Showroom Visitors Come Home to Outdoor Living

Showroom Visitors Come Home to Outdoor Living

By Steven Shaw

Indeed, consumers are willing to invest lavishly in these outdoor "rooms." And, after remodeling their homes, they've come to see the great outdoors as the newest frontier for luxury living and entertainingor just enjoying some fun in the sun.

Capitalizing on that idea, American Home Showplace has teamed with Conover, NC-based Laneventure to introduce a retail venue that offers consumers a new experience for creating their outdoor lifestyles.

Located in Dalton, GA, The World of Outdoor Living is a 20,000-sq.-ft. showplace for products that enhance the comfort and pleasure of entertaining outdoors, from nostalgic Americana to sleek contemporary. Designed by architect William E. Poole, the showroom itself gives the outward appearance of being a Tidewater-style home, complete with front porch.

"Once you enter the front door, you go through a section that's about 16-feet deep an interior of a house," explains Laneventure v.p./marketing Gary McCray. "When you reach the back porch, you can see three other back porches; to the left is the rear of a country French home, directly in front is the Mediterranean home, and to the right is a Georgian home."

Inside Out
The showroom is a bit difficult to describe, according to Ken Brown, director of marketing, The World of Outdoor Living, American Home Showplace. "We have basically taken a warehouse-type building and gutted it, and built full-scale facades of four different style houses to feature the different furniture. We also put a 25'x25' skylight in the middle, which really opens it up and adds a lot of light [adding to the feeling of being outdoors].

"What we've created is a courtyard type of effect," Brown continues. "You're inside the building, but it looks like you're outside because there are landscapes and you can see the back porches of several houses. It's quite honestly the most unique patio store in the country, in our opinion."

Laneventure styled four completely different outdoor environments based on the types of homes mentioned. "We included an outdoor kitchen for each one, which went from just having a grill in the smallest one to having a grill, refrigerator, side burner, drawer units and an ice chest built into the corner of one unit. We also included a fireplace for each one," McCray remarks.

Adding to the full outdoor environment, fountains and gates and fencing from other vendors were brought in to complete the picture, according to McCray. Each setting bears Laneventure's Weather-Master brand and displays complete outdoor kitchens, along with an assortment of seating pieces as well as dining sets, chaise lounges, tables, planters and desks.

In addition to the four outdoor kitchen displays, there is an actual outside kitchen, which is a "live" display, according to Brown. "It has a full-blown kitchen with two grills that work. We have featured chefs who offer demonstrations to customers and clients."

Origins of an Idea
"We have been in the outdoor furniture business for 15 years and, like everybody else in the business, we've been focused just on what makes up the outdoor room," McCray notes. "As people began to talk more about outdoor rooms and consumers began expecting more, we saw an opportunity to move into other parts of the outdoor business.

Last year, for the first time, Laneventure offered outdoor kitchen islands and fireplaces. As the company contemplated how to display these products, McCray said Laneventure turned to an old business partner.

"American Home Showplace had put a full house in its warehouse and our products were on the deck of that house," explains McCoy.

"We worked collaboratively with American Home Showplace in creating the idea for Outdoor Living. We see this as an ongoing collaboration.

"Our ultimate goal is to offer essentially everything that you would need to make a high-style, high-end outdoor room. The World of Outdoor Living is just the first step," he states.

"The store has taken the retail presentation of outdoor furnishings to the next level, where visitors experience an authentic environment," explains Art Thompson, president of Laneventure. "The World of Outdoor Living is a one-stop destination, offering inspiration for recreating their outdoor space."