Exterior Worlds was contacted by a client that had a very unique landscaping challenge. There was an unused, pie-shaped space one wing of their home and their garage that they had never been able to find a use for. This area was too much too large to ignore, but at the same time, it was much too small to house a typical outdoor building. At first this appeared to be a very perplexing challenge, indeed. Exactly what could with such a unique and difficult area?
The answer came to us after an in-depth consultation with the client where we learned something very important about their lifestyle. This couple loved to cook dinners for family and friends and host gatherings at their home. We asked them if they would like us to build them an outdoor kitchen and patio seating area that would allow them to cook and serve meals in the comfort of their own back yard. They were excited about such a prospect, and readily agreed to let our team go to work.
We wanted to make this outdoor kitchen as aesthetically sensible and fully functional as possible. We studied examples of interior kitchens designed by custom home builders and came up with a design that would make the best use of the space we had available. Since the entire wall of the garage was barren and provided a sheer vertical surface against which to build, we decided to install the functional elements of the outdoor kitchen in the space between the side garage door and the far corner of the wall. We then built a smaller segment was built at a right angle to this to help create both sense of enclosure around the patio area, and to provide an additional surface area the residents could use as a wet bar and food storage area. We installed a granite countertop to provide a durable and ornamental surface, and we installed cabinets and drawers beneath the entirety of the cabinet area.
Our intention was to make the outdoor kitchen a completely self-sustaining system that would never require the owners to go into the house to retrieve or prepare anything. To this end, we installed a full suite of high-end appliances standard to custom indoor kitchens. We installed a freezer and a refrigerator that could be used to store food for indefinite periods of time, and we also installed an ice maker for convenient preparation of cool drinks on hot summer days. A full set of cooking appliances was also installed. We built our clients a stove that had a special side burner which they could use to heat up sauces when preparing spaghetti for chili for their guests. In order to prevent smoke from travelling into neighboring yards, we also built an overhead exhaust vent over the stove.
All of these appliances were wired for electrical operation on dedicated circuits. The only exception to this was a small, gas-powered grill that we added so our clients could cook hot dogs, hamburgers, and barbecue without having to use a separate area for grilling.
We then built a travertine patio to function as the floor of our outdoor kitchen, and we used the remainder of the space adjacent to it for a few organic touches. To enliven the appearance of the wall, we built a custom iron trellis that had suspended plants growing in the middle. The trellis added a nice contrast of green and black to the white backdrop of the white brick wall of the house. Special lights were placed in the plants to individually light them at night, so that at dusk and nightfall they seem to rise out from the wall to create a superb three-dimensional, organic presence.
Near the smaller segment of the countertop, we built a small planter to house and herb garden, and we framed this planter with a lemon tree and an orange tree on either side. This garden not only contributed a more robust aesthetic to the area, but it also gave our clients a place to grow the herbs they normally cooked with and pull them straight from the garden while cooking. To complete our design, we then surrounded the planter and trees with a special pressure treated pine fence framed by iron around the edges. This created a feeling of special privacy, and the entire garden enclosure it created contributed a sense of life and vitality to our outdoor kitchen that is exceptional even when compared to indoor cooking and dining areas.