Written by Adam Coholan, an active blogger out of New York who writes about remodeling, landscaping, and exterior design based on his experience working with homes in Queens for Elliman Real Estate. You can follow him on Twitter @Coho22.
Many homeowners are looking for ways to increase their living space, and often choose to remodel or put an addition onto their home, a process that can be drawn out, messy and expensive. However, many never think to simply look out their backdoor, expanding their living area with an outdoor room. By putting everything you need for cooking right at the scene of all the action, outdoor kitchens allow you to spend less time running back and forth between the grill and the kitchen, and spend more time with your family and friends. There are great options for those who love to entertain outdoors and want to expand upon their traditional grill or BBQ set up. For those interested in adding value to their home, as well as adding to their own comfort and convenience, an outdoor kitchen is a sound investment.
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The main goal when planning the kitchen should be to create a centralized area where everyone will want to gather. The barbeque is usually the main feature of an outdoor kitchen, and with the rest of the features revolving around. Grills can include a few simple propane burners, or can be enhanced with a rotisserie or a smoker. Then make sure the main table is near by so the food can be served easily and everyone can eat together. Another great option would be adding a fire pit and circling chairs around it to stay warm after the sun goes down. It’s hard to beat the smell and crackle of a classic wood fire, but be sure to check local regulations to make sure they’re allowed. If they’re not, there’s a wide range of gas fire pits that are perfect substitutes.
After the grill and table are set, storage should be the next priority, making sure there are cabinets or shelves with room for grilling utensils and lighters, charcoal and wood chips, and all of the seasonings and rubs you’ll be using. Custom cabinets and countertops built specifically for the outdoors will provide storage solutions that are not only weatherproof, but designed to suit outdoor décor as well. Outdoor cabinets can either be constructed on-site using masonry with tile or stucco finishes, or can be purchased in modular components. Many include space to accommodate under-counter appliances like refrigerators, wine coolers, icemakers or ovens, and can easily be adapted for spaces to include a sink for easy clean up when you’re done cooking. You could also consider using them for dishes, containers and linens you’ll need for serving and eating.
For the final touches, adding a bit of lighting and shelter help ensure use of your new outdoor living space into the cold weather months and during inclement weather. There are many different varieties of lighting, from solar powered LEDs to tiki torches that keep the bugs away, you’ll be able to find something that fits the theme of your yard. In terms of shelter, a simple awning can be installed. If you can’t anchor an awning to the house, consider a covered pergola to help protect the room from the elements. These features not only boost the ease of outdoor entertainment, they also provide a significant return on investment by helping increase the resale value of your home. If you already spend a lot of time grilling and you enjoy entertaining outdoors, start planning an outdoor kitchen to combine the best of both worlds.