Gourmet Kitchen Shimmers in the Great Outdoors

Gourmet Kitchen Shimmers in the Great Outdoors

By Barbara Capella Loehr

The clients who own this kitchen wanted to expand their home's existing entertaining space, but not in the way one would normally expect. Instead of pushing out the walls, the homeowners enlisted the help of Thea Miller, interior designer with Sparkman & Associates Architects, Inc., to create an entirely new, but separate, pool/entertaining pavilion, which would include an outdoor kitchen.

Miller collaborated on the outdoor pool pavilion project with architects Frank Sparkman and Daniel Cooter, both also with the same Knoxville, TN-based architectural firm, as well as with a local pool designer and local landscape architect Garry Menendez.

The outdoor kitchen not only accommodates the wife's gourmet cooking with its state-of-the-art, stainless steel appliances, but its comfortable casual contemporary style suits her family's needs, notes Miller.

"The clients are an upscale couple who live on a lake," remarks Miller. "The couple purchased the lot of land adjacent to theirs in order to build a pool, and it grew into a pavilion that also includes this outdoor kitchen and bar area with a walk-in pantry/storage room, plus whirlpool spa, a pool house, two full-size baths, a laundry area, a bunker house that sleeps eight, an eating area with tables and chairs, and a seating area with a large stone fireplace."

This architectural and design feat was accomplished within approximately 2,000 square feet of space, with the new outdoor kitchen measuring 15'x10'. It also marks the third major project Sparkman & Associates has done for the couple.

SUNSET Shine
To begin, Miller and the design team turned to the reflections of the lake and the pool for inspiration. The opted for materials particularly in the kitchen that shimmer and play off the natural sunlight flooding the outdoor space, which mimic the look of the sunset at the end of the day.

They also wanted to keep everything under one roof, creating one L-shaped structure that related architecturally to the existing house, which had a bungalow/lodge feel to it. Each area was given its own identity through the use of differently pitched roof heights and other small architectural details. As a result, "The kitchen is sort of a separate entity that's still attached to the pool house," says Miller.

To give the galley kitchen an iridescent look that reflected the sunlight, while still maintaining its high function, durability and easy care, Miller specified all stainless steel cabinetry for the space. Randy Guignard at Café International fabricated and installed all of the custom stainless cabinetry, including a cabinet with a pull-out tray for a 27" TV.

"While the outer portions of the cabinetry have a flat stainless finish, Randy used a dimpled finish on all of the cabinet drawer fronts and doors. That finish softens the look of the cabinetry, and makes it more resistant to fingerprints," says Miller.

The cabinetry features pull-out trays and shelves, and is finished off with a standard Café International pull that "features an elongated arc, which plays off the arc of the large, main bar top," says Miller. The pulls also recall the arc of the sun setting over the lake, she adds.

Next, granite countertops from Stonecraft, a local supplier, were installed, providing plenty of work surfaces. They top both the curved bar in front of the kitchen and the smaller straight bar on the side.

She also specified a custom-designed, glass tile backsplash to go with the countertops. "It was a custom design by Debby Hagar, a local tile artist. While she did not make the tiles, she did come in and arrange the tiles which were in mostly warm tones, reds and yellows, for the most part in a pattern that, again, mimicked the sunset idea we were using," notes Miller.

While materials such as copper, stainless steel and glass tile bring to mind shimmering sunsets on the lake and the pool, the top-of-the-line, all stainless steel appliances lend the space high functionality.

"We gave them the works," comments Miller. "The works" includes a 48", four-burner gas range that features a 22" grill from Wolf; a Wolf range hood; a Jenn-Air side-by-side refrigerator/ freezer; an Amana microwave; a Bosch dishwasher, and a KitchenAid icemaker and trash compactor. These appliances, coupled with a walk-in pantry/storage room behind the back wall of the kitchen, make the space not only suitable for everyday use, but also for use as a catering kitchen, notes Miller.

LIGHTING UP THE NIGHT
Despite the fact that this kitchen is flooded with natural light simply because it is located outdoors, it still needed to light up the night and be functional if the roll-down shutters Miller installed in front and to the right of the sink were closed due to inclement or chilly weather.

"I used undercabinet lights on the upper cabinets on the back wall of the kitchen and underneath the hood, and lit all of the front surfaces with recessed cans," explains Miller. "There are also two ceiling fans in the center with a few can lights in between them."

Miller originally was going to use pendants to light the larger, curved bar top, however, she ultimately went with candles, which added the final touch to the outdoor kitchen. "They are more organic for the space," she concludes. "They fit in well with the setting."

Project Highlights

  • To give the outdoor gourmet galley kitchen an iridescent look that reflects the sunlight while still maintaining its high function, durability and easy care, interior designer Thea Miller specified all stainless steel cabinetry, fabricated and installed by Café International, throughout the space. A glass tile backsplash in mostly reds and yellows and granite countertops add to the kitchen's casual contemporary, reflective look.
     
  • Stainless steel, state-of-the-art appliances, coupled with a walk-in pantry/storage room placed behind the back wall of the kitchen, make the space not only suitable for everyday use, but also ideal for use as a catering kitchen, notes Miller.
     
  • One double-bowl, stainless steel sink also adds to the look and function of the outdoor kitchen. Exposed beams and ceramic tile flooring round out the kitchen's look.
     
  • The outdoor kitchen is flooded with natural light simply because it is outdoors. However, it still needed to light up the night and be functional if the roll-down shutters Miller installed in front and to the right of the sink were closed due to inclement or chilly weather. To that end, Miller's lighting plan includes undercabinet lighting, recessed cans and candles.
     
  • Products include: custom stainless steel cabinetry with a dimpled finish on door and drawer fronts and standard matching pulls from Café International; a 48", four-burner, gas range that features a 22" grill from Wolf; a Wolf range hood; a Jenn-Air side-by-side refrigerator/freezer; an Amana microwave; a Bosch dishwasher; a KitchenAid icemaker and trash compactor; Stonecraft granite countertops; a custom-designed, glass tile backsplash; one stainless steel, double-bowl sink; recessed can lights; undercabinet lighting; two ceiling fans; candles; 27" TV; ceramic tile flooring; exposed beams; and pull-down shutters.

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