The International Builder’s Show (IBS) recently concluded in Orlando, Florida. The annual trade show drew in a crowd of 80,000 for talks on the innovative products and ideas leading the industry forward today. Eldorado Stone employees attended the event and enjoyed three days of educational sessions and exciting manufacturer/supplier conversations.
Sue Nadolski, our director of business development for the Outdoor Living division, was a panelist during the Outdoor Living: From Novelty to Necessity session along with two other industry veterans. Here’s a recap of what she shared during the panel discussion:
On meeting customer expectations.
The overall use of a space throughout the year tends to remain the same regardless of climate. Homeowners adapt their spaces based on local climates to maximize the time they can spend outdoors. We tell our team not to be afraid of taking things outside, because many indoor items transition well to an outdoor setting. Designers must ask clients the right questions to help them expand their kitchen spaces seamlessly to the outdoors. Every detail, from the lighting to the textiles used, matters.
How do you walk clients through the thought process?
We listen to their stories and dreams to make educated recommendations. For example, many of our clients have children. We help them think about the flow of the space. Would you want a bunch of grass-stained 8-year-olds traipsing through the home to grab a juice box, or would an outdoor refrigerator make more sense?
What are some key trends you’re seeing beyond outdoor kitchens?
We’ve noticed the use of fire features outside the barbecue space. From installing a new outdoor fireplace to clustering smaller elements together for an intimate conversation space, designers and clients are getting creative about where and how they use the outdoor space. The fireplaces and smaller features weren’t common in the industry 10 years ago. In the same way our industry evolved in thinking about basements and great room design, we’re now moving into outdoor living spaces.
What are some needs and concerns for establishing an outdoor space?
In many ways, outdoor spaces are like new home constructions. Designers and clients must take lighting, plumbing, and other infrastructure elements into consideration. Often, people invest a lot of money in the space, so we strive to build it out properly.
On the future of outdoor spaces in the next five years.
At Eldorado Stone, we strive to connect with our clients and create truly enjoyable outdoor spaces, and Sue’s time on the panel reflects our business’s core approach in the industry. If you’re interested in learning more about the industry and what we do, reach out to our office for more information.
The outdoor design frontier is expanding beyond residential spaces to large living environments in universities, apartments, and condos. Students want to spend time outside, and schools are taking advantage of new options to bridge the gap between indoor and outdoor spaces.
Commercially, hospitals, government buildings, and parks are bringing more activities outside (similar to the restaurant trend of rooftop bars). In general, people want to be outdoors, and the key question we must answer in the next few years is, “How can we take other types of products outdoors and enjoy them there?”