It’s August, and this is our 11th Annual Outdoor Room issue. We began talking about the outdoor living trend way back around 1997, then, in 2004 it became an annual special section and, finally, a Special Issue every August.
In 2014, we invited members of the design community to submit images of their Outdoor Room work. For the past three years, writer Lisa Readie Mayer has worked with editorial and production staff to select the projects that are featured, and to create the copy describing each one.
It’s not a simple task, particularly at the beginning of summer, with kids home from college, a groundhog messing up the backyard, and a family of raccoons taking up unpaid residence in the house.
“Too much nature, too up close and personal,” Lisa said in an email last night. Obviously, there is such a thing as too much outdoor living. Perhaps by morning her thoughts of once again living in the city will have faded. If not, there’s always the rooftop Outdoor Room and garden in the city – and, of course, a barbecue going on a regular basis.
It’s enjoyable reviewing the work of architects, designers, landscape architects and retailers, and exciting to see the creativity and problem-solving skills displayed by these professionals. In The Outdoor Room Design Ideas section you can see for yourself.
We hope all of you involved in creating and selling the concept and reality of The Outdoor Room will use this section for ideas, and to show to clients. After all, a picture is worth – well, you know the rest. The Design Ideas section can be downloaded here.
Results of our annual survey tracking the penetration of Outdoor Room products into the specialty hearth, patio and barbecue retail channels are displayed and discussed in the article Retail Penetration. Those results are significant, because a far greater percentage of retailers are now carrying more and more of the elements that make up Outdoor Rooms.
Over the past decade, retailers have learned that being wedded to only one category of products is dangerous. Far better is to hedge their bets with a variety of products; when one category is down, the others keep the cash flowing.
Dwell & Durie
The Dwell on Design LA expo was held on the final week of June, and a 30,000 sq. ft. area was handed to Jamie Durie to curate. Durie is a well-known proponent of outdoor living; he has (or had) TV shows in the U.S. and in his native Australia; he has created a line of furniture and is a celebrity landscape designer and author of nine best-selling books.
He certainly has been one of the driving forces behind The Outdoor Room trend here in the U.S., in Australia, and in a number of other countries. You’ll find an interview with Durie and a look at Dwell on Design in the article Secret Garden.
In a few days we’ll head for Chicago and the Casual Preview Show. We’ll pretend that Chicago is still the safe city it was for decades, and we will enjoy seeing new products and old friends. See you there!