Designing Your Outdoor Kitchen
In this featured guest blog, Matchless customer Mark McIntosh shares his experience with building his outdoor kitchen.
In the beginning, there was a folding table.
We've all been there: a rather un-glamorous start to your outdoor-cooking pasttime begins with an appliance or grill you love, placed on a folding table.
It gets the job done, but quickly you realize you need more space, more function, and certainly more style.
When you start researching outdoor kitchens, one thing will become readily apparent very quickly: there are an almost unending number of appliance and material options, and there are no shortages of opinions on what constitutes the ideal outdoor kitchen. The reality is, every space, every family, and every outdoor cook has different needs. Each person has different budgets, different spaces available to them, and a different vision for what they want to do with their space. If you have a passion for outdoor cooking and entertaining, the space you design becomes a very personal one. So how do you even start to sift through the seemingly innumerable options? As someone who recently went on this journey myself, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.
Do your homework.
You don’t want to get lost staring into the infinite void, but it’s important to look around before you buy. Let’s face it, outdoor kitchens aren’t a small, or cheap endeavor. I spent a LOT of time looking at appliance options, layouts and cabinet options.
Some things I didn’t even know I needed until I saw them (future entry alert: Louvered pergola!), in other cases some ideas seemed good at first blush, but with a little time the luster wore off. If you can afford literally every appliance and storage solution, that’s awesome.
However, for a lot of us, figuring out and prioritizing which appliance combinations will suit our needs and then planning around them becomes an important priority. Facebook groups and other online forums can be a great resource for getting ideas. Just remember that you’ll see people with apparently limitless budgets and massive spaces: envy will probably rear its head. Be prepared to cherry pick ideas and then move on sometimes.
Plan the specifics.
When I was planning my kitchen, I had big ideas for a fairly contained space. I didn’t have the space, or budget (more on that in a minute) for everything, but I wanted to maximize the space as much as I possibly could. That meant measuring, and re-measuring. Configuring and reconfiguring. Planning tools like the Matchless Planner can be super helpful here. Visualizing your space may help you realize your initial plans are better in theory than reality. When I recently ordered an extra run of cabinets to add a sink and more countertop space to a separate part of my porch, I had tentatively planned on using bigger cabinets than I ended up ordering. When I taped out the space for the cabinets on my deck, I realized (with the help of my wife to keep me in line) that I was trying to cram too much in an area and it would have been over-crowded.
There are some basic details to keep in mind that we can’t cover in enough detail in this post. Such as: how much countertop space you have for prep and between your cooking appliances and drastically change the functionality of your kitchen; locations for electrical outlets; the space and ability to run lines for propane/natural gas, electric, and plumbing need to be considered. As well as items like ventilation and making sure you leave enough room for people to navigate the space and the elbow room to work while you’re cooking amazing food.
These are details that can easily be under-scrutinized, which can lead to regrets down the road.
Know your budget.
Remember how I started the article talking about how ultimately your outdoor space is a very personal space? Perhaps nowhere is this more true than when it comes to budget. Everyone’s budget is different, and that’s ok. But it’s definitely helpful to have a pretty good idea of what you want, and can afford to spend as you’re planning your space. Sometimes there’s no need to agonize between one grill versus another when the $1500 price difference makes one unattainable, and the other a solid option for your budget.
And here is where Matchless Cabinets was a breath of fresh air for a shopper like me. The prices are listed right on the website. No need to plan a consultation with someone and get a quote after the fact just to get some idea what the product is going to cost. No getting a contractor to give you a quote which may or may not have any real relation to the bill you get after the fact. The pricing is transparent, available right on the website. And in the end you can get a high-quality product for a competitive price.