An Overdue Outdoor Kitchen Update

September 21, 2022

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This outdoor kitchen has been a long time in the making! And we’re still not done, but it’s officially usable and in service. Chris’s parents AND my sister Patti happened to be in town over the weekend and so we figured… Why not break in the outdoor kitchen and pool furniture and throw a pool party?? Chris cooked up his famous salt and vinegar chicken while everyone lounged and swam. We finished the night off ’round the fire-pit, roasting s’mores, and enjoying the magical North Carolina weather. Don’t wait!

Chris was of course in heaven, grilling up a storm and testing out all the bells and whistles in his dream outdoor kitchen, and while there’s still more to come, we thought we’d give you an update!

Outdoor Kitchen Grills and Appliances

This past Christmas I surprised Chris with a trip to Barbecue University where he was able to learn and grill from top professionals and try out all of the best grills on the market. He had the most fun, but he also got to take all sorts of grills for a test run! The moment he came home he started drawing up plans for the outdoor kitchen and honed in on exactly the kind of grills he wanted. Without question, he wanted to incorporate Twin Eagles premium grilling equipment into the outdoor space.

Twin Eagles + Dometic is a premium grilling brand that Chris has had his eye on for years. They’re considered a leader in fine outdoor kitchen equipment and now that we’ve experienced it, we get it. Incredible to grill with and it’s a dream come true for Chris!

There’s been some twists and turns with this outdoor kitchen, but the constant has been Twin Eagles. Getting everything ordered and in place was absolutely seamless and once I finally decided to paint the kitchen black (what my gut was telling me all along), everything seemed to fall into place. This is how it was always meant to be. Once this outdoor kitchen is completely finished we’ll do a more in depth look at everything we used, but for now here’s the list! Chris also does a breakdown in this Outdoor Kitchen Plans post!

Everything we used:

Appliances are connected to the HVAC, and everything passed inspection!

The Evolution of the Outdoor Kitchen

It’s hard to believe the outdoor kitchen once had stone on it! I had a huge pit in my stomach when they were putting it up. I just knew I couldn’t live with it and so before they put up the stone on the other side we made a pivot. Luckily they were able to salvage the majority of the stone but we did have to swallow the cost for changing our minds. One of the realities of renovating.

The backyard already had a lot of masonry with the bluestone, the pool, and all the red brick and so I decided to soften it with some paneling. We used a Hardie board planking which is made for the outdors! It’s a composite blend of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers–really durable stuff! It’s literally the same material we used for the exterior of our last house. DIY-ing it was really straight forward and took only a few full days of work.

We painted it Mouse’s Back by Farrow & Ball, and while I can see myself using this color somewhere else, it wasn’t the one. Certain times of day it looked perfect, but in the bright sunlight it wasn’t right. It was looking really washed out and so, after a couple weeks of stewing over it, we pivoted yet again.

I think it was meant to be black all along.

It took us a couple tries to get it right, but I’m glad I didn’t settle for anything less than what we love–at all times of day!

Paint color is the same Benjamin Moore Graphite that we used for the exterior of our last house. I should have known it all along. We used two coats of the Regal Select Exterior High Build in the Low Lustre sheen. It went on really great, but getting all those nooks and cracks took some time. Once we embraced the black, and got all the pool furniture in place, everything started clicking!

Getting the Countertops in Place

Countertop installation was that magical moment where it felt like an actual finished space! We went with a mist honed black granite and it’s even more stunning in person. Per our research in the Comparing 10 Popular Countertop Materials post, Granite can withstand high, high heat. With the amount of grilling appliances Chris will be working with, that was really important to us. Chris is going to be able to cook up a storm without worrying about the countertops keeping up.

Dining Table | Dining Side Chair | Dining Arm Chair | Serve Board | Wood Bowl | Faux Artichokes | Cloche

The countertops are sealed, and will get resealed two times a year to keep up with the outdoor elements.

A lot of you were concerned about the black surface being hot to the touch. Let me reassure you that the countertops haven’t seemed to retain too much heat. The outdoor kitchen is nestled between two exterior walls of our house which probably helps. It only gets direct sunlight during mid-day, which isn’t typically when we would be hosting.

There’s also going to be a pergola which will help with sun coverage.

Up next: Pergola and Pendants!

We’ve been storing the pergola in our garage for months now! It requires some assembly and will be painted the same Graphite color as the paneling. With how much rain we get in August and September, we’re trying to figure out if we want to put some type of covering over the pergola. We’re thinking either something permanent like a hard structure, or a canopy that can be pulled open or closed. This would extend the amount of use we can get out of the outdoor kitchen year round! And who wouldn’t want to spend all their time out here?

Woven Planter | Chaises | Striped Umbrellas | Umbrella Side Table

I love how this section of the backyard is connecting with everything else. The black is sprinkled throughout in the outdoor furniture so it all feels cohesive!

Now this is JUST a mock-up, but this is where we’re headed! I have two lighting pendant options that are both wet rated, but right now I’m leaning towards the lanterns over the copper pendants. What do you think?

Over on Instagram you may have seen the other stools that arrived from Rejuvenation. They are white metal, indoor/outdoor stools, with a wooden top. I love how the wood warmed up the space, but they looked so short tucked under the countertop. I also felt like they were too industrial looking which isn’t what I’m going for. So they’re going back!

Being able to finally check this outdoor kitchen off our checklist is going to feel SO good. It already does. And then I can focus on checking off the rest of our project punch list. What questions do you have?

More Outdoor Kitchen Posts

Project Punchlist

DIY Outdoor Kitchen Paneling

Outdoor Kitchen Plans

Comparing 10 Top Countertop Materials

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What do you think?

  1. Joan Merrimack says:

    Love how it turned out!! I think the pergola will look incredible, especially when the vines grow in.

    One side note – it’s become really hard to read your blog posts with all the ads. 24 ads and 7 photos….

  2. Patricia says:

    I learn more watching you rethink and pivot than I do when it’s one and done. Granted, some spaces have pivoted more than others, but it’s still a learning experience.

  3. JULIE says:

    I think black honed or leathered granite is one of the most underappreciated countertop material out there. Yours looks beautiful!

  4. Alexandra says:

    I’m confused. You had a whole post about your last house that said you used LP SmartSide. So did you use a James Hardie product for the outdoor area here or LP SmartSide? And which did you actually use on the previous house?

  5. Christina says:

    Can you just leave that equipment uncovered in the elements? I just don’t know that much about high-end outdoor stuff but I know I need to keep my basic grill covered between uses…

  6. Karen says:

    I vote for covered but translucent. My Mom had a clear corrugated topping to her arbor on her back porch & it was heavenly. Vines grew over it, but she still had good light. She also had an outdoor ceiling fan that kept the flies & mosquitoes at bay, very important with NC summers.

  7. Dana says:

    Love the outdoor kitchen painted black. It’s just stunning! I prefer the lanterns over the copper pendants as well. As far as covered vs. not covered, you could do a functional louvered pergola so you have the option for both!

  8. JRS says:

    100% think you should go for fully covered. Vines over where my food is cooking and being served is just a big no for me. Bugs, birds, lizards, dirt, pollen, rain will come right through that pergola, not to mention the excrement from all those critters hanging out in the vines. Yuck!

  9. Katie says:

    So so glad you ended up painting it black! It’s perfect!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Either retractable cover or something like Sara Parsons did. Lanterns for sure. Sending stools back was definitely the right call. Love the look of the vines… would probably work better if it was going to be covered otherwise could be cleaning up kitchen area a lot from debris etc.

  11. Joellyn says:

    Excited to see your pergola come to life! Covered seems practical for many reasons. I do like the look of the retractable canvas shades- like on the Toja brand pergolas. Beautiful. Wonder how long the canvas covers would last because I suspect you’d want to keep them closed to protect your equipment.

  12. REK981 says:

    I like the lanterns over the copper pendants and cannot wait to see this progress.

  13. Annie says:

    I would enclose the roof and add a fan. Keeping Chris cool and keeping flies away from the food. I know aesthetically a tan is off putting but it would be so functional here.

  14. Amy says:

    So beautiful! We live in the PNW (lots of rain!) and I’m not sure how weather compares to where you are, but we love having a covered outdoor space. We plan to upgrade our patio’s “roof” to have skylights, so we can keep the sheltering aspect but gain some natural light. It’s amazing to sit out in the rain, either to cook or just relax, and stay nice and dry…very soothing!

  15. Michelle says:

    Defiantly cover- just from seeing how much rain you had the week you were painting it! My parents have a covered outdoor kitchen and its great to be able to use it in almost all weather. Have you seen Sara Parson’s outdoor pergola and cover? It’s beautiful- on insta :)

  16. Kirsten Walker says:

    I want to see covered because I’m interested to see what y’all do because I know it’ll look amazing regardless! Plus Chris will get to use it more!!!

  17. Kate says:

    Mechanical Louvres! You can open and close as needed. 🖤

  18. JL says:

    Julia, it would be nice to see a mockup with the lanterns so that we can see the difference. At first I was leaning towards the copper pendants, but now I’m thinking the lanterns would work better. For one, you can then expand the lantern lighting to other areas of the yard…e.g. lantern posts or lantern lamps installed on top of all of the brick end posts all along the wall. As for the pergola cover, the perfect solution would be one that is permanent, doesn’t require frequent cleaning, but still lets in plenty of light.

  19. Nora says:

    Can you mock up what you’re thinking for pergola coverage?

  20. Katie says:

    My vote is fully covered (not just a pergola) for a truly blended indoor/outdoor living experience.

  21. Alesha Thompson says:

    We have a good friend that has a pergola over her porch and has vines growing all through it, it was beautiful but she says she hates it. She said stuff drops from the vines all the time and keeps everything below it so dirty and has stained her furniture cushions. Also, birds will perch on it and poop on everything below it. So just a heads up if y’all decide to leave it open, it’s beautiful but maybe not as practical? I think a retractable cover might be a good solution so y’all could have the best of both worlds!

  22. Amanda says:

    Definitely a covered pergola! Can’t wait to see the stools you end up with!

  23. It looks amazing and I love the look of the pergola, but I can’t help but think you’re going to want it fully covered so it stays looking nice for a long time! I wonder if you could do some sort of clear covering that still looks like an open air pergola, but has the benefit of protecting all those fancy grills from the elements!

    • Erin says:

      This is exactly what I was thinking. Keep the lovely pergola and wild vines but protect your food from misc. droppings from above. The corrugated clear porch roof sheets would do the trick. I also love the idea of an awning that would match your umbrellas. I have a neighbor who has quarter round dark green awnings above some small windows with direct sun and I always love seeing them pulled down on sunny days like sleepy eyelids. Not sure how you would hang the lights with either of these options though. Whatever you settle on will look awesome. Well done, Marcums!

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