Is an outdoor kitchen on a tight budget even possible?

 

The desire to extend our indoor spaces outdoors is more than ever in the air — especially after a long winter of looking forward to enjoying our beautiful outdoor terraces.

Photo Credit Jessica Rivière Gomez
 
Photo Credit Jessica Rivière Gomez
The desire to extend our indoor spaces outdoors is more than ever in the air — especially after a long winter of looking forward to enjoying our beautiful outdoor terraces.
 
My clients often express the wish to build an outdoor terrace with a kitchenette or a work surface for cooking and entertaining friends. This request is due, in my opinion, to the popularity of kitchen islands, where you can prepare meals while enjoying the company of friends gathered there. We want to transport this atmosphere outdoors!
The desire for an outdoor kitchen, nevertheless, usually comes with the same fear over and over again: "I guess it will be expensive." Yet everything depends on the material you choose — you just have to be creative! For a project I had last summer, the structure of the counter and cabinets were made of MDF for the outdoors, a weatherproof material for extra protection that we tinted a beautiful shade of gray. (Another tip: at a big box store, cut MDF panels to size and assemble them at home.)
 
Plus, after talking with a ceramic retailer, the best route to take is to cover the counter with a large porcelain tile, installing it like you would any product of this kind on the ground. Porcelain is very resistant, making it ideal for outdoor use. Some tiles on the market measure up to 24" x 24". This is how we ended up covering an outside counter with only a few pieces, trimming off any excess. You can get by on less than $100. Currently, paving companies offer product lines for outdoor kitchens at different prices, of course — some choices are more expensive than others.
 
For appliances, you should opt for a small refrigerator that can fit under the counter and ranks the winter. Keeping drinks and food for meals cool will save you many trips between the house and yard, which would be convenient. I also think you should cover your outdoor kitchen with a cover or a tarp in winter — or store it, if possible — making it last longer.
 
With so many options on the market available to you, you'll find a way in no time to cook outdoors in the company of your guests, for less. Summer is at your doorstep. Enjoy every moment of it!

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About the author

University of Montreal graduate in interior design (2004), Jessica Rivière Gomez is passionate of both interior design and architecture.

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