One of the greatest aspects of Florida living is the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors (mostly) year ‘round.
This, coupled with the surge in creative new designs and technologies which enable people to take full advantage of poolside activities in the summer or outdoor cooking, dinning and entertaining in the winter and fall, have transformed what
used to be considered summer patios to all-season spaces.
In addition, new relaxing and therapeutic spas, which used to be reserved for colder climates, are now used regularly throughout the year due to technology advances. Today, the spas have highly efficient temperature controls and systems that do not use chlorine. Spas have become a personal retreat or an inviting complement when entertaining.
“We saw a trend that really began with the rising popularity of HGTV (Home and Garden TV) almost 20 years ago,” said John McMillan, president of Mr. Fireplace, Patio & Spa in Melbourne. “They showcased the outdoor living concepts that were developed first in California and then spread to Florida, which today are incorporated into most upscale home designs.”
According to McMillan, people today are giving as much thought to their outdoor kitchens as to their indoor ones. McMillan, who grew up in Satellite Beach, loves helping people enjoy the Florida lifestyle. Being a native, however, he understands that long-term investment in quality is a calculated choice if it helps abate and avoid the ravages of rust and mildew from high humidity and salty air on your outdoor furnishings, spa and kitchen features.
Tommy Bahama Outdoor Furnishings
He is especially excited about the line of Tommy Bahama outdoor furniture his company now stocks. “I remember going out on someone’s pool deck and being able to smell the cushions before I even sat down. Or, they had that typical extended use indentation, that made you feel like you were sitting in a bucket,” he said.
The Tommy Bahama collection pieces are made with cushion materials that are supportive and hold their shape, while also wicking water out instead of holding it in like a sponge. Also, the wide variety of fabrics options do not lose their vibrant color when exposed to the intense Florida sun and, although the designs may look like they are made from wood, they are instead made from durable, corrosion-resistant aluminum.
“In Florida, all outdoor furniture is going to get wet at some point. With these products, the look, the feel and even the smell stays like new and is easy to maintain,” he said.
As with the furniture options, the outdoor kitchen combi- nations available are visu- ally as appealing as they are functional. With an endless variety of counter and cabinet combinations, they are all fabricated from materials designed to hold up to intense weather and coastal corrosion. With ceramic brands like Primo and Saffire or stainless steel and aluminum models by Firemagic, Blaze, Napoleon and American Outdoor Grill, there is something to appeal to every outdoor chef.
As the name implies, McMillan started his company with fireplaces years ago and, like his other lines, they continue to add a distinctive ambiance to both indoor and outdoor areas and have evolved dramatically. The varieties and technologies available can produce an array of looks and effects to match any existing or planned decor or anyone’s imagination.
“Not only do I think we have the best products on the market, but the outdoor, coastal lifestyle is our specialty. We can put together spa, kitchen, furniture and fireplace packages that are not only best in class, but very competitive in price,” McMillan said.
Right next door to his company showroom, McMillan also owns an HVAC company called Hearth & Home. “It is a great business, but I honestly love to come into our Mr. Fireplace, Patio & Spa showroom. The clients are happy and excited, they are creating dream spaces and our people are so knowledgeable and customer focused. It is just a joy,” he said.