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Outdoor Oasis, Always in Style

Written by Posted On Sunday, 17 September 2006 17:00

Creating an outdoor oasis is touted as the second most popular home remodel behind a kitchen makeover.

"We're bringing the inside out because island barbecues come with refrigerators, storage drawers, side burners. Our islands are [designed] so you can put CD stereos in them, televisions, mood lighting," says Frank Camarena, Cal Spas.

But with summer winding down and the seasons turning colder, is it too late to put this remodel in the works? Not if you plan to make your outdoor oasis useable 365 days a year by creating a sunroom.

While it may not matter much in sunny Southern California where an outdoor oasis consisting of a spa, pool and a barbecue island are rarely affected by the weather, in other areas of the country those amenities aren't much use during inclement weather.

"Being able to sit in your hot tub with one of our glass roof rooms [surrounding the area] watching the snow come down," is what Larry Chavez, Jr. says makes your outdoor oasis a real treasure year round.

A sunroom is an enclosed area that gives the feeling and look of bringing the outdoors inside by having a panoramic view through temperature and reflectivity-treated glass.

"We're fortunate to be a franchise for Four Seasons Sunrooms and they've got a patented exclusive glass technology called Conservaglass that makes it useable 365 days a year," says Chavez.

Sunrooms have evolved drastically over the decades. "They've evolved from being greenrooms for people to extended-living space," says Chavez.

Today, many homeowners are turning sunrooms into home offices, second bedrooms, and extra sitting rooms. Inside sunrooms homeowners are building pools, spas and other relaxing amenities. A sunroom is different from a standard room addition "because of the panoramic view that you can achieve with a sunroom, you get the real feeling of having an outdoor feeling but being protected from the [weather] elements, the temperature, the bugs," explains Chavez.

Whether you're considering an outdoor oasis or a sunroom, the most important things to consider are the size of space you want to dedicate to the addition, the glass technology that you'll use (if you're building a sunroom), and, as with any remodel, do your homework to find a reputable, trustworthy contractor to do the work.

The home improvement industry "has been plagued by the fly-by-night contractors -- here-today, gone-tomorrow, that promises a low bid, takes deposits and leaves town," says Chavez.

Creating a sunroom can "run the price of buying a brand new car. So it's a significant investment, so you want to have a product that is going to perform and be able to use it when you want to -- not when Mother Nature says it's okay to use it in terms of being too hot or too cold," says Chavez.

"Of course there are certain climates like Phoenix that any glass is not going to hold out that kind of heat, but with the energy efficiency of the Conservaglass you can effectively and efficiently heat or cool the room if you need to," says Chavez.

A final consideration, whether your outdoor oasis is enclosed as with a sunroom or left open, be sure that you devote enough space to the project.

"We've never had a customer come back and say we should've made it smaller but too often customers come back and say we should've made it bigger," says Chavez.

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Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is an award-winning journalist, an author, customer service trainer/speaker, and founder of Setting the Service Standard, a customer service training and consulting program offered by Live Fit Enterprises (LFE) based in San Diego, California. She is the publisher of Live Fit Magazine, an online publication that features information on real estate/finance, physical fitness, travel, and philanthropy. Her company, LFE, specializes in media services including marketing, PR, writing, commercials, corporate videos, customer service training, and keynotes & seminars. Visit her magazine website:

Phoebe's articles, feature stories, and columns appear in various publications including The Coast News, Del Mar Village Voice, Rancho Santa Fe Review, and Today's Local News in San Diego, as well as numerous Internet sites. She holds a California real estate license. Phoebe worked for KGTV/10News in San Diego as a Newscaster, Reporter and Community Affairs Specialist for more than a decade. Phoebe's writing is also featured in Donald Trump's book: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures. She is the author of If the Trash Stinks, TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles for Your Success.

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