These dreamy chef stations let you whip up summer dishes (and drinks!) all season long.
01. METALLIC COUNTERTOPS
Entertaining expert Lulu Powers dreamed of a copper bar for years, but worried it would turn green. Treating the counter and shelving with lacquer staves off weathering, and provides a glam places for outdoor cocktail parties.
02. ROOFTOP GRILLING
Five stories above Brooklyn, a tar-paper roof became a gourmet cooking spot with panoramic views of the New York skyline. A charcoal grill anchors the space, but the beverage station provides the real magic. A slide-away cutting board and insulated ice bin make mojitos a snap.
03. FLOWER SINK
Inspired by a similar basin at the famous Greystone Mansion, an outdoor sink features an inset container for blooms. The vessel also functions as an ice bucket for wine — just pull the plug at the bottom when the party’s over.
04. STAINED OAK
In designer Bonnie Edelman’s Connecticut house, the pool kitchen’s stained oak ceiling pours warmth over cool stainless-steel cabinets. A drop-down metal gate protects appliances from rain.
05. TERRACOTTA HUES
This outdoor kitchen in California takes its colors from the earth and the sky. A Viking warming drawer is conveniently closest to the Fogazzo 1050 pizza oven. “It’s all about entertaining,” architect Michael Layne says. “People are going to gather where cooking’s going on, so you need lots of counter space and plenty of seating.”
06. REPURPOSED SHUTTERS
In Malcolm James Kutner’s Key West house, the outdoor kitchen cabinets are made from old cypress shutters supplied by restorer Liz Devries. “With outdoor living in general, it’s about being friendly with nature and inviting it inside instead of trying to draw that heavy line in the sand that says, ‘This is the outside and this is the inside,'” he says.
07. BLUE CABINETRY
In Dianne Bernhard’s Connecticut kitchen, cabinets with Nantucket-style doors and blue-toned Caesarstone on top pick up the colors of the water just beyond the deck. “We really do live out here during the summer,” Bernhard says. The ceiling is painted Benjamin Moore’s Blue Springs.
08. SALVAGED MATERIALS
Designer Sandy Koepke used salvaged material and earthy colors to give this California kitchen some age and maturity. All of the appliances and cabinetry are from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet.
09. STRATEGIC LAYOUT
The U-shaped layout of a Nantucket kitchen is zoned from hot to cold, moving from the grill on the left to two refrigerator drawers and an ice maker on the right. “Usually an outdoor kitchen is more of an adjunct, but this is complete,” designer Kris Horiuchi says. “The client wanted the whole shebang — grill, cooktops, refrigerator, sink, pizza oven.”
10. STONE VARIETALS
There’s an organic feeling to the outdoor kitchen designed by Mick De Giulio, thanks to a variety of colors, shapes and textures of stone — from Medina Slab pavers to the island built of Weston Stone, all from Belgard Hardscapes.
11. MULTIPLE SPACES
A Rhode Island property’s entertaining space sits alongside the vegetable garden. The open-air kitchen and enclosed living room are both outfitted with electricity and water, and a patio of bluestone pavers links the two cedar structures.
12. BARSTOOL SEATING
The backsplash of a New England kitchen is beefed up with a bar counter, where guests can sit and chat with the cook.
13. COZY FIREPLACE
The seating area of this California kitchen blends seamlessly into the surrounding garden thanks to an abundance of potted plants.
14. BUILT-IN COOLER
It was the owner’s idea to turn the sink within a Nantucket kitchen into a beverage cooler with a teak top.
15. GRADE-A GRILL
There’s more than just burgers and dogs on the menu at this Massachusetts kitchen. The hybrid grill can be ready to cook in 10 minutes, using any combination of charcoal, wood and gas. The gas burners will do anything from low and slow barbecue at 225 degrees to searing meat at 800.
16. WINE RACKS
This Manhattan Beach kitchen features a beverage center modified to store wine, with a keg tapper nearby.
17. RUSTIC ACCENTS
Small details make a difference for this California kitchen. A lamp made from a barn vent sits on the counter above an icemaker and refrigerator. Interior designer Erin Martin chose the rope handles on the cabinetry.
18. INCLUSIVE ATMOSPHERE
“We like to entertain outdoors. If you invite people over for dinner, and they’re outside enjoying the sunset and a glass of wine, but you’re stuck in the kitchen, how fun is that,” chef Tyler Florence says of the 2011 Kitchen of the Year. “Instead of separating the entire experience, let’s bring it all back together again.”
19. HIDDEN STORAGE
Keep your grilling station organized with a cleverly hidden drawer. In this Nantucket kitchen, utensils hang inside a cabinet, out of the way until needed.
20. CREATIVE COUNTERS
If you can’t splurge on a second kitchen, this extra-wide window might do the trick. Designer Erin Martin extended the marble counter from a beach house kitchen outside to make passing food easier.
Dining al fresco is only half the fun — things really heat up when you bring the entire cooking experience outside. Set your sights on the gorgeous details within these outdoor kitchens, and get inspired to design something similar for your own backyard.