In years past, outdoor kitchens weren’t very common at all. Relatively few people could afford such a luxury—or perhaps few people realized just how useful an outdoor kitchen can be. Whatever the case, outdoor kitchens have recently seen a sharp increase in both popularity. Higher demand has prompted manufacturers and building contractors to make outdoor kitchens more accessible than ever.
If you live in a State like New Jersey, where winters get very cold, you might have already dismissed the idea of building an outdoor kitchen. After all, you could only use it a few months out of the year, right? And what happens when the snow flies? Won’t your kitchen appliances and fixtures get damaged?
Not necessarily. Although outdoor kitchens are certainly popular in more tropical climates, people who live in areas with four distinct seasons are also getting in on the action. If you’ve ever thought about building an outdoor kitchen as a part of your deck, porch or gazebo, here are seven features you should definitely know about.
1. Grill & Side Burner
A freestanding grill is one thing, but if you want full functionality and a touch of class, you’ve got to consider built-in grills, side burners, and ovens. Specialty outdoor appliances that are integrated into permanent outdoor deck structures (such as an outdoor kitchen island) can also be protected in the coldest months.
An outdoor sink is important if you want cooking to be easy. Reputable contractors and designers are experienced in this area, and should be able to give you a number of attractive options in terms of your outdoor sink’s position and style.
3. Outdoor Refrigerator
It’s a luxurious feeling to open a nondescript door in your kitchen setup and find a fully functional refrigerator there. Outdoor refrigerators are typically smaller than indoor refrigerators, with a more rugged construction. Skilled outdoor deck and kitchen builders can build a custom spaces for this and other outdoor kitchen appliances.
If you’ve ever fantasized about having beer, cider, or soda on tap while you host an event, a built-in keg-erator can make those dreams a reality. Ask your contractor for a custom finish to give your built-in keg holder a classic feel.
5. Ice Maker
What’s better than having a supply of ice always at your fingertips during the hot Summer months? Homeowners who build ice makers into their outdoor kitchens are truly looking for an experience of outdoor cooking luxury.
6. Utility Drawers
No indoor kitchen is complete without adequate storage, and outdoor kitchens are no exception. Make sure you built plenty of hidden storage space into your setup. One of the most common regrets people have about kitchens is a lack of storage space, so make sure to address this problem up front with ample storage.
What’s your dream kitchen?
Your ideal outdoor kitchen may have some or all of these amenities, but they’re all worthy of consideration when you’re making an investment as significant as this. By conducting your own research, thinking about the features that are most important to your family, and teaming up with a reputable outdoor kitchen contractor, you’ll be able to zero in on an outdoor kitchen that will truly expand your horizons at home—no matter how cold the winters get.
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