A panel from the local building and design industry got together to discuss the emerging trend of outdoor living spaces and the new products on the market that are satisfying this need. Because of our area’s mild climate, more home buyers are investing in either improving or creating outdoor areas to utilize and entertain.
SCOTT BYERS: Has anyone noticed more client interest in outdoor living spaces?
CHARLIE TIPTON: We've seen an increase in the amount buyers are investing in the exterior — that indoor-outdoor living concept. It proves just how significant the porches are on the front and the back — double porches, large porches, sliding doors, and outdoor fireplaces. Buyers seem willing to compromise a little bit on the heated square footage of the home, but they're not willing to forego those indoor-outdoor features for sure.
CRESS BELL: And to expand on that, we're doing a lot now with the products that are available to design outdoor spaces. We can open up a 20-foot wall into a space so that we bring that indoor-outdoor kind of culture to a house. So, we do a lot of that and it's an extension of the house. From Charleston up, we benefit from winters that average 55 to 80 degrees, so these spaces can be used all year round.
CEE EDWARDS: We've got two outdoor lines that we've brought in for that reason, because the demand for outdoor living is there. People want to entertain inside and out and we're in a spot in all our locations, where the weather allows for outside entertaining year-round. People want to hang out outside and entertain while using outdoor countertops and gathering around an outdoor island.
SCOTT LECHTRECKER: One question I get a lot is, "How big can we get the windows?" I mean, that's my constant question so there's a lot of that bringing the outside in for sure.
CEE EDWARDS: And the outdoor cabinet lines have expanded. We have a lot of designs now where really nice outdoor kitchens can be created, with L-shaped islands and more. Before you could only get a certain amount of designs and now we're designing big outdoor kitchens. The base material is all PVC and the hinges and glass are all stainless, plus we can incorporate louver or shaker doors.
SCOTT BYERS: And the countertop materials have obviously changed as well, so the ability to use porcelain type products indoor and outdoor as well as quartz is changing the way our industry has done things in the past.
JOSH SMYTH: Quartz has grown immensely, but there’s also a newer product called Dekton®, an "ultra-compact surface" where the natural materials are heavily compressed into slabs. The manufacturer has essentially recreated the metamorphic process. The product has the highest resistance to UV, scratching, staining, heat — in fact you can light a fire on it and wipe off the residue and the surface will be undamaged. This new material is unbelievable. Someone mentioned the salty air — while granite is a great product, if you put it outside, you can expect some oxidation depending on the geological makeup. With Dekton®, you’re not going to get that at all. Whether you’re dealing with a single homeowner who wants a high-design natural marble look, or someone who is building a thousand homes a year, there is consistency of product from the samples to the slabs to the final product — and we’re able to offer that with this product at Majestic.
SCOTT BYERS: I would say three years ago our business was probably 65 percent natural stone, and 35 percent of that was quartz, and now it’s almost flipped. We're starting to see a push towards porcelain products such as Dekton® for both indoor as well as outdoor because it has some really unique designs. They've done some really cool things with porcelain products to almost make it look natural, but without losing the durability that’s needed.
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