturing and its line of refrigeration products.

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2014 June Business Climate

In early July, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,412 specialty retailers of hearth, barbecue and patio products, asking them to compare June 2014 sales to June 2013. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 2,322 useable returns.

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Parting Shot: Au Naturel

The Green Lady – she’s but one of the attractions at the Eden Project in the county of Cornwall, UK. Eden is a top garden tourist attraction at the southwestern tip of the country.

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