Outdoor Kitchen Design

05.14.2020

Spring is in the air, so many of us are anticipating spending more time in our outdoor living spaces. Large or small, we all want that special place to be as inviting and comfortable as possible for outdoor dining, unwinding, and socializing. For that reason, high-functioning, stylish outdoor kitchens have become increasingly popular with homeowners. In fact, a recent survey by the American Institute of Architects shows outdoor kitchens topping the list of project trends. This is not surprising given how important indoor-outdoor living space is for many of today’s homeowners.

An outdoor kitchen and bar eliminates constant trips indoors and keeps the activity outdoors. The renderings above illustrate a highly appointed project under construction. The outdoor bar is designed with high gloss teak (a yacht-inspired finish) with adjacent Caesarstone quartz countertops.

While alfresco dining is great, many agree that preparing our meals outdoors is even better. Kitchens are as much about socializing as cooking, so it is important to consider both activities when designing the space. To facilitate easy interaction, we often create a seated bar or island adjacent to the cooking area, enabling guests to effortlessly socialize with the host while they prepare hors d’oeuvres or dinner. That participatory component enhances connection and allows a positive social experience for all—especially the cook!

Fieldstone surrounds this built-in Kalamazoo grill and supports the handsome, earthy bluestone counters. The seated bar and nearby dining table offer multiple gathering spots for alfresco dining.

In addition to the wonderful social component, outdoor kitchens offer practicality as well. Instead of spending time running back and forth into the house, outdoor kitchens enable homeowners to easily prep and cook meals in one convenient spot. While built-in grills remain king of the outdoor kitchen, many of our designs now feature refrigerators, a sink or dishwasher for easy cleanup, and storage cabinets for cookware, dishes, and glassware. To address the outdoor elements, we recommend weatherproof cabinetry and countertops and marine-grade stainless steel appliances. For many of our clients, the goal is convenient, uncomplicated entertaining, so having weather resistant essentials at their fingertips makes all the difference.

In this rendering, the counter space around the grill is 2" Chelmsford granite, and the base cabinets are designed with marine grade stainless steel.

As the popularity of outdoor living space continues to grow, outdoor kitchens will remain a primary focal point for entertaining. We believe the best designs emphasize opportunities for connection and functionality while combining the desirability of the outdoors with the practicalities (and luxuries) of the indoors. Whether your dream outdoor kitchen is intimately self-contained or grandly appointed, we hope these ideas prove inspirational as we all look to the season ahead.

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