Millennials are looking for ways to connect with their friends and socialize outdoors; a simple built-in kitchen can appeal to this growing market.
According to the 2015 Garden Trends Report, a whopping 85 percent of Millennials rate outdoor rooms as “very important or important.” Builders should take note that embracing the outdoor trend will pay off, as it has continued to thrive since 2001, when the first report was released.
“The outdoor kitchen world has exploded over the past couple years,” said Phil Zaleon of Danver, a custom maker of weather-resistant kitchens.
The trend now goes far beyond outdoor kitchens. It’s also about entertainment, which provides a sense of community—something multifamily builders can capitalize on.
Weather-proof outdoor TVs, hidden speakers and programmable smart lights turn a regular kitchen area into a Millennial and multifamily hangout destination.
A Competitive Edge
More importantly, it makes your multifamily projects stand out among others.
“Homebuyers want to be outside and entertain family and friends, and outdoor kitchens meet that need. They have now become a natural extension of pool and patio living and an affordable luxury for all homes,” says Jim Ginocchi, president of Coyote Outdoor Living.
For example, building in a mosquito prone area? Retractable awnings and enclosures become a marketing tool.
They surround the kitchen area and keep the bugs out, offering your clients comfort and convenience. Better yet, many of these systems link to smart home interfaces such as Phantom Screens, which work with Somfy myLink for smartphone integration.
Multifamily builder EYA Homes includes outdoor tech elements as a way to increase appeal and livability in their new homes.
“Areas such as sound, television and lighting are becoming just as important to our purchasers. Retractable awnings are becoming more popular as well, providing people the opportunity to use their outdoor spaces even when the temperature drops or the sun is blazing,” says Preston Innerst of EYA Homes.
Extending the Life of Outdoor Spaces
Outdoor cooking and entertaining does not have to stop when summer ends. Year-round outdoor kitchens are an excellent way to stand out in a market where many are just limited to the warmer months.
By offering add-ons to the area, the outdoor kitchen can be transformed into a yearlong space your clients will love.
Additional tech can include in-ceiling and standing heaters and wood burning fireplaces built off the kitchen island, such as Bromic’s Smart-Heat Portable Heater or Sunjoy’s compact wood burning fireplace.
Builders can also construct walls or overhangs to isolate the area and keep it safe from the elements.
Consumers Demand Outdoor Tech
The trend is growing, but what will your clients be looking for?
“Refrigeration and storage are the two most in-demand items, as people want the convenience of being able to have everything outdoors without needing to go back and forth between the outside and inside spaces,” says Innerst.
He adds that most newly-built outdoor kitchens feature a smoker or rotisserie that is separate from the main grill.
Building for luxury? Unique items like beer taps, dishwashers and vent hoods can provide an extra level of comfort to the area.
According to Garden Trend’s report, 62 percent of millennials spend more time outside than boomers. Connected tech can appeal to the growing group of millennials in multifamily.