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Moving the kitchen outdoors.

Moving the kitchen outdoors

Western family cookouts and company entertaining have long focused on the barbecue. It may still sit out outside the back door, but increasingly it has permanent companions--in some cases, the full range of comforts and conveniences built into indoor kitchens.

The eight patio kitchens on these pages are in Southern California, where the climate lends itself year-round to outdoor cooking and dining. But they can inspire homeowners throughout the West, even where outdoor living is more seasonal.

In all cases, these homeowners were aware of the difficulty of keeping outdoor cooking facilities clean; their kitchens were designed to require little maintenance. Use of protective grill covers and rugged materials like concrete and tile makes it possible to clean the areas simply by hosing them down. Moisture-sensitive electrical outlets and wiring are placed out of the way of routine cleanup.

Layout and choice of cooking elements arise from each homeowner's favorite recipes or type of cooking--from classic grilled steak or home-smoked salmon to wok-fried vegetables and griddle-cooked shrimp. Facilities built around the barbecue include preparation and serving areas, storage cabinets, sinks (sometimes with garbage disposals), and places to eat.

Brentwood pavilion

Joan and Allan Burns enlisted Los Angeles architects Ann Agnew and Donald H. Boss to design the poolside pavilion pictured above. Establishing simple lines with low-maintenance materials, they designed two 8-foot-tall concrete-block rectangular units to support a flat roof atop 8-by-12 beams, 6-by-6 rafters, and tongue-and-groove 2-by-12 cedar planks. The roof bears solar panels for the adjacent pool.

The barbecue sits in a 4-inch-thick concrete counter; a generous 2 1/2 feet wide, it offers plenty of room not only for preparation but also for buffet serving. Around the fireplace, more 4-inch-thick concrete is cantilevered to create a floating hearth-bench.

Behind the barbecue wall, a closet holds plates, candles, cushions, and other supplies. Redwood 1-by-3s, stained light gray, face all cabinets. Poolside brick decking continues into the new pavilion; concrete blocks in the end units were painted white.

Ojai cookhouse

A rustic-looking shelter shades Lil and Lyle Armstrong's compact but comprehensive outdoor kitchen.

On a concrete patio, former owner Malcolm Cripe built a brick wall that backs the stove and encloses the waist-high barbecue pit and small stainless steel sink (which drains into a dry well). Behind the wall is the motor housing for the removable spit.

The enclosure's simple post-and-beam construction combines 4-by-4 posts and 2-by-6 beams to support the overhanging roof. Walls were framed with 2-by-4s and finished with grapestake fencing. Below one buffet counter are a small refrigerator and storage for cooking equipment.

Villa Park gazebo

Art and Marilyn Granito wanted a barbecue area to be the focal point of their garden, but their lot had little level space to spare. Dana Point landscape architects Forsum/Summers & Partners cut into the garden slope, building a brick retaining wall that backs the tile-topped barbecue counter pictured at left. Custom cabinets store tableware and cooking equipment.

Sheltering the counter and patio table is an octagonal gazebo, with custom-turned posts, decorative dentils, and brick paving that echo details of the colonial-style house.

Ojai Oriental cooktop

The layout of this extensive barbecue area began with a griddle scavenged from a fire-damaged restaurant. Completing the outdoor kitchen are two gas-fired barbecues with removable hoods, a two-burner cooktop with wooden cover, an under-counter refrigerator, and a sink with garbage disposal.

Owner-designer Jo Ann Messina had the oversize griddle set in a dining-height counter so her husband, Sal, could show off his favorite style of cooking. A hinged panel conceals the gas controls.

When not in use, the griddle is protected by an exterior-grade plywood cover; standard drawer handles make the cover easy to move.

(A small griddle--12 by 19 inches--costs about $140 at specialty barbecue stores. To custom-order a larger size, look in the yellow pages under Restaurant Equipment & Supplies or Steel Fabricators; for a smooth surface with even heat distribution, ask for 5/8-inch plate with Blanchard-ground face and deburred edges. The griddle can be heated electrically, or by gas in very well-ventilated areas.

Santa Monica cooking lineup

Across one wall of his patio, designer-builder Dietmar Kruger used concrete blocks reinforced with steel to frame his dual-chamber smoker and cooking counter. He finished the smoker (inside and out) and the counter face with several coats of cement, surfacing the backsplash and countertop with white ceramic tiles. Above the cooking counter, he installed a custom-bent sheet-metal hood; intended to be purely decorative, it's finished with cement.

Naples barbecue table

This tile-topped barbecue and dining table sits on Renee and Franklin Pratto's tiny patio. Plywood forms were used to shape the poured-concrete pedestal and top, both reinforced with steel. The 6-foot-diameter top has a 28-inch-diameter center cavity with a threaded rod called a jack shaft (sold at masonry stores) set into a sleeve. On the shaft, Mr. Pratto mounted a 24-inch-diameter grill. To adjust the height, he spins the grill. A gas jet heats the underlying bed of lava rock; the gas line runs from the nearby living room fireplace wall, under the patio, and up through the pedestal.

Photo: Under the counter are drawers, storage space, a small refrigerator

Photo: Barbecue pavilion in Brentwood

Open and airy pavilion invites outdoor cooking, dining, and entertaining. Kitchen lineup at one end includes barbecue and sink set into concrete counter. At opposite end, fireplace offers hearth seating. Flat roof shades cushion-banked built-in bench; infrared heaters on roof beams warm diners

Photo: Cookout counter with a water view in Indian Wells

Cool blue tiles surround the stainless steel sink and gas grill in this 2-foot-deep barbecue counter. Sitting on a wood-framed base finished with gray concrete, the counter bridges the gap between two stucco columns that help support a shade structure over the dining patio. Tiles partially cover the sides as well as the top of the counter, making the surface quick to clean. Design by Patrick Evan Sheehy

Photo: Woodsy cookhouse under the oaks in Ojai

Shingle-roofed and paneled with grapestakes, this cookhouse has a surprising lineup: stainless steel sink, brick barbecue with motorized spit--and a four-burner, two-oven stove that once lived indoors. On three sides, a buffet counter of 2-by-12s suits serve-yourself dining

Photo: Their kitchen is a gazebo in Villa Park

Cradled in the curve of a low brick retaining wall, this are-shaped counter contains a gas-fired barbecue, double sink with garbage disposal, refrigerator, and storage cabinets. Decorative soffit inside rim of octagonal roof hides ceiling-aimed perimeter lights

Photo: Countertop Oriental-style cooking in Ojai

Painted plywood cover with weatherstripping gasket covers griddle set into tiled counter. Two gas barbecuse, a pair of gas burners, and ample storage space are built into the adjacent counter. Generous countertop and magnetic rack keep utensils within easy reach. Counter is the right height for seated diners, giving the cook an audience for Japanese-style showmanship in kitchen designed and built by Jo Ann Messina with Fortner Millwork

Photo: An L-shaped kitchen niche in Encino

Set into rear wall of house below an overhanging bedroom, this barbecue area leaves plenty of garden space; only the sculptural chimney wall, containing grill and refrigerator, protrudes into patio. Tongue-and-groove paneling covers the cabinets; downlights illuminate the tiled counters. Design: architect Sam Tolkin of Santa Monica for Carolyn and Steven Levy

Photo: From smoker to wok in Santa Monica

Two-chamber smoker has fire-building compartment at bottom, racks for hanging fish and meat above. Next to smoker, the lineup includes gas-fired barbecue and griddle, gas ring for wok, and a sink. Smoker; counter front, and ornamental hood are finished in cement. Horizontal black iron doors hide storage and gas controls

Photo: Barbecue built into octagonal table for small patio in Naples

As many as eight diners can pull up to this octagonal table with a grill in the center. Two-foot-wide counter provides room to set out all meal elements in serve-yourself fashion. Both base and counter are poured concrete; stucco finishes the base, while ornamental tiles cover the top and edges surrounding the grill. Circular grill can be raised and lowered over flame-heated lava rocks that sit 6 inches below the counter surface. A key in the barbecue pedestal turns on the gas.
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Sep 1, 1986
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