Outdoor kitchens have come a long way since the classic old-style brick barbecue, with modern, sleek designs mirroring the kitchens we're using inside.
You can now incorporate a wide range of appliances including teppanyaki plates, smokers, dishwashers, wok burners, pizza ovens, and the trusty barbecue.
Stephen Corrish, MKN Kitchens and Laundries' sales and design manager, says house are being designed to incorporate an integrated outdoor entertaining area, which often wraps around indoor living and kitchen areas or vice-versa. “People want to be outside most of the time. The outside is a big part of the inside,” Stephen explains.
“Design is the first step. Is it a continuation of the existing kitchen, or do they want something different?,” he says.
Most customers seem to opt for simple, timeless designs which vary depending on the appliances they want to include.
Stephen explains that the most important consideration, when planning to install an outdoor kitchen, is to ensure the products and appliances used are suitable for outdoor use. Otherwise it will look good for a year and then deteriorate as rust develops and cabinets swell.
They need to be able to withstand the elements — sun, wind and rain.
“You need waterproof doors and cabinetry, not water-resistant,” he says.
Man-made or engineered stone benchtops should not be used outside because the glues and colours will break down.
Stephen recommends using granite. But he cautions against marble, explaining it is a soft stone that can stain easily. You also need to ensure the stone can cope with the intensity of the heat that will come from the barbecue.
Handles and hinges must be made from marine-grade stainless steel.
Stephen and the team at MKN created a dream outdoor kitchen for Simon Ross and Danielle O’Neill’s Closeburn home last year.
It had all the bells and whistles, including a Big Green Egg grill and smoker, custom-made rangehood, Weber barbecue, dishwasher, fridge, sink, motorised bin and an oversized ceiling fan.
“It was just a whole second kitchen for the house,” Danielle says.
Simon agrees, saying it also added “lots of laughs and awesome parties … outdoor living”. The outdoor kitchen cost about $30,000 (including appliances) and was part of a major renovation of the house, which achieved a record sale price for the area when it was sold in May. They were thrilled with the quality of the job and hope to create something similar at their new Warner home.
Stephen says the average cost of an outdoor kitchen is $5000-$10,000 (without appliances).
Eurostyle Group produces modular outdoor kitchens ranging from 2.36m to 5.09m, which include a wide range of appliances.
State manager Charlie Cassar says his company released its range about 18 months ago. The kitchens have a 10-year warranty and are waterproof, saltproof, antibacterial and antifungal. They range from $7500-$15,500 (including appliances).
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