#homeetc · bringing the indoors out · garden kitchen · kitchen

Creating an Outdoor Kitchen

For years I longed for an outdoor kitchen. I would see them featured sometimes in the French interiors magazines I’d buy when I’d nip across the border on a Saturday morning for the grocery shopping and a coffee. When we finally bought a house, I had grand plans. But with a toddler, a newborn, a mortgage and a brand new indoor kitchen, setting up an outdoor kitchen was not high on our list of priorities.
As the summer has approached in each of the five years we have lived here, I have told myself that I’ll make an effort and pull something together. A makeshift kitchen will do just as well as a real kitchen. It is outdoors after all. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just weather well.
But first the sandpit and the baby swing took up the space I had allocated. Then came the summer when I had a major international project on my hands and conference calls at 7pm took up most of my balmy evenings. Last year, highly pregnant and with two small boys to entertain, there was just no time to plan, browse magazine or scan Pinterest let alone build a kitchen.
I did set up the basics though – a cupboard, a decent tap – usually making improvements in the run up to an upcoming barbecue or visit from friends from home.

But maybe that was all for the best that I didn’t getfar with my plans sooner. Inspiring and all as Pinterest can be, sometimes it is better not to look. I don’t know about you but when I get an idea for a project into my head, I like to get straight to work on it. If I stop to browse Pinterest, I can get downhearted, seeing all those fabulous photos that I can never aspire to with my budget, talent and other resources. Alternatively I end up in my local DIY centre buying all sorts of wonderful things when really I should be at home investigating what I already have.
So, in early May as I pottered round the garden on The Bavarian’s birthday, tying to make things look pretty for that evening’s barbecue with friends, I siezed the day and brought the indoors out. The shabby wooden cabinet that usually houses the mismatched cushions for the patio furniture became my worktop. Some of my potted herbs from the doorstep got a new home there and the tomatoes and peppers for the salad found themselves released into the fresh air. My wine bottle candle holder from a trip to Holland back in the late ’90s found itself back in use on a bottle recovered from our glass recycling.

To the left  of the cabinet our garden sink, splatted with paint and going green with limescale, got a good going over with the bathroom cleaning products and came up lovely. A bucket got lined with a bin bag and tucked neatly in beside the U-bend of the sink.

A few teatowels were seconded from the kitchen and the tile coasters I picked up from Tchibo years ago got taken out of their box at last. A quick root through my candle basket (does anyone else have one of these? A basket full of tea lights, tapered candles, matches of vaious lengths? No? Just me?) revealed a pack of red IKEA tea lights. Thrown into a few jam jars, they made a pretty and laid-back addition to our barbecue evening.

Since then our outdoor kitchen has expanded. A rummage in the cellar turned up a one ring electric hob, a dated but functional kettle and a tall wine rack that doubles as a handy shelving unit. Some of the uglier mugs have migrated from the kitchen press to the garden cabinet along with a pack of paper napkins and some teaspoons. The coasters, tea towels and tea lights have made the cabinet their peremanent home.  It is like camping at home.


Now that we have it set up, I wonder how we managed without it. 


Home Etc

34 thoughts on “Creating an Outdoor Kitchen

  1. That's so beautiful! I also have three sons (phew!) and my pet theory (!) is that having three sons around and a husband is a lot of maleness in a house, and it seems to bring out the stereotypical girliness in me: creativity, styling, baking, sewing, flowers, etc. Looks like we have a fair bit in common (my blog tagline is spookily similar to yours too!). (Sorry that's an awful lot of parenthesis and exclamation marks in one post – must've had too much coffee this morning!) #HomeEtc

  2. Yes so now I want an outdoor kitchen, thanks very much! 🙂 It looks lovely and I think it's great you've been able to utilise bits and bobs around the house too. Pinterest is so addictive that just like you I'm left thinking “how can I build a tropical 50m swimming pool in my garden immediately” rather than actually thinking practically about the space, time and resources we have. Thanks for the inspiration x #HomeEtc

  3. Oops, sorry about that Lins 😉
    Since the sink was there anyway, I did have it a bit easy. That said, the sink is a really handy kind of one you just attach to the wall underneath your outside tap.
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  4. I have the same dream!!! We've just had a corner of our garden levelled and decked in preparation. I've moved a sofa and table out that and now I need to sort out a little cooking/drinks area. We're having our first guests over on Saturday night, weather permitting and I can't wait to try it out.

  5. I want one too! Looks absolutely superb and what a great extension to the home. Just perfect for entertaining and sharing lots of nice food and drinks! 🙂 Love it. Thanks for linking up lovely. Much appreciated. Jess x


  6. I live the idea of an outdoor kitchen. So quaint and so summery too! Likewise we have just spent a fortune on a new indoor kitchen so won't be entertaining the thought for a while, but we shall see ) yours looks lovely! 🙂

  7. Clever you Fi — it looks so, so beautiful!!! I absolutely LOVE taking the indoors out… we've got lanterns, pretty cushions and fairy lights in our garden in the summer! It's like having another room! I LOVE the idea of an outdoor kitchen though — fabulous 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up with #HomeEtc — hope to see you again next week! x

    Caro | http://www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk

  8. Oh, I love fairly lights in a garden. We were at a party recently with an amazing garden house and chinese lantern fairy lights all round. Gorgeous!
    You are so right – it is like having an extra room if you furnish your garden or patio in the right way. We lived in the garden at the weekend, except for sleeping.

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