And Then Some
While kitchen and bath designers can make a nice profit from items their customers know they want, it's the additional amenities - the ones that clients may know little about - that really push margins higher.
"The extra details are what make the outdoor space really spectacular, and also increase the function," notes Whyte.
In addition to side burners, accessories for the grill include rotisseries, smoker boxes, custom grill plates, griddles, barbecue trays, fryers and steamers. "These all add a ton of functionality that will out cook your indoor kitchen," stresses Chadwick.
A deep fryer works well outside, "because nobody really wants the smell of hot grease in the house," comments David Shay, AKBD, ASID/ip, kitchen and bath designer, Cooks Design Studio, in Sarasota, FL. "I've had numerous clients who like to fish but don't want to cook their catch in the house. With the outdoor fryer, the fish ends up getting cooked outside, and the odors are no longer a part of the house."
Shaw notes that the kamado-style cooker - the ceramic egg - is also growing in popularity. "It gives people the best of both worlds," he explains. "Now, they can have this stainless steel built-in barbecue, and then a few feet away a built-in kamado-style cooker that retains heat and moisture and gives almost a convection style of cooking. It's actually a smoker."
Pizza ovens are also gaining momentum in the outdoor kitchen, especially those that are wood-fire or gas rather than brick.
"I have recommended the Alfresco VersaBurner, which is a 60,000 BTU burner that's great for a 60 qt. pot for cooking lobsters and crabs," notes Shaw. To go with it, he suggests a pot filler. "Instead of keeping them at the typical counter height, we drop them down to 18" so there is no need to lift the heavy pot," he reports.
While clients may not initially understand the need for a ventilation system with an outdoor kitchen, designers cannot stress enough the importance of including some kind of vent hood for this type of space.
"A lot of covered patio areas have a natural capture zone for the smoke from the grill," explains Shay. "When your food is being fired up and you're creating all of that smoke and odor, it sort of billows out and gets caught in the ceiling. And then when you open up the sliding door, it gets sucked into the house."
And, just like indoors, a beautiful backsplash can really personalize the space.
"A backsplash is a great way to add profitability," remarks Whyte. "Just like in their primary kitchen, homeowners often put the outdoor kitchen backsplash on the back burner, but a nice backsplash can add so much personality and interest to an outdoor kitchen."
Whyte's firm proposes a backsplash right from the start so the completed space "looks finished, and not like something is missing behind the cabinetry," she states.
Once customers get into the idea of personalizing the space with a backsplash, the upgrades begin. Whyte notes that she's had customers who have had special tiles they wanted used in the backsplash. Chason adds that the inclusion of metal and mosaic backsplashes, while more costly, provide added dimension and style.
Whyte has had requests to incorporate different stones and materials into custom concrete countertops for a more personal touch. "This can include pebbles or beach glass that the customer collected on a trip," she remarks.
To increase profits, Whyte also tries to incorporate roof structures in her outdoor spaces. "These provide shade and allow clients to use the outdoor kitchen on rainy days. They also help to protect the products from the weather," she notes.
Overhead structures can also protect the latest key addition to outdoor entertainment spaces - the flat screen television. "You have to be more cognizant of configuring the space so that direct sunlight is not going to hit the screen," notes Shay.