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How to Build the Outdoor Kitchen of Your Dreams

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how to build an outdoor kitchen

An outdoor kitchen can be a major benefit to any home, making it possible to hold barbecues, pool parties, and picnics without having to cook indoors and miss all the fun. The right outdoor kitchen can increase property values and boost satisfaction with added outdoor living space. 

However, all outdoor kitchens aren’t made the same, and the wrong kitchen for your space can compromise your summer plans. Before charging ahead with building an outdoor kitchen, be sure you have a solid plan in place that ticks every box.

Choose a Location for your outdoor kitchen

Properties with large yards can offer plenty of areas to build an outdoor kitchen, but choosing the right space in your yard can make or break kitchen success. Make sure you do your research or contact a professional before building out your space or you’ll potentially find yourself with an awkward layout.

When picking a place to put your kitchen, consider factors like:

  • Proximity to pools, patios, or other favorite backyard features
  • Accessibility from exterior doors
  • Privacy from neighbors
  • Storage and security
  • Ease of installation

Determine Features to Highlight

Every chef has individual preferences. Some love grilling with gas, while others are dedicated to charcoal. Kegs and taps may matter to summer party fans, while an ice chest for blending chilled drinks could be priority number one for others. Regardless, it’s critical to understand that an outdoor kitchen isn’t intended to be an equivalent of an indoor kitchen. Instead, it’s a separate space to meet unique demands and likely won’t be able to accommodate the same functions and appliances as inside spaces.

When planning your kitchen, know what priorities matter most to you. This can mean the flow of your cooking space, what appliances you’d like to have, any extra amenities you can’t live without, and especially the appearance of your outdoor kitchen. Determine what you want to highlight in your outdoor kitchen – before the ball starts rolling and it’s too late.

Hire the Right Contractor

The right contractor can be the difference between an amazing end result and a failed project. Without someone who can see your vision and properly execute it, you may be left with a subpar kitchen that doesn’t meet your needs.

When vetting contractors, it’s important to look beyond the basics, like price. Instead, be sure to also consider:

  • Experience with similar projects
  • Completion timeline
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Creativity and flexibility

Select Flooring

Flooring isn’t often considered in exterior projects, but it can play a big role in how to build an outdoor kitchen space. In an outdoor kitchen, flooring needs to be safe to use while cooking, easy to clean, weather-resistant, and in line with the style preferences that will guide the rest of your kitchen decor.

If you’re not sure what kinds of flooring are common in outdoor kitchens, speaking to your contractor can help you narrow your choices and determine the right avenue to take when choosing wood, tile, stone, or concrete to use as flooring.

patio cover 1748371 1920

Shop for Countertops

Like choosing flooring, shopping for countertops is a decision that must be informed by style as well as functionality. Your counter needs to be the right size and shape for cooking expectations, but also in line with the overall look and feel you want from your kitchen.

And, like flooring, outdoor conditions need to be part of the evaluation process. Unless your kitchen will be completely covered and closed off at all times, countertops must be able to stand up to rain, wind, hail, high heat, and potentially low temperatures. So, if you live in an area like Phoenix, AZ, your countertops need to be able to withstand high temperatures, or if you live in Vancouver, BC they need to be rain resistant. Choose your countertop with appearance in mind, but durability as well. A counter that can’t stand up to your cooking demands or the local climate will not be effective. 

Select Your Appliances

The appliances you choose when building an outdoor kitchen will define its cooking abilities. The wrong appliances, such as those meant for indoor kitchens, or ones that don’t fit the space can limit efficiency and can minimize both its current value and resale value. 

When choosing appliances, use those graded for outdoor use, whether that means better durability or more weatherproofing options. In addition, keep size and scale in mind. For example, if you’re planning on hosting large barbecues, you’ll need a bigger grill than a standard residential product. 

Note that in colder climates, appliances that require electricity or water lines may need to be winterized to prevent frozen pipes and other seasonal damage.

Choose Proper Lighting

Lighting may seem like an afterthought in a kitchen that will be at least partially lit by the sun, but the lighting you choose can make a difference in providing an accessible cooking area. Further, the right lighting can keep an outdoor kitchen functional after dark.

Hanging lights, floodlights, lights built into a backsplash, or outdoor lanterns can all be effective choices depending on your space. Evaluate your usage plans, the location of your kitchen, and professional advice when it comes to knowing how to build an outdoor kitchen space. Regardless of personal preferences, always make sure lights are appropriate for outdoor use.

Decorate Your Outdoor Kitchen 

Once the basics are built out, selecting decor is the final step in how to build an outdoor kitchen. This can include adding wood or stone accents, potted plants, a fire pit, a patio, a comfy outdoor couch, or a table and chairs. How you decorate will depend on your own preferences, as well as what the space itself can accommodate.

While decorating, also consider whether you may want an awning or roof area to provide shade while cooking or to safeguard kitchen equipment from the weather. Some appliances, like refrigerated units, are best kept out of direct sunlight, so some cover could be advantageous.

Enjoy

An outdoor kitchen can be the perfect way to add a mini oasis to your backyard. The ideal complement to a spacious patio, a pool, or lovely landscaping, an exterior kitchen can make hosting parties or simply relaxing with friends and family a little easier. With the right location, a clear plan, a talented contractor, and educated choices about flooring, countertops, appliances, and decor, it’s possible to turn your yard into the entertainment destination of your dreams. 

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Real Estate

A Monument To Catalan Modernism Asks $5.9 Million In Barcelona

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Palau de la Musica

The distinct architecture of Barcelona, with its curved shapes, floral motifs and ornamentation, is defined by its Catalan Modernism. The aesthetically pleasing style was a major force in the larger Modernisme movement, which also permeated art, theater and literature at the end of the 19th century.

This recently refurbished Modernist house is located in the area of Tibidabo Mountain, the tallest hill in Collserola Natural Park, an expansive green space within Barcelona, the capital city of Catalonia.

Villa Paula, as it is known, was designed in 1912 by Spanish architect Jerome Granell Manresa. He is known for creating the stained-glass windows of Barcelona’s famed concert hall, Palau de la Música Catalana. Other examples of the stained-glass maker’s work can be found locally in the landmark Navàs House and the Hospital of the Holy Cross and Saint Paul.

Manresa’s use of sgraffito on stucco exteriors—to create contrasting color designs by scratching through the facade to reveal the layer below—remains in evidence on select residential buildings today.

The more than 8,200-square-foot home retains such original and restored Modernist features as the facade, the mosaic tilework, the high ceilings with moldings, the stained-glass windows and the Arabic-style roof crowned with green tiles. The four floors are accessed by a marble staircase and an elevator. The watchtower can serve as a guest house, an office or a studio.

The light-filled rooms have hardwood, marble or mosaic-tile floors, air-conditioning and in-floor heating. There are eight bedrooms, a conservatory, a home theater, a gym, a wine cellar and eight bathrooms.

The 10 acres of grounds contain gardens, terraces and mature trees. A gently curved staircase off the house leads to a terracotta veranda surrounding an infinity pool. A wooden deck below the pool level creates another outdoor lounging space. Views take in Barcelona and the coastline along the Mediterranean Sea. 

A two-car garage and a workshop complete the gated property.

Cristina Martinez of Immobiliaria Rimontgo is the listing agent for the estate, priced at approximately $5.93 million (EUR 4.95 million).

Villa Paula is located about five kilometers, or three miles, from Barcelona’s city center. International flights are available from Barcelona–El Prat Airport, about a 20-minute drive away.


Immobiliaria Rimontgo is a founding member of Forbes Global Properties, a consumer marketplace and membership network of elite brokerages selling the world’s most luxurious homes.

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Real Estate

Here’s Where Property Taxes Are The Highest And Lowest

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Mansion in San Francisco

Buying a home is exciting, but it’s also a huge commitment. And one of the responsibilities of homeownership is paying real estate taxes. How much you will end up paying can vary significantly depending on a variety of factors — from how much your home is worth to where you live.

To illustrate just how much variance there is in the amount of property taxes people pay, LendingTree looked at the median amount of real estate taxes paid in each of the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas. In doing so, the online lending marketplace found that homeowners in some metros can expect to pay thousands of dollars more per year than homeowners in other parts of the country.

“Different county and state governments assess property value in different ways, which can contribute to why tax amounts vary so significantly across the country,” says Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree, explaining that individual areas also have different tax rates and offer different tax breaks to homeowners, which can also affect how much people are paying in real estate taxes.

Revenue generated from property taxes is generally used to fund local projects and services such as fire departments, law enforcement, local public recreation, education, street maintenance and sanitation.

The median real estate tax amount in Las Vegas — where homeowners pay the least in property taxes — is about $7,700 cheaper than in New York, where real estate taxes are highest.

Las Vegas and Birmingham, Alabama are the only two metros where median real estate taxes amount to less than $1,000 a year. The median property tax amount paid by homeowners is $696 in Las Vegas and $892 in Birmingham.

Besides New York, homeowners pay the most in property taxes in expensive cities like San Jose, California and San Francisco. The median amount paid is $8,400 in New York, $7,051 in San Jose and $6,181 in San Francisco.

“Despite these regional differences, how much homes are selling for in a given area is usually the most important factor in determining an individual home’s value, regardless of where you live,” says Kapfidze. “As a result, places where home prices are higher like New York and San Francisco are more likely to pay higher real estate taxes than other parts of the country, even adjusting for variations in tax rate or appraisal practices.”

Real estate taxes are an average of $641 lower on homes without mortgages. Because property taxes are based in large part on home value and homes without mortgages tend to be worth less than those with mortgages, it makes sense why this is the case. Nonetheless, real estate taxes on homes without a mortgage can still be pricey, especially in areas like Salt Lake City and Seattle.

“I think it’s fair to say that knowing how much you’ll pay in property taxes is about as important as knowing how much your mortgage payment will be,” says Kapfidze. “After all, both are things you have to pay in order to keep your home, and both can be significant expenses.”

Many lenders will roll your property taxes into your monthly mortgage payments, and then use that money to pay your tax bill for you when it’s due to the government.

“As a result, while you should always double check to be sure you’re paying what you owe in taxes, you might only need to keep track of one payment a month,” explains Kapfidze. “If you’ve paid off your mortgage, then you definitely have to keep a closer eye on property taxes as you’ll likely no longer be able to count on your lender to keep track of them for you.”

Here’s the LendingTree report, including the methodology, and full list of cities where real estate taxes are highest and lowest.

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Real Estate

How Digital Technology Changed The Face Of The Mortgage Industry

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Focused man and woman using laptop, checking financial documents

The rise of digital technology ushered in a new era for the mortgage application process as borrowers took advantage of historically low interest rates and lenders embraced digital mortgages more than ever before.

A new survey on borrowing and lending by ICE Mortgage Technology finds that the pandemic has permanently changed the way consumers utilize technology, and those looking to buy or refinance a home are seeking lenders who offer online tools to complete their mortgage loans from home.

The overwhelming majority (90%) of lenders believe that technology can help improve the mortgage application process, citing benefits that include simplifying the entire process (74%), reducing time to close (70%) and minimizing data entry (67%).

“Last year brought our industry a perfect storm,” said Joe Tyrrell, president of ICE Mortgage Technology. “You not only had COVID, which required lenders to shift to virtual workforces, but you also had to continue to conduct business in a safe and socially distanced way with borrowers, all happening at the same time that we were experiencing a historical increase in loan volume.” 

He added, “This caused many lenders to re-evaluate their technology partners, how they were leveraging technology, the systems that they employed, and the tools that they relied on. We heard many stories from our lenders across the country that had to completely and permanently shift the way they served borrowers.”

According to the survey, the importance of lenders offering digital solutions such as online applications during the lending process increased for borrowers in 2020, with 58% saying it would likely affect their lender decision (up from 50% in 2018). While still important, the offering of a mobile app specifically was less likely to influence borrowers’ lender selection, with 47% saying availability of one would factor into their decision in 2020 (compared to 40% in 2018).

Homeowners who used an online application appreciated the simpler application process (55%), reduced time to close (53%) and resulted in fewer in-person interactions (49%).

Not surprisingly, decreased in-person interactions grew in importance in 2020, as just 37% of consumers in 2018 cited “no need to meet in person” as something they liked about their online application process. Whether they had been through the mortgage loan process or not, 64% of consumers surveyed believe that an online mortgage process would make buying a home or refinancing easier than an in-person process.

“From a borrower’s perspective, the pandemic has accelerated the demand for a consistent, digital first borrowing experience,” said Tyrrell. “Signing documents electronically is quickly becoming the minimum, and borrowers expect a seamless experience from start to finish. In 2020, many lenders cobbled together different solutions to meet borrower demands, but that often led to a more confusing, fragmented process. Covid highlighted the need for a single consistent digital experience for consumers.”

Currently, online applications and online portals are the digital tools most offered among lenders, with more than nine in 10 offering both options to borrowers (91%). Of lenders who offer online applications, 64% said more than half of all loan applications are submitted online, while 38% said more than 80% of their applications were completed online in 2020. However, traditional loan application methods may be more common at larger organizations. Half of large institutional lenders, or those with 200 or more employees, indicated that less than 50% of their loan applications were submitted online.

Borrower respondents who were offered online and/or mobile options by their lenders took advantage of those tools during the mortgage loan process. Sixty-one percent of borrowers used an online application in 2020, slightly up from 58% in 2018. Sixty-one percent also used an online portal for electronically signing and notarizing documents, compared to 56% in 2018.

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