Q&A - Ask An Expert
Outdoor Kitchen/Entertainment Area
Answered Tuesday 22 November 2011 |
Hi Cherie. I was wondering what your thoughts are on outdoor kitchens/entertainment areas and how much should you spend. We are in a family suburb in NW Sydney (Waitara). We love the outdoors in summer, BBQs with friends and family, but is it worth it from a resale point of view building in a BBQ, sink, drinks fridge etc. Have you done any of these types of areas? We currently have a hardwood timber deck off the combined kitchen/living/dining area and want to "style it up". Any ideas? Thanks
I absolutely love outdoor entertaining area's and 99.9% of other people that live in Australia do too. Outdoor entertaining is part of the Australian way of life. Outdoor entertaining area's (commonly called outdoor rooms now) do add real value to a property especially if your indoor communal area's such as your lounge room, kitchen and dining area are on the smallish side. In effect, the outdoor room becomes an extension / continuation of your internal area's. The ideal layout is to have your internal living zone area's (ie: open plan kitchen, dining and lounge area) lead directly out onto your outdoor entertaining zone. This may mean you may need to create a larger doorway (ie: glass bi-fold or glass sliders in a much larger scan with ideally no support posts or ridge in the flooring) between the indoor and the outdoor area. Your outdoor entertaining area will have significantly higher property value if you have a proper roof and ceiling with downlights underneath and the walls to the side of the outdoor area are enclosed or semi-enclosed so if feels like a proper extension of the house. This will mean its a structural renovation to which you will need council approval.
What you spend on this extension should always be relative to the property value so keep your wits about you to ensure you don't over-capitalise. A good rule of thumb is for every dollar you spend, it should return you a minimum of $ 2.00, ideally $3.00 return for every dollar invested. Therefore if a builder comes out and quotes you $50,000 to do these works, you need to ask yourself "is this outdoor room going to add an extra $100,000 (ideally $150,000) in extra value to my property? Local comparable sales should be able to assist you in determining if its worth it.
In respect to the actual style, "less is more". Outdoor area's look good when your outdoor kitchen flows seamlessly from the internal kitchen in a continuous line outdoors. This is good if you are renovating your internal area at the same time. Try and bank your outdoor kitchen to one side of the area so you free up the space to have an outdoor table and enough room for chairs to be pushed out from the table with ease. Keep the style modern and contemporary and dress the area up with modern pots with tropical plants such as succulents or yakka's to bring the visual interest into the area. Outdoor rooms really don't need a lot of work or wow features, just keep them clean, simple, uncluttered and functional area's to use. That will add real value alone to your property.
I personally have done these types of alts & adds to properties I have renovated and have found them to be extremely worthwhile in the target suburbs I focus my renovation projects in. I believe doing this in Waitara will add value provided you have a good well located property that does not have any other major buyer objections (ie: being on a busy road or too close to shops etc).
Good luck, get cracking on it!