On Wednesday we participated in a webinar on outdoor kitchen best practices with Russ Faulk from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet. You never know how webinars are going to go, but this was very insightful and well presented. I highly recommend to anyone thinking of installing an outdoor kitchen to watch if offered again (watch the Kalamazoo website).
(Image from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet)
Outdoor kitchens share the same characteristics as their indoor partners; They provide a gathering point (food preparation always pulls in guests) and sense of occasion making meals outdoors memorable. Like indoors, outdoor kitchens require a lot of planning and thought. Questions need to be addressed like task lighting, maintenance, distance from the indoor kitchen, distance from existing utilities (gas, water and electric), ventilation and prep zones. The list is very long, but when designed correctly can have the same ROI as indoor kitchen renovations.
This kitchen in the first two photos was featured in the May, 2011 House Beautiful Magazine as the Kitchen of the Month. It was designed by Kris Horiuchi of Botanica Fine Gardens LTD with consulting from Kalamazoo. The kitchen is located in Nantucket, which has salty air and harsh winters so you know it was designed to withstand the elements. The stainless steel cabinets are watertight and the field stone and granite counters are naturally weather proof.
There are many different methods to building an outdoor kitchen; modular, kit and custom. There are also a lot of options of what to include based on needs and access to existing resources. Below are some of the items you might want to consider in an outdoor kitchen:
(One of the ah has I had during the presentation was to account for trash containers. Why would you build this beautiful kitchen then have gusts throw their trash away in a dingy trash can. Plan for trash and have it concealed and sized for your planned entertaining style.)
A big decision in an outdoor kitchen is the location; out in the open or under a structure. Both have their pros and cons and I think are all based on personal taste and the location of the kitchen (both in landscape and geographical). Below are some of the kitchens from my Pin Board, you can follow this board as I will keep it updated as I find new images.
As you can see there are a lot of ways to interpret outdoor kitchens; from design, placement, functions and finishes. I think this just shows how many decisions and forethought goes into installing an outdoor kitchen, but can result in a place that everyone remembers and gathers towards.