Man Caves, She Sheds, and Cozy Outdoor Kitchens

If you’re itching for an upgrade, either a new house or new spaces for the home you’re in now, here’s a suggestion – look outside.

While for most of the country the backyard is either too hot or too cold for a few months each year, adding outdoor “rooms” with roofs and/or walls for shade and wind and rain protection, fans to move the air, and fire pits or patio heaters to warm up the chilly nights can extend the usage of this underutilized living space to almost year ’round.

There are three types of outdoor rooms that are trending now, and for good reasons.

The Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens go far beyond the good ole gas grill. Some basics are a wrap around counter top with bar stools, gas grill with burners, a pizza oven, prep counter and sink. But we bet you’ll spend more time out there, and get more from your investment, if you think about some extras that match the way you cook and live.

Will you want to use the space even when the skies aren’t so blue? Then a roof and partial enclosures on the north and west are likely to extend your usage. How many people will you want to accommodate in the work area? What about the dining space? Outdoor kitchens are just like indoor kitchens, when you have company it’s where everyone wants to hang out. Be sure you won’t be stepping on each other’s toes or the cook will end up presiding over the kitchen alone while everyone else gathers around the table.  Will you frequently cook or dine outside after the sun is done for the day? Then you’ll want to give some thought to your lighting plan.

Of course you’ll want to make it beautiful too. Depending on your personal style you can add mosaic tiles or stained concrete for the counters and/or floors. Add the elements of fire and water by incorporating a fire place or fire table and water features or fountains. Plants and music add to your outdoor experience as well, so don’t forget the landscaping and weather-proof speakers.

Man Caves, She Sheds, or Any Retreat You Want

We’re not sure who got the idea that men and women needed retreats away from each other. But we’re pretty sure that you could take all the creative ideas for man caves and she sheds and turn them into any kind of retreat your heart, or lifestyle, desires.

If you have a shed that’s great. If you don’t you can add one (even a prefab shed can be turned into something spectacular) or you can put up a structure that suits your style and budget. Here are just some of the retreat ideas we came up with, hopefully they’ll give you some ideas as well.

— Do you need a quiet place to take your book or laptop where you can read, dream, doze, and pretend the world is going to run itself just fine without you? Make a protected nest with all the comforts of home, outside the house.

— Maybe a romantic retreat is just what you’ve been missing – hang a hammock for two or install a dreamy curtained bed and lots of pillows.

— Do you have a hobby or creative pursuit that you can’t seem to find a place for in any room in the house? Take it outside and build your own craft shed with good lighting, lots of organization space, and counter tops or tables where you can leave your project out without disrupting dinner.

— Family movie nights, or game days, can be a lot more fun when they’re enjoyed on the big screen. Set up your shed with one blank wall to act as a screen and get a projector. Add blue tooth speakers and it’s show time.

— Maybe you’ve always wanted a pool table or ping pong table but can’t spare the floor space inside. A redecorated shed might be just the solution you’ve been wishing for.

— Of course kids need retreats too, or maybe you need a respite from having the kids inside. One of the original uses for the back yard shed was a playhouse, and that’s still a great use of the space.

— The shed can also be a perfect addition to the outdoor kitchen. Set it up as a bar or serving area, or even use it as part of the kitchen itself.

Whatever living space you decide to add to your backyard, whether you’re considering a new home, or an equity loan to cover the cost of your additions, our licensed loan officers are here to help you finance it. You can easily apply now, or call us to learn how we can help. And remember that we really are the “home of the 8-day close” because we offer in-house underwriting on our loans so we can have you in your new home, or ready to start your new outdoor kitchen, in only eight days.

Missouri: 314.839.9999
Kansas: 913.344.9999
Colorado: 303.740.9999

Photo: Flickr/Wicker Paradise