When remodeling their Elkins Meadows home seven years ago, Dianne Fox-Welch and her husband, Keith Welch, prioritized adding an outdoor kitchen.
They added a two-burner stove, barbecue grill, two refrigerator drawers and an icemaker and sink. One of their three outdoor fireplaces is also used for cooking steaks and roasts.
“I think we use our outdoor space as much as we do our indoor space, when the weather allows,” Fox-Welch said. “We love to be outdoors, and we love to entertain outdoors.”
The couple’s interest in cooking outdoors is not unique, and according to the American Institute of Architects, the trend growing more popular.
In a design trends survey published in March, 50 percent of architects surveyed said outdoor kitchens are a trend increasing in popularity.
The trend is apparent in Steamboat Springs, where the Welch’s home is currently on the market for $5.25 million, listed by Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty broker Charlie Dresen.
Dresen said outdoor kitchens, and all outdoor spaces, seem to be a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon.
“Steamboat’s really conducive for living outside,” Dresen said. “It just makes sense to expand the living space of the home.”
Dresen said Steamboat’s mild temperatures most of the year and lack of bugs make outdoor living popular, in addition to adding living space for small and large homes. Outdoor kitchens are also less maintenance than lawns and landscaping, he said.
At the Welch home, Dresen said a pass-through window from the indoor kitchen to the outdoor kitchen makes it easy to pass the salt and pepper outdoors or pass dirty dishes inside.
“It’s a huge sliding window,” Dresen said.
Dresen said the Welch’s outdoor kitchen is heated, and many outdoor spaces have propane or natural gas heat lamps or fireplaces and firepits for added evening warmth.
Dresen said some outdoor living spaces are wired for audio, and he’s even heard of televisions in outdoor living areas, though he’s not sure he’s supportive of that idea.
Fox-Welch said that, though the couple plans to travel after selling their home, they’d be on the lookout for an outdoor kitchen the next time they settle down.
“Outdoor space is important to us,” she said.