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Palm Springs Outdoor Kitchen
Photo courtesy of The Events Department, wedding and event planning in Palm Springs and the surrounding Coachella Valley.

Modernism Week celebrated its tenth anniversary this month. The annual February event — held in Palm Spring, California — is best described as a weeklong festival-like celebration of mid-century modern architecture and design.

Growing up by the beach in Northern California, I’ve been blessed with a lifestyle that’s afforded me firsthand knowledge of the glory of outdoor living — morning yoga downward-dogging it on the deck; afternoons spent sipping lemonade in the garden; evenings enjoying the company of friends gathered around the terrace fire pit.

I live in a climate where year-round considerations to hosting a nighttime rooftop party are limited to finding the perfect lightweight cardigan to throw over my sundress.

Slim Aarons "Poolside Gossip" Palm Springs photograph
“Poolside Gossip” by Slim Aarons (1970)

Still, nothing and nowhere says outdoor living like Palm Springs. The desert community, which enjoys over 300 days of sunshine a year, epitomizes the glamour of the great outdoors. The luxury of this outdoor lifestyle is captured perfectly in “Poolside Gossip,” Slim Aarons’ iconic 1970 photograph of ladies lounging poolside at a Palm Springs desert house designed by modernist architect Richard Neutra.

Conflicting previous engagements prevented me from attending this year’s Modernism Week; however, delving into the flurry of media coverage of the famed event has (almost) made up for my lack of attendance. Amazing social media coverage of Palm Springs Modernism Week from attendees such as Jeanne K. Chung, founder and editor of the wildly popular interior design blog, Cozy•Stylish•Chic, and celebrity interior + furniture designer Christopher Kennedy, whose show house event, The Christopher Kennedy Compound, has been called “The #1 Must-See Event for Palm Springs Modernism Week” got my thinking about outdoor living, particularly outdoor kitchens. Whether you live in a climate that affords you the luxury of enjoying the amenities of an outdoor kitchen all year long (desert, like Palm Springs; or subtropical like Florida) or whether your use of an outdoor kitchen is limited to a couple summer months a year, here’s how you can get the most pleasure out of your outdoor kitchen:

Outdoor Kitchens: The Basics

When designing an outdoor kitchen — or remodeling an existing one — there are a few basic considerations to keep in mind. Outdoor kitchen essentials can be broken down into these simple categories:

Outdoor Kitchen Appliances
Outdoor Kitchen Cabinetry
Outdoor Furniture
Outdoor Lighting

For this blog, I’m focusing on outdoor kitchen appliances since personally, these are the first purchases I would consider when making the decision to design an outdoor kitchen.

Outdoor Kitchen Appliances

A full-service outdoor kitchen requires more than a portable charcoal grill, some lighter fluid and a package of Oscar Meyer hot dogs.

Your plans for an outdoor kitchen design or outdoor kitchen remodel should include these 4 types of outdoor kitchen appliances: Cooking, Ventilation, Plumbing and Refrigeration.

1. Outdoor Kitchen: Cooking Appliances

There are three major outdoor cooking appliance categories to consider when designing an outdoor kitchen:

  • Grills and Smokers
  • Surface Cooking
  • Warming Drawers
Outdoor Kitchen Appliances: Kalamazoo Outdoor Cooktop | Revuu: Search for Excellence in Luxury Interiors
Kalamazoo Outdoor Double Cooktop Cabinet in gorgeous stainless steel.

Since grills are the main focus of outdoor kitchens, I thought they warranted an in-depth review which is why I wrote a separate blog entirely devoted to them, which you can find here.

But a grill — no matter how extravagant or technologically advanced — is just a grill. A full-service outdoor kitchen will most likely include a surface cooking unit, such as a cooktop, a wok, and/or a side burner.

Take a look at Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet’s 24″ Double Cooktop Cabinet featuring two brass burners with continuous grate. This beauty boasts all stainless steel hardware including weather-tight cabinets and drawers. With 32,000 total BTUs and electric ignition, this USA made cooktop cabinet comes fully-assembled and ready to install for the price of $4,595.

An overview of outdoor surface cooking wouldn’t be complete without mention of woks and side burners, which are great add-on features to the grill or cooktop of your choice.

But an entirely separate outdoor surface cooking appliance that is sure to be a crowd pleaser among the guests at your next cookout is a pizza oven.

Outdoor Kitchen Appliances: Alfresco Pizza Oven Plus | Revuu: Search for Excellence in Luxury Interiors
Impress your guests at your next outdoor party with homemade artisan pizza cooked in Alfressco Grills’ Pizza Oven Plus.

Alfressco Grills recently debuted their impressive Pizza Oven Plus. This at-home outdoor pizza oven is engineered to commercial performance perfection thanks to innovative technology such as a fireplace-like gas log that absorbs heat, creating an intense radiating heat that dramatically accelerate preheat time. The Pizza Oven Plus has a swift preheat time of 15 minutes and, according to the company’s website, it takes only 3 minutes to cook pizzas when placed directly on the ceramic infrared hearth burner. A built-in model of the Pizza Oven Plus costs around $7,668.

Outdoor Kitchen Appliances: Wolf Outdoor Warming Drawer | Revuu: Search for Excellence in Luxury Interiors
Warm berry-topped pancakes for brunch in the backyard? Just pop them in your Wolf Outdoor Warming Drawer!

Warming drawers are the cherry on top of a very decadent outdoor kitchen sundae. Warming drawers conquer the dreaded challenge of dining al fresco: keeping the first batch of burgers warm while waiting for a second batch to go on. Plus, warming drawers allow you to serve your meals at the perfect temperature, regardless of party-goers’ scattered or late arrival times. You may enjoy this one by Wolf. The 30” Wolf Outdoor Warming Drawer features a generous capacity (spacious enough to hold an entree and several sides, or even a set of dinnerware, cups and towels — yes, you can keep your pool towels nice and toasty as they wait for you to come out of the water) yet has a sleek appearance thanks to hidden electronic controls. The cost? About $1,975.


2. Outdoor Kitchen: Ventilation

Outdoor Kitchen Appliances: Viking Outdoor Hood | Revuu: Search for Excellence in Luxury Interiors
Custom outdoor kitchen at Palmira in Bonita Springs, Florida by Raymond Design Studio, featuring a Viking Outdoor Hood.

Think an outdoor kitchen doesn’t need an expansive ventilation system? Think again. According to an article published on kitchens.com, ventilation is the most neglected component of outdoor kitchen design. “The most overlooked thing in an outdoor kitchen is ventilation, particularly in a covered space,” warns kitchen and bath designer Martha Kerr, CMKBD, of Neil Kelly Company in Portland, Ore.

Ventilation hoods that are designed specifically for outdoor use generally cost between $1,250 to $3,000, depending on size, power and model.

Viking’s 36″ Wide, 18″ High Outdoor Hood costs around $1,689 and promises to keep your air fresh and clean, even after an evening spent toasting marshmallows for s’mores.

3. Outdoor Kitchen: Plumbing

Outdoor Kitchen Appliances: Kalamazoo dishwasher | Revuu: Search for Excellence in Luxury Interiors
Enjoy scenic views while loading your dishwasher thanks to Kalamazoo.

Plumbing considerations for your outdoor kitchen include the obvious (sinks and dishwashers) but also fun stuff too, such as bars and cocktail stations.

If you’re going to do your cooking in the great outdoors, why not do the cleaning there as well? Instead of traipsing greasy dishes back into your pristine indoor kitchen for washing, ditch the grime at the scene of the crime. Or simply rinse your green-leaf lettuce and tomatoes for burger toppings that are fresher-than-fresh. Lynx Grills live up to their tagline of “Everything For The Outdoor Kitchen,” as they carry a wide selection of heavy duty 304 stainless steel sinks and faucets.

For more daunting cleaning tasks, you may want to consider adding a dishwasher to your outdoor kitchen. An outdoor dishwasher gives you complete independence from your indoor kitchen. The world’s first outdoor-rated dishwasher was designed by Kalamazoo. The maker of luxury outdoor kitchen products promises that their $3,995 stainless steel dishwasher with protected electronics and wiring will withstand all of the harsh elements throughout the coldest of winters and hottest of summers.

Outdoor Kitchen Appliances: Danver outdoor cocktail station | Revuu: Search for Excellence in Luxury Interiors
On the rocks, with a twist! It’s always happy hour with Danver’s outdoor cocktail station.

Entertain your guests like a pro (or better yet, like Samantha and Darrin Stephens from Bewitched) with an outdoor cocktail station. Danver makes a variety of built-in cocktail stations designed to be installed into your outdoor kitchen’s island. Glastender Home Cocktail Stations by Danver include a cocktail ice bin with sliding stainless steel cover, three condiment cups, bottle well for iced bottle storage, sink with cold water faucet, cutting board, bottle rail, towel bar, and bottle opener and cap catcher.

4. Outdoor Kitchen: Refrigeration

Outdoor Kitchen Appliances: Coyote Outdoor Refrigerator | Revuu: Search for Excellence in Luxury Interiors
Coyote’s outdoor refrigerator makes outdoor entertaining convenient and easy, leaving more time for fun.

Make outdoor entertaining a breeze by including an outdoor refrigerator in your outdoor kitchen design — it makes the grilling process much more convenient. Depending on the design of your outdoor kitchen, you may opt for outdoor undercounter refrigeration from a luxury brand such as Perlick, or you might decide that a freestanding refrigerator works best in your space. For a basic, yet high-end, outdoor-rated freestanding refrigerator, you may enjoy what the Coyote Outdoor CBIR Outdoor Refrigerator has to offer. With its stainless steel exterior and a capacity of 4.1 cubic feet, the Coyote outdoor refrigerator can store everything from porterhouse steak and organic artisan BBQ sauce to fresh fruit salad and San Pellegrino sparkling mineral water. In this case, the convenience of having an outdoor refrigerator will cost you about $1,207.


Should outdoor dining remain more quaint? When you think about dining al fresco, do charming storybook scenes of the contents of a wicker picnic basket spread a top a gingham blanket covering a grassy hill, come to mind? Would you rather spend your renovation budget on improving your home’s interior? Tell me your thoughts on all things relating to outdoor kitchens in the comments section below!


1 Response

  1. Very nice and good looking outdoor kitchen you got there. It is really nice to throw a party every now and then. You just have to pick the right appliances and outdoor decorations to make your kitchen more attractive. You just gave me an idea on how I can remodel my kitchen outside. Thank you for the tips.

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