Houston Lifestyles & Homes October 2009
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Outdoor Kitchens
The perfect recipe for outdoor entertaining
The Grand Pavilion GPV3100 is a premier Cal Flame barbecue island that features high-tech outdoor entertainment options such as three dropdown TVs and stereo surround sound. Photo courtesy of Cal Spas.
By Christie Craig
Fall has officially begun and the leaves may be changing, but the temps in southern Texas are still perfect for outdoor entertaining. If fact, it ’s possible to entertain nearly year round, especially if you have an outdoor kitchen equipped with all the amenities your used to having indoors.
And if you don’t yet have an outdoor kitchen, perhaps it’s time to consider getting one. Not only would it enhance your enjoyment of an outdoor living space, it will likely increase your home ’s resale value.  Call it cocooning, or just plain living smarter, but Americans are spending more of their leisure time at home now than ever before.
Patricia Bowden, vice president of communications for the American Home Furnishings Alliance, thinks she knows why this is, too.
“AHFA’s research at the beginning of the year found that 40 percent of Americans planned to spend less time on out-of-town vacations this summer because of the economy, ” says Bowden. “Many others are getting some additional time at home, thanks to ‘summer hours’ at work and other cost- savings measures used by employers.”
Fortunately, Bowden says, Americans are making the most of the extra time at home by making their home more livable.  
Casey Loyd, president of Cal Spas, the number one global manufacturer of Home Resort Products, agrees.
“Homeowners are choosing to stay home more now than ever and have found that to fully enjoy their home they want to update their backyard with today ’s outdoor living essentials,” Loyd explains.
And a well-designed summer kitchen is quickly becoming one of these outdoor living essentials.
From Small and Compact
to Large and Elaborate

Years ago, cooking outdoors meant barbecuing and grilling—both wonderful alternatives to indoor cooking but still limiting when it came to options for food preparation. Today, however, an outdoor kitchen can have all the amenities of home . . . and even a few it doesn ’t have.
For example, outdoor kitchens can include a barbecue and grills, along with a refrigerator, cabinet space for dry goods, cookware and dish storage, stovetop-style burners, sink and a counter for prep work. Then there are the extras, such as roasting spits, bar-height counters for guests, big-screen televisions and stereo systems for outdoor entertaining —the list can be as long or as short as your imagination envisions.
Many homeowners want to take advantage of their unused patio space and place their summer kitchen there, close to the main house. Others, however, choose to go with something farther away, perhaps near the pool or a design element of the backyard landscaping. Either can work.
Another thing to think about when designing your outdoor kitchen—they can be built to withstand the elements, but some designs require a covering of some kind. Pergolas or a simple structure with a retractable fabric covering overhead are a common choice for structures to house an outdoor kitchen.
The correct task lighting is a necessity in a well-planned outdoor kitchen. Photo courtesy of  Kichler Lighting.
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Fort Bend Publishing Group 2008