Jamie Durie Electrolux Outdoor Kitchens – Opinions?

July 1, 2010

Maybe you noticed and maybe you didn’t, but I have never discussed outdoor kitchens here.  It wasn’t a planned thing, I just haven’t had the desire.  Which kind of follows my lack of desire to design such things.   I am not politically against them or anything and I am ok with building in a BBQ to make a design more interesting, cohesive or functional, but when it comes to full on outdoor kitchen planning….which seems not so  different than full on indoor kitchen planning, it all starts to veer into an area of design that I personally have little interest for.  And for me its not just about the designing but also to have it at my own home….I simply do not desire the outdoor room that has a big old kitchen in it.
electrolux outdoor kitchen jamie durie
Here is what I am into….Wood Fired Pizza Ovens, My own Funky Firepit/ BBQ where I can cook meat over a real flame (or others like it that provide the same use),  and functional amenities to make an outdoor party fun and functional, interesting and different than an indoor party.  But beyond that, I am happy to carry my food from my indoor kitchen outside and I can totally leave the outdoor kitchen room and all it’s expense, flash and planning alone.

So when I saw Jamie Durie’s new line for Electrolux (which is admittedly an interesting and cool looking funky modern thing – but that I still don’t want), I just started to wonder….What do you guys think of outdoor kitchens?  Are you into them?  Do you want one?  If you are a designer, is this an area you want to work in, have worked in, want to work in more?  I am just curious to take the pulse of opinion about Outdoor Kitchens… Let’s discuss…

images from Trendir via Designer Pages.

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  1. Mike Swift says:

    Outdoor kitchens are like many other outdoor amenities that are extremely popular for awhile and then become less common. Client fads for pools, spas, pergolas, offset umbrellas, misting systems, etc. are other things that come to mind I doubt outdoor kitchens will go away anytime soon. They remind me a lot of the outdoor grill competition. Who has the biggest grill with the most accessories?

    If the client wants the outdoor kitchen so they can truly enjoy their space we should give it to them if it is feasible. The question is do they really want it for them or do they want it for the prestige? I don’t like to spend client money installing amenities that they really are not going to use. Questions I would ask the client would be about how much they cook outdoors now; what types of foods do they prepare; how much is prepared indoors versus outdoors; etc. Also, I would make sure the client is aware of the upkeep, maintenance, and clean-up issues.

    An outdoor kitchen certainly adds to the complexity of the job. Not only permits, plumbing, electrical, but also looking at ergonomic issues. In any outdoor kitchen I would certainly do an adjacency analysis and look carefully at traffic flow patterns.

    Outdoor kitchen work pays well since it is in demand. But it requires knowledge and skills. Being able to craft what the client wants and strategically place it in the outdoor space so that it really works for the client is a challenge. Outdoor kitchens are a lot like great rooms where the kitchen is a part of a larger living space. I have seen a lot of great rooms that just don’t work.

    Part of the appeal of the great room was for the cook to be a part of the entertaining. I think that is true of outdoor kitchens as well. There are just a lot of issues to consider in positioning the space in relation to the other areas and in making sure the space is fully functional.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I don’t care for outdoor kitchens. Too much of too much. It takes the unexpected out of outdoor food.

    I’ll stick with my “fire pit” which I cook over an open flame and have even tried to cook wood-fired pizza on it, but with no success – yet.

  3. ModFruGal says:

    We cook outside a lot, yet I find outdoor kitchens a bit OTT. Our grill is only a few steps outside from our kitchen with a side burner. We also keep a smoker and a jet burner for frying and using a giant wok that we keep in the garage…we just pull it out when we need it. I think the amount of “real estate” another kitchen would eat up in our yard would detract personally, but everyone is different. A grill and an outdoor fireplace are the only two things I like on hand.

  4. Shellene says:

    Same here! I am not a fan of outdoor kitchens, even tho I design a lot of them and am in the throws of designing a very elaborate one at the moment. It like being an architect, and if I wanted to do that I would have gone to school for it ; ) I think the garden should be left for the “garden” . I remember a few years back when water park landscapes/pools were the big thing (how ridiculous was this for tiny back yards) I believe that this too is a trend, but possibly will last for us here in mild climate of Southern Cal.

  5. Shellene says:

    On another note, Jamie’s designs , however clever they are, seem to be not at all practical…kinda drives me crazy! Any one else feel the same, or do I need to get over it?

  6. Susan aka Miss R says:

    Without commenting on the hunky Australian’s design…I love designing outdoor kitchens and have a few well used ones to my credit–from small built in bbqs to full on kitchens. Garden to table with outdoor prep and cooking extends time spent outside with family and not in a hot summer kitchen. It’s one of those things that until you have one you don’t know how much you missed it.

  7. rochelle says:

    Mike – your observations are right on, I do think that outdoor kitchens are like the great room– I see a big split in the market along the great room front….those that desire them and those that tend towards more intimate cozy spaces. — perhaps the possession of a home with a great room is a bit of a bell-weather for designers to get a sense of what will make a particular client happy. (i.e kitchen/ no kitchen) . Jennifer, ModFruGal and shellene — I am with you guys….love the unpredictable, imperfect, intimacy that can be had from a grill and I firepit. I have had lots of people say to me that if they had an outdoor kitchen, they could grill outside way past the normal grilling season — but for me, I am happy when seasons change and I change my diet, cooking habits, clothing, etc. etc…it’s all part of the rhythm…and as a gardener and designer, I love being in tune with the rhythm….

  8. Mike Swift says:

    I agree with Shellene that Jamie’s designs lack in practicality. I often think he designs for him and not the client. One of my pet peeves about his new show is that he doesn’t spend a lot of time understanding what the client wants. I realize it is TV but all inspiration and no function is not a good mix.

  9. Louise says:

    Im with you guys on outdoor kitchens, OTT- personally, the idea of outdoor living is to leave the encumbrances of indoor life behind for a while. Au naturel picnicking seems much more fun (particularly for us new englanders) I think. But for those clients that have the interest in a new look for the outdoor kitchen (none of which are truly practical) I like the look of the Electrolux.

    ps Seems to me the outdoor kitchen is a guy gadget, most women just want to relax on a summer evening with a cool drink, maybe a fresh picked salad and… another cool drink…..

  10. Liza says:

    I don’t understand how you could not be a fan of outdoor kitchens – they’re fun and great for dinner parties.

  11. Michelle D. says:

    I live in an area of the country where inside out living is a 365 day a year affair.
    Having a cooking area out of doors expands the living space and is convenient for both everyday cooking and special entertaining.
    I’ve lost count of how many outdoor family dining and cooking rooms we’ve designed and installed. It is just part of how we live here in the temperate west.
    As a side note, I travel to other subtropical and mediterranean regions of the world where having an outdoor cooking area has been the cultural norm for centuries. So its not a fad. It’s an adapted way of life in the climate that you live in.

  12. private says:

    Definitely a luxury, and more useful in some climates than others. I can picture my husband going inside for the perfect spatula, then another trip for the special knife, then another for a bigger pot … How can you stock two kitchens with your favorite tools? Between that and our lousy weather (winter, pollen season, sauna season, and three gorgeous fall days) you would never get the use out of it. Plus around here, it’s noisy outside – way too many gas engines going. We are too busy to get beyond the microwave and toaster oven anyway. I could see a pizza oven outside, where the assembled pizza is carried out. Or a grill for parties or a built-in ice chest. I would use a sink for gardening. But the kitchen idea is OTT for us for here.

  13. Connie fabiatos says:

    I am a fan of outdoor kitchens.I think they are great for entertaining guests.But the only problem is they need to be covered for the winter months as they get filthy.I recently bought a Jamie Durie BBQ with a an inbuilt sink but iam having trouble finding a cover for it . Can anybody tell me where I can purchase one from. Its called the Modular Patio Jamie Durie BBQ. It is 2.82m long.

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