Katherine Whiteside is fascinated with all things domestic on a world-wide scale. She has traveled and written for magazines extensively and is the author of six internationally based books on gardening and cooking. Her approach is humorous, organic, and relaxed. She continually searches for the little moments in private life that resonate in the larger human perspective. Her latest book is The Way We Garden Now (Potter February 2007.) Katherine Whiteside, a home and garden expert and PERC consultant, built her outdoor room specifically to use for fall harvests and gatherings. Nowadays, outdoor rooms possess a certain level of sophistication, says Whiteside. No matter what the season, an outdoor living space gives you freedom to entertain with two kitchens and two fabulous gathering spots. Whiteside offers her top four tips for extending the use of outdoor rooms through cooler seasons: Homeowners must protect themselves and their guests from the elements, especially the cold. Consider a propane tabletop heater, which is only two feet tall but heats five feet in diameter. Thats enough to comfortably warm a dinner table seating four to six people. A propane patio heater by the grill keeps cooks warm on chilly nights. Installing radiant heat on a converted patio affords cozy warmth and smooth transitions from indoors to outdoors. Think of outdoor rooms as an extension of indoor kitchens. Todays propane grills come with a wide range of accessories such as woks and rotisseries that make creating appetizers and main courses a snap. Well-placed lighting offsets shorter days and darker nights while newer gas lamps add ambiance and visual effect. Uplighting a tree or using gas post lights to show off plantings creates a background focal point. Consider installing a 250-gallon underground propane tank to provide a constant and hidden source of fuel for multiple appliances. Compared to a traditional 20-pound propane cylinder that burns for about 15 hours on maximum capacity, a 250-gallon underground propane tank can supply energy to various outdoor appliances for about 750 hours. In other PERC survey findings, outdoor rooms ranked greatest in popularity in the Northeast, with 43 percent of survey respondents noting they had an outdoor room, followed by the West and Midwest regions (34 percent) and Southern regions of the country (32 percent). Further, homeowners age 45 and above (42 percent) were far more likely to have an outdoor room than their younger counterparts (24 percent).