The Great Outdoors - Outdoor Kitchens
Outdoor kitchens were practically made for island life. Here, a look at cooking, entertaining and relaxing under the Caribbean sun.
Words by Maria Carter.
Mild climates and breathtaking views are the norm in the tropics — and the desire to bask in nature’s glory is, well, natural, whether you’re savouring a leisurely breakfast or hosting a dinner party. Outdoor kitchens allow one to do just that. In fact, Antigua-based interior designer Charmaine Werth says feasting under the sun and stars has become so prevalent that many clients no longer have an interior dining room. So what goes into creating the ultimate alfresco space? Here, Werth, shares her tips and insight.
One of the design advantages of patio spaces is that walls don’t restrict them. If you’re fortunate enough to have a view of the Caribbean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean, make it your foreground, says Werth. A garden focal point can work equally as well, lending a Garden of Eden feel to the space, she adds.
The grill is the star here, and there are options for every budget, ranging from countertop grills and ceramic smokers to built-in charcoal units to professional-grade gas models with rotisserie spits. Wood-burning pizza ovens add another functional (and aesthetically pleasing) element. In addition to a nice, deep sink, abundant surface space makes meal prep a breeze — choose a sturdy, stain-resistant material like granite, tile, or concrete for countertops. Custom cabinetry that locks (for keeping dishes, cutlery, cooking utensils, etc. outside) and dishwashers are two elements worth splurging on. “The more time people are spending outside, the more they’re treating it like their secondary kitchen and living area,” she says. Wine coolers are a good investment, too—what’s a soirée without proper refreshments?
An open-air room should be as inviting as one inside the home, as such, Werth treats the spaces the same: “There’s a lot of emphasis on lighting, on comfortable seating, even on daybeds —whatever you can do on the inside, you can do on the outside.” For elements that set the tone and touch the senses, consider including a built-in, weatherproof audio system, a permanent pergola to shade the meal-prep area and a cosy fire pit for cool nights. Don’t forget lighting: outdoor spaces need more light sources, both task and ambient.
It is often the home’s existing aesthetic that dictates the design direction for an outdoor kitchen. If your home is traditional, modern, rustic, eclectic or otherwise, go for a matching or complementary décor scheme outside. Werth also suggests introducing mixed metals outdoors: stainless steel with bronze and, a favourite with clients as of late, brass and gold. “Today you really can have your outdoors looking and functioning just as beautifully as your indoors,” she says.
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