Summer is here, and that means heading outside for pool parties, cookouts and all-around fun. And whether you’re just beginning to plan an outdoor kitchen or ready to upgrade your existing space, consider these essential building blocks for creating an outdoor entertaining area you’ll enjoy and want to share all summer (and beyond).
Some of your favorite indoor surfaces — think quartz, granite, marble or travertine — are equally suited for outdoor living. Above, this kitchen features Tuscany Beige travertine pavers, Babylon Gray quartz countertops and Rustic Gold RockMount stacked stone panels for the cabinet base’s exterior. (MSI Stone)
For the minimalist who wants elevated design and clean, smooth lines, Techo-Bloc’s Industria collection of pavers is teamed up with the company’s newest finish, HD 2. The smooth Para HD 2 stone pavers, shown here in Greyed Nickel, create a sleek pathway to the kitchen space. The large pavers transition to the long, thin Industria rectangles — also in Greyed Nickel — set in a half-moon floor that echoes the kitchen’s curved design. Industria pavers in Onyx Black are nestled atop large river rocks and provide another pathway from the kitchen to adjacent outdoor entertaining areas. (Techo-Bloc)
Outdoor countertops should meet all of the same requirements they do indoors, as well as be able to stand up to the elements. Natural quartz, shown here in the Roxwell pattern by Cambria®, is a strong choice. Not only is quartz remarkably durable — even more than marble or granite — it is maintenance-free, nonporous and nonabsorbent, making it ideal for food prep and meals. (Cambria)
Cabinets & Islands
Not unlike the aforementioned surfaces, today’s outdoor kitchen cabinet options are as elegant and modern as the most upscale interior cabinets. NatureKast offers truly modern and totally weatherproof options, from the PVC cabinet and drawer boxes to the resin used to create the door and drawer fronts that look and feel like real wood.
The new Contempo door style, shown here (top) in Arctic Slate, is a transitional design that is equally at home in a modern space or a rustic, farmhouse-style space. A combination of slab and louvered door styles in the Silver Birch finish (above) contrasts with the darker finish of the flooring and the solid wood beams overhead, and imparts an upscale coastal cottage vibe to the heart of this outdoor entertaining space. (NatureKast)
John Michael Kitchens — makers of some of the most luxurious outdoor kitchens around — uses marine-grade 316L stainless steel for all of their handmade cabinets. Resistant to rust and corrosion, marine-grade stainless steel offers weatherproof protection in any environment, not just coastal areas. Available with two door styles (Shaker-style inset doors or flat-front panels, shown above) and more than a dozen colors, including Marine Blue, shown here. (John Michael Kitchens)
An emerging trend in outdoor kitchen design is the freestanding mobile kitchen or mobile cart. From a chef’s prep station to storage cabinets to even a pizza oven cart, the options from John Michael Kitchens all feature the same heavy duty marine-grade stainless steel used to handcraft the brand’s built-in cabinets. Add low-profile casters that are virtually undetectable, and you’re on the move to becoming a backyard chef. (John Michael Kitchens)
Outdoor kitchen packages from Viking® are available as pre-configured designs based on the brand’s stainless steel outdoor kitchen cabinets. With island, angled and straight-lined layouts, and from four to eight cabinets, Viking’s outdoor kitchen packages are designed to accommodate their award-winning grills, warming drawers, side burners and more. (Viking)
Stay tuned for our July guide to American-made grills, smokers and other outdoor cooking essentials. In the meantime, learn how a folding door system can open up your home to all of the possibilities that outdoor entertaining has to offer.