My favorite thing about warmer weather is taking the party outside, and there’s no better way to do that than with a fully fledged outdoor kitchen. Though some homes have a grilling station, the outdoor kitchen — complete with hybrid grill, beverage fridge, ice maker, and prep sink — has long been on my list of lust-worthy features in a home. 

If you feel the same way, then you’ll definitely want to stop by Capital Distributing from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, May 10, to catch the very first summer demonstration at the showroom: Grills! Of course, we have to say that Coyote Grills and Lynx Grills are the top-of-the-line fixtures in any serious outdoor kitchen. They make perfect companions to Big Green Eggs! See why these are superior up close and personal!

Want to catch more demonstrations at Capital Distributing? For a full schedule of sizzling summer events and demonstrations, jump!


A patio-loving  reader writes:

Hey Candy, I was curious if you could recommend a reputable company that specializes in building outdoor kitchens, stonework, etc. I am wanting pergola and an outdoor kitchen, with fire pit. I know you have so much involvement with real estate, I figured you may know a really good company for me! I learned the hard way several years ago during a disastrous bathroom remodel…from that moment on, I only deal with companies that someone highly recommends, with a great reputation. Thanks!

First of all, you have hit upon one of the very reasons why I created this blog: to celebrate and collect great vendors! ONLY really great vendors! All our advertisers are here by invitation only. A blog is kind of like your home; we invite in who we want! Like a small boutique, I have known these advertisers personally for years, and trust them enough to send them to our best friend, YOU! Outdoor kitchens and living areas are one of the hottest homeowner must-haves right now, both in new building and remodeling. With a mild Dallas winter like we’ve had, we can enjoy them year round plus they lower power bills in summer by taking cooking (and the mess) outdoors. Adding an outdoor kitchen/living space will most likely garner a positive return on your home, right agents?Grilled foods are healthier, but forget the food, if you have a spa, you’ll love having a warming drawer for keeping towels nice and toasty for those chilly eve dips! That warming drawer in your outdoor kitchen also comes in handy for holiday gatherings when everything in your inside kitchen is at capacity, and Kegorators can tap beer, or, simply serve as additional refrigeration when needed if no keg on tap! I think an outdoor kitchen with all the bells and whistles is a very smart move for your home!

Are buyers craving outside rooms decked out to the 9th degree? Does it really help add value to the home? And who might you recommend to get the job done? Inquiring real estate junkies want to know!  P.S. I’m putting a warming drawer in my bathroom…




There is one phrase we are hearing a lot less of these days: “We’ll get it back when we sell the house.”

Used to be, you could sink money into your home almost endlessly and rest assured it would come back to you, maybe even at a profit, when you sold. Buyers often have little vision to see how great a home can look, how it can change with new paint or minor renovation. So many agents advise sellers to have homes looking perfect, as if they were ready for a shelter magazine photo shoot. Perfect walls, floors, everything. Many sellers think they can create the rooms of their dreams and recoup the cost upon selling.

But there is increasing evidence that, these days, unless you keep those projects practical, you might be throwing good money down the toilet. According to Remodeling Magazine a solid front door is good while a tricked out master suite is bad: you won’t get 100% of your money out.

Is this true?

Each year, Remodeling magazine looks at the hottest home upgrades and renovations and then calculates just how much owners get back with they sell.

Not surprising that upkeep is more popular than upgrades these days, according to Remodeling’s Sal Alfano, editorial director. But prices and returns do vary regionally, he says, so what brings in more buyers in say Phoenix (um, weed?) may not be a must-have for the Dallas buyer.

Fr example, I think we are all about outdoor kitchens. I thought that would be a given in northern California, but it is not. Maybe that’s the “southern” touch in Dallas. But Cali buyers are much more into Feng Sui.

So what brings the lowest return when you sell? High-dollar, high-end and highly personalized add-ons that make you drool except — would you put your money there? A super luxe master suite addition — we’re not talking just bathroom and marble, we are talking sitting room with Yoga floor, coffee and wet bar: $232,062 to put it, you get out 52.7%. A sunroom averages about $75,224 to put in but do not count on getting more than 48% of that back. (I would think you’d do better with a sunroom in the north, not the south.)  An extra bathroom costs about $40,000 to put it — I always figure $50,000 when I look at homes because I like nice plumbing, but the experts say you only get 53 cents on the dollar back.

I disagree: give me a home in Midway Hollow with two bathrooms and you are pulling a higher sales price than a one-bedroom bungalow. 

Back up generators are great to play up the “safe from doomsday” scenario, but they cost about $15,000 to install and you’ll only net 48.5%.

Home office: I find this surprising, too. It costs about $28,000 for the average home office addition or finish out, and experts say they net only 45% of that. Of course, does anyone count in the deduction for the home office?

Then there’s the garage. I’m sorry, but I love a showplace garage. I have artwork in mine. Why oh why should you come into the same spot day after day to see ugly chaos? Super Dallas builder Cy Barcus got me thinking this way when I wrote about his personal home — his garage is pristine and beautiful, loaded with so much art it looks like a gallery. Oh and the doors are glass.

But the fancy-pants garage costs $90,053 and you get back 53.6%. That’s even better than a bathroom!

To summarize, the six improvements that rank dead last nationally when it comes to getting the dollars back at resale: home office remodel, back-up power generator (“doomsday is coming”), tricked out master bedroom suite, sunroom, a bathroom addition (I totally disagree) and fancy-pants garage with rubberized floors, car wash stalls, and antique gas tanks.

You know what other room I think we cannot live without in Dallas? The laundry room.

What do you think?