Outdoor Kitchens – Not Just For Summer!
An outdoor kitchen is a great way to combine several enjoyable lifestyle activities. As the outdoor area to our home is experienced more as a “room”, we want to design the space to be efficient, a center for casual living with a built-in ease for entertaining family and friends.
Outdoor kitchen size - are you looking forward to entertaining large groups or cooking quiet, intimate dinners? Something in between or all of the above? Visualize how you will use an outdoor kitchen…the frequency of use, the conveniences required, and the type of cooking (ambitious or simple) you’d like to plan for. Will others cook along with you or will one or two be responsible for outdoor cooking? Do you need separate cooking stations for prep or meal stages? Now’s the time to dream, imagine, and visualize the flow you’d love to have in your outdoor kitchen.
Location – Consider the lay of the land. Can an existing deck be used? A terraced section? A gazebo to house a separate kitchen? Is the topography of the land level? How close to the house would you like the outdoor kitchen (watch out for heat/smoke/noise issues if an outdoor kitchen is desired to be just outside the house.) What other outdoor activities will impact on the location of the kitchen? Make a list of expected activities (including lounging) to be sure an important activity (bocce ball anyone?) is not forgotten.
Appliance needs - One of today’s number one hot buttons in outdoor kitchens, an explosion of outdoor appliances, tempts us to want it all…the ice machine, the beer station, the cocktail station, cooktop burners, warming drawer and so much more! Appliances are a large part of the fun of an outdoor kitchen, but consider what is really expected to be needed and used frequently. Energy efficiency in appliances is ever-progressing. Pinpoint cooking technology in appliances offers the same control as the best in-home appliances do, offering home chefs and foodies the ability to be an outdoor Iron Chef!
Style - Of course, this is the fun part! What is the style of your home? Of your gardens, your outdoor living space? Outdoor kitchens can be designed in any way…modern, traditional, rustic or eclectic. All elements of your outdoor room builds on one another, even as one walks into and out of the house, so be aware of transitioning from indoors to outdoors. One current style of outdoor kitchens now is a warm, soft, natural look. Be style conscious!
And, yes, why limit the outdoor kitchen to the summer months? With space heaters, fire pits, and the warm shoulder months of spring and fall, the traditional outdoor season is longer. It’s all good – the garden, the beautiful outdoors, casual outdoor living, and incorporating food in a meaningful way into this mix. Bon appetit!