Design

3 Things I Would Change About Our Outdoor Kitchen

May 15, 2024

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Cooking has always been one of my favorite things to do for my family. And what makes cooking even more fun? When you’re cooking outside. That’s why when we designed our outdoor kitchen, I wanted it to be a place where I could create the most tasty meals using all of my favorite tools and have everything available for entertaining as well.

I’ve recently gotten some questions about what would I do differently in our outdoor kitchen, now that I’ve used it for a little over a year. It usually takes a bit of time in a place to realize what’s working and what’s not working. Honestly, there really isn’t much I would change. But here are a few things that I think would make a difference for the function of the space.

Chris Loves Julia | Outdoor Kitchen with Moody Brown Pergola

Light Fixtures (similar) | Cold Plunge | Bar Stools | Stone Vase

The Ice Maker

Chris Loves Julia | Outdoor Kitchen Sink, Refrigerator and Ice Maker
Shop the Backyard

Unfortunately the ice maker never really worked. I think it gets too hot out, and the door doesn’t really seal properly. Most of the time, people grab cans of pop or water in the drink fridge next to it, and they’re cold enough they don’t need the ice. So instead of a drink fridge and an ice maker I would have done a drink fridge and a freezer. The kids would love to have easy access to popsicles during the summer after the pool. I may change it out, actually, because I love that idea.

The Warming Drawer

Chris Loves Julia | Outdoor Kitchen Warming Drawer Under the Flat-top

Warming Drawer | Vase | Faux Flowers

It seemed like a helpful thing to add, but I really don’t use the warming drawer all that much. I tend to pace my cooking with the end goal of having all the dishes ready at the same time anyway. It’s habit at this point, so I just don’t have much need for a warming drawer. This would have been better used for more storage. You can never have enough storage for kitchen tools, am I right?

The Pergola›

Chris Loves Julia | Outdoor Kitchen Pergola in Cromwell Gray

Outdoor Kitchen Sources

This is probably the biggest change I would make — the covering for the outdoor kitchen. The look of the open pergola is great, but I would have made the covering solid. I’m totally happy grilling out in the rain if I’m under a cover of some sort, and it would be nice to have the sun fully blocked in the hottest months of the year. Hopefully I can find a solution for that at some point.

And really? That’s it. Everything else I absolutely love. Even with those small things this outdoor kitchen is still a dream, and it’s so fun cooking up smashburgers or grilling kebabs out there.

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What do you think?

  1. Liz says:

    This is helpful! Thanks for sharing. We roughed in an outdoor kitchen on our patio when we built our house (we have a gas line and venting for a future grill, plus electrical), but we didn’t finish the outdoor kitchen out. It’s something we’re thinking about doing, though, so this was helpful to read!

  2. Lizabeth Cline says:

    Do you have appliance covers you recommend to keep rain water out of appliance?

    • Chris Loves Julia says:

      The covers for mine came from the equipment manufacturer so they’re a perfect fit. Most brands will offer fitted covers for their appliances, and those will always be the most effective, but sometimes you can find generic covers on Amazon that might do the trick if you’re talking about standalone units (they have a base they sit on and are often on wheels). For built-in appliances, I would only suggest the covers the brand offers.

  3. Joy Gross says:

    Oh my gosh I’m so excited about you doing a beach house. Xoxo

  4. GJC says:

    Get the motorized slats for the pergola. They’re wonderful; choice of open or closed. Maintenance, free, too.

  5. Cami says:

    It’s beautiful! I wonder if retractable pergola shades (going across the top) would help?

  6. Molly says:

    I love your outdoor kitchen so much, but the first thing I thought of as you revealed your plans last year was why you wouldn’t cover it—it limits your cooking days to dry days. I love the pergola, but it may best suit semi-covered dining or a general seating area. It’s still a beautiful area – enjoy it. Enjoy your family, friends and the warm weather!

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