05 Apr Outdoor living boom
I sit here and kind of marvel at all the ink and internet space used and column inches taken up over ‘outdoor living rooms’. Especially the dither over the $10,000 outdoor beds, $35,000 spas and ohmygawd!…..even the kitchen sink has moved to greener pastures. This is cracking me up. Alright, my superior streak is sneaking up on me. We have had an outdoor kitchen at the beach in Oregon for over 30 years. We call it the Cabana kitchen. Complete with Christmas lights. And it didn’t set anyone back a paycheck or ten.
I have come to the conclusion that the whole trend to outdoor living rooms hasn’t nearly as much to do with living as it does with spending. It goes something like this: “OK, now that we have a perfectly appointed house, now we need to have the perfectly appointed outdoors.” Most of it is driven by the old notion of ‘keeping up with the Joneses (read Madison Avenue/marketing spin doctahs).
I witnessed an interesting give and take at Costco a couple of months ago. I was standing in the outdoor living section, too close to the mondo granite enhanced barbies. Her: “That is the EXACT same model we have. Yes it IS!!!” Voice is trembling with outrage. Him: “I think you are right!” Voice of indignation. I looked up from the package of bulbs I was reading about and they took that as interest in their dilemma. Her: “We paid $3500 for this exact same model, two years ago, and now it is here in Costco. We had ours two years ago! And now it is here for $1350. Can YOU believe it?” I smiled, and replied with all the empathy I could muster: “Well, you have had two more years to enjoy it!” and then I toddled off to the wine section. I wanted to shout from the top of the shelves: “THIS WILL NEVER DO! YOU MUST BUY A BIGGER ONE AND ONE THAT NO ONE CAN DUPLICATE BECAUSE YOUR STATUS HAS JUST BEEN SERIOUSLY COMPROMISED O HORROR OF HORRORS! WE CAN’T HAVE THAT! NEVERMORE SAID THE RAVEN! NEVERMORE! (I have no idea how the wisecrack about the raven crept in.)
And since I am feeling so snarky and full of it today, let me just say this. There are people going HUNGRY while you spend $3500 on an outdoor barbecue. If the cook is talented, I’ll be you five bucks you can’t taste the difference in a meal cooked on a $100 barbecue or a $10,000 one. Just like the blasted Wolf/Viking range brouhaha. Someone once told me, “Did you know you can melt butter on a paper plate on that burner on my Wolf range?????????” I replied, no, and why would I want to? Can you cook me a dinner on that Wolf range?” It is not about the range. It is about the skill of the person doing the cooking. As for refrigerators, I can’t tell the difference in a long neck Budweiser chilled in a $10 cooler vs. one chilled in a $10,000 whatever brand of refrigerator.
Next time folks want to shell out $10K for a range or refrigerator or barbecue or spa, I would hope they would write a check to the Food Bank for $1000 first and buy the model one step down, say, for $8900.
Back to the Cabana Kitchen. It has a view of the Pacific Ocean. It is about 35 feet from said ocean. It was once or twice inundated by the ocean. It has a wooden deck floor, a huge set of plywood cupboards painted in marine quality paint, a cute shingle roof, a three burner gas fired camp cookstove ($100 to replace every few years due to rust), a sink with running hot water, lots of power for the party lights and electric frypans for making blueberry pancakes and a boatload of coffee, and a huge breakfast/bar prep area looking back over the coastal range of mountains. It’s about 12 feet from the other rolling buffet and cupboards and the table and the huge old firepit where we make our ‘smores, bake our salmon and roast our oysters. Did I say, it is a few feet from the beach?
And we have had an outdoor shower forEVER. Not to mention places to sleep called the Nip and Tuck, the Flake Hut, the Taj, and the Star Building. Sadly, a year ago, we had kiss the Nomad goodbye. Yup. Outdoor living. Next time I am there I will post a picture of the kitchen sink. Well, there’s a washtub set up where we wash the dishes when the weather is fab.