Outdoor Kitchens

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    Matthew Millman

    Taking its cue from Hawaiian pavilions and gardens, this kitchen uses exposed stone, beams, and a breezeway to stay connected to the surrounding gardens. Ample counter space doubles as a buffet area or bar.
    Project: Assembly House, Kona, Hawaii; Architect: Zak Architecture, San Francisco; Builder: Metzler Contracting, Hawi Hawaii

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    Paul Pardagjy

    Materials used inside can extend to the exteior, forging inside-out connections. Here, the pool patio is shaded by a generous overhang.The grill is built into an alcove, near a fridge and prep space.
    Project: Chimney Corners, Austin, Texas; Builder: Melde Specialty Construction, Horseshoe Bay, Texas; Architect: Webber + Studio, Austin

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    James F. Wilson

    Telescoping doors lead to this multi-level outdoor living area, expanding the 2,000 sqaure foot home with lots of places to hang out. On the patio, an island features a 36" grill, refrigerator, icemaker, warming drawers, and trash and utility drawers - a full suite of appliances designed to limit trips back inside.
    Project: Gen Y House, Builder Concept Home 2012, Orlando, Fla.; Architect: Michael Woodley, Woodley Architectural Group, Denver; Builder: Centerline Homes, Coral Springs, Fla.

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    Mariko Reed

    This shaded patio extends out from the main kitchen to offer additional seating, a grill, refrigerator drawers, and a wine cooler. Radiant-heated floors and a fireplace keep things cozy when the temperature drops. A light fixture--crafted from a recycled buoy cut in half - emphasizes the homeowners' commitment to recycling, sustainability, and reuse.
    Project: Hillside House, Mill Valley, Calif.; Architects: Scott and Tracey Lee, Mill Valley

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    Mid Coast Studio

    This alley-loaded lot squeezes in an outdoor space on the side of the home complete with the outdoor kitchen essentials. There's a built-in grill on the side façade and a roof and porch that echo the home's unusual angles. The porch was built with wood from trees killed in Colorado's pine beetle plague.
    Project: Lime Model at Stapleton, Denver; Architect: Woodley Architectural Group, Littleton, Colo.; Builder: Infinity Home Collection, Denver

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    John Cottle

    Casual dining, a grill, and shelter from the elements open this Colorado home to its Wild West surroundings. The flagstone patio encourages drainage. It's made from concrete walks from the original property that were broken up and reused.
    Project: Private Residence, Basalt, Colo.; Architect: John Cottle, CCY Architects, Basalt

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    Neil Landino

    Inspired by the pavilions of India, this partly-covered outdoor space allows light to filter through its pergola and offers an elevated vantage point to view the swimming pool.  
    Project: O’Brien Pool Pavilion, Greenwich, Conn.; Architect: Saniee Architects, Greenwich; Builder: H&Y Construction, Brookfield, Conn.

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    Julia Heine / McInturff Architects

    Topped by a thin copper roof supported by white brick piers, this open pool house has durable surfaces that ensure low-maintenance. The full kitchen includes a grill, sink, and lots of counter space for parties. Project: Rappahannock Bend Summer House, King George, Va.; Architect: McInturff Architects, Bethesda, Md.; Builder: Bonitt Builders, Alexandria, Va.

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    Stu Estler

    In this detached-garage-turned-entertainment-pavilion, one retractable cedar garage door provides a street entrance, while a second opens onto a pool patio with outdoor seating. Inside, the kitchen floor is the same herringbone brick as the driveway.
    Project: Rosedale Garage Suite, Bethesda, Md.; Architect: Studio Z Design, Bethesda, Md.; Builder: Georgetown Development Corp., Monrovia, Md.

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    Casey Dunn

    This outdoor living room in Texas Hill Country hides a full kitchen behind folding slatted Western red cedar doors. Built-ins, made from locally harvested limestone and Spanish Cedar include tip-top appliances, a screened bath area, and storage. A lean-to provides shelter from the elements.
    Project: Story Pool House, Centerpoint, Texas; Architect: Lake|Flato Architects, San Antonio; Builder: Duecker Construction, Stone Wall, Texas

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    James F. Wilson

    This open-air kitchen in the 2012 New American Home offers a full range of appliances, headlined by a barbeque with nearly 800 square inches of grilling space.
    Project: The New American Home 2012, Winter Park, Fla.; Builder/Architect: Phil Kean Design Build, Winter Park

The kitchen has always been the place for casual entertaining, spontaneous conversation, and late night lingering. An outdoor kitchen brings the magic outside, offering a durable entertaining area and a reason to linger outside on more intimate nights. 

In a 2013 survey of top outdoor living trends conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects, outdoor experts confirmed America’s love affair with outdoor kitchens, with 94.5% them as a popular client request. That’s up from 91.5% in 2012.“Whether screened or open porches or pavilions, [outdoor kitchens] become the most loved and used spaces of the home,” says Karla Greer, AIA, a partner at Lake Flato Architects in San Antonio. 

The centerpiece of an outdoor kitchen is the grill, which, not surprisingly, was rated as a popular feature by 96.3% of those surveyed. Beyond this outdoor cooking essential, appliance makers have responded with suites of outdoor appliances designed to limit trips back indoors. Other top features include the ever popular outdoor fireplace, dining areas, lighting, installed seating, weatherized furniture, counter space, and utility storage. “Under-counter refrigerators are particularly popular,” notes Greer.

The ASLA study also showed demand for both sustainable and low-maintenance design, which many of the homes that follow incorporate through salvaged or recycled materials, permeable paving, and hardy building materials. Greer advises that generally, it’s wise to put the outdoor kitchen under a roof. As for materials, she says that many work well, “particularly stone, metal or concrete for the countertops and wood species that like the out of doors, such as cedar.”

Are outdoor kitchens a popular request for your buyers?
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