One night at dinner, my husband mentioned something in passing about building an outdoor kitchen. It was so out of the blue that I honestly did not put a thought to it.
Then when he mentioned it again, I humored him and asked him what it would look like. His answer blew me away.
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This man never ceases to amaze me. He is the hardest working person I’ve ever met, and approaches every challenge he encounters with research and consideration.
I was expecting a short snippet about a built-in grill somewhere in the pool enclosure. This guy grabs a napkin and sketches an incredibly elaborate and crystal clear vision of a circular paver structure with not only a grill, but a base for our Big Green Egg, a refrigerator, a fire pit, AND a hibachi griddle.
Clearly he had put some though into this.
He then lets me know he’s already picked out all of the appliances, and has an idea of the paver style and the granite. If I was on board, he could have a designer come out and get started in the next couple days.
Here’s where I need to mention I was extremely pregnant with baby number two, so honestly any kind of talk of food or potential for there to be food got my vote.
I was on board.
It was crazy how fast things got moving. Well, I guess I should say how fast they got moving once we got HOA approval (more on that later).
Paved the way
We had an existing patio that was ripped up (and the pavers recycled) almost immediately. Keeping in mind that the summer kitchen would butt into the pool area, we decided to try and find as close as possible of a paver that would match that.
I’ve mentioned something important in my posts about Granite/Quartz/Marble selections and Tile selections that rings true here as well . Even if you order a product by the same exact name, and from the same people, if any time has passed since you originally used that version, the new version may not be the same.
So despite having used the same company who put the same pavers down in our pool area, the new version of that style just didn’t look right. We had to actually find a comparable back up option to install.
delay of game
There was a fire at the paver facility shortly after we finally chose the new ones, so install was delayed a few weeks.
In the meantime, ALL of the appliances arrived and had to be stored in the garage until the structure was built. Have I mentioned I was VERY pregnant at the time and had to maneuver around the still in package Teppanyaki griddle , this outdoor fridge, the grill, PLUS the trash can, LED lights and other things he decided it also needed WHILE trying to get a squirmy wormy toddler in a car seat? ….. Oy.
Once the factory was back up and running, the project really took off and you could start to see his dream come to life.
He decided to raise the base of the floor to include a step. The reasoning behind this was because of a gorgeous oak tree that was incorporated into the design and provides amazing shade. As it grows, so will its roots. We didn’t want the root system tearing up the kitchen- hence the step up.
Prior to this project beginning we had our Big Green Egg with this nesting table, and our grill in the pool enclosure. Now our Egg was going to have a fancy new nest (and we would have more room to play in the pool area)!
Having built-in seating was a big deal for us as on average there are at least 221 days of full sunshine in Jacksonville each year. We built this thing and planned on sitting out there and enjoying it!
You may think you just stack some pavers and you’re good to sit. While that’s true, comfort was a huge factor for us. The bench backing was planned specifically to hit in just the right spot in your upper back as to offer support yet be comfortable.
The outward length of the seat also comes out to a point where your legs aren’t awkwardly sticking out uncomfortably.
Comfort adjustments with stone actually are possible. Our mason was very patient in making spacing alterations so this crazy pregnant lady could rest comfortably.
We were also going to put in a fire pit that you’d be able to prop your feet on , but decided against it once we got the seating just right.
When the smoke(R) clears
Mere days after the Egg and the majority of the appliances were installed, Hurricane Irma hit. After the previous year’s Matthew, nobody knew what to expect from her.
Interestingly enough, the only damage we had was losing a HUGE tree that- no joke- fell within a foot of the Egg nest. A different gust of wind or taller tree and his vision would have been reduced to rubble.
With LEDS put in, fire pits left out, not even hurricanes or factory fires could keep this outdoor kitchen project from being finalized.
Check out the finished product in this video:
Not only is it incredibly awesome, but it will significantly add to the value of the home when we go to sell.
Stellar outdoor living areas can be almost as financially beneficial to have as updated interiors (like this kitchen remodel). Especially if you’re on the water, or in an area where outdoor space is desired but hard/expensive to obtain.
If I had to make one change to the project, I probably would have gone with a leathered granite countertop as seen here. I didn’t know they were a thing until a year after this was complete, but they are super cool and durable. Perfect for withstanding the elements.
What would you include in your ultimate outdoor kitchen?