Gail O’Rourke: The Outdoor Kitchen

July 3, 2014

Photos by Gail O'Rourke

I spent the last few days camping with my family in Ausable Chasm in upstate New York.  Okay, well it really wasn’t much camping as we stayed in a cabin. We did, however, cook by the fire in an outdoor camp kitchen that my friend Sue put together. “I really don’t like cooking at home but there is something about cooking in the outdoors that I really love” said Sue. She made an excellent breakfast and as I sat there relaxing by the campfire, it got me thinking about outdoor kitchens.

I have worked on several outdoor kitchens, some on the beach, and others around the pool. The goal of most clients is to keep the wet feet and the sand out of the house along with keeping close to where the action is. 

pool house kitchen

I spoke with Dana Gonsalves of Crane Appliances in Falmouth, Massachusetts and he agrees “cooking on the grill is a great way to entertain company or just feed the family without heating up the kitchen. Clients want to spend more time outside and entertain in the short summer months.”

He explains “clients looking to design an outdoor kitchen do not want to be scurrying back and forth from the kitchen to the patio for items, so designing a space that allows for grilling, refrigeration, sink, trash, storage and workspace is important to them.”

outdoor kitchen

I have also included the Sub-Zero Fridge and Fisher Paykel dishwasher drawers in a pool house kitchen. Cataldo Builders of Falmouth, Massachusetts built this great pool house, perfect for entertaining, even if the weather isn’t perfect. The loft space is great for overflow and storage for the winter. The peninsula provides excellent space for a buffet. The grille is located just outside on the stone patio.

cape cod pool house

cape cod pool house

built in outdoor grille

Now if you don’t want to miss the game or your favorite reality TV show while hanging at the pool, media can certainly be added to any pool house. This pool house kitchen I designed features a full service kitchen, sink, dishwasher, fridge, elevated bar and even a flat screen TV. 

Elements such as the wooden ceiling treatment, the paddle fan and wicker stools add to the bungalow feel of this great space. These homeowners use this pool house as long as the summer weather holds out and open it as early in the spring as they can.  Once stocked, this kitchen operates as their full-time kitchen, as they love to entertain and their space is often filled with family and friends.

cape cod pool house

cape cod pool house

There is no end to what you can do with an outdoor kitchen. You can spend quality time with family and friends, you won’t waste a minute of valuable summer weather, and you can enjoy an increased quality of life.

I hope that you will be enjoying your Fourth of July outdoors celebrating. Happy Summer!

Gail O’Rourke is president and owner of White Wood Kitchens in Sandwich Massachusetts. A custom cabinetmaker and finish carpenter Gail has over ten years of custom design and construction experience.  For more information visit the White Wood Kitchen website. 

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