Outdoor kitchens have certainly become popular in recent years, but did you know that there’s more than one way to take your cooking ‘alfresco’? Sometimes it’s simply a case of opening up your kitchen so that it feels seamlessly connected to the outdoors. You get all the benefits of a dedicated outdoor cooking setup, without having to double up with an extra sink and more benchtop. It’s also a great solution if you’re not exactly a whiz with the barbecue, preferring to stick to your oven and hob when rustling up a feast for family and friends.
“Having a natural connection between your kitchen and alfresco can be a great solution, especially if you want to use as much of your alfresco as possible for comfortable outdoor furniture to lounge about in,” says Dave Clynk, Design Manager at Plunkett Homes.
“An indoor/outdoor kitchen is super-practical, especially when you’re entertaining. Food and drink can easily be passed out to guests, and plates and glasses cleared away quickly. And the chef of the day won’t ever be far away, which means they’ll never feel left out of the party.
“An indoor/outdoor kitchen is also a very stylish design feature that can make even everyday mealtimes feel a bit special, especially in a home that has a holiday or resort-inspired feel to it,” Dave says.
With indoor/outdoor living a key focus in all Plunkett home designs, we’ve illustrated several ideas for blurring the lines between the kitchen and the great outdoors.
Bi-folding servery window: In our Amherst display home in Banjup, we’ve included a set of bi-folding servery windows between the kitchen and the alfresco. This paves the way for a variety of design features to maximise the indoor/outdoor link in this contemporary home. The bi-folding windows are top hung, which means there is no track to interrupt the flow if you wanted to extend the kitchen benchtop outside and create an alfresco breakfast bar, for example. Or you could take inspiration from boutique bars and eateries by adding a long section of benchtop at right angles to the window to form a custom-designed outdoor dining table. “A seamless section of benchtop stretching back into the kitchen would be a fabulous conversation piece,” Dave says.
Bi-folding doors Open up the bi-folding doors in our North Hampton display in Australind and suddenly the kitchen becomes an integral part of the alfresco. Even the dining room in this Hamptons-style display opens up to the alfresco.
Silicon-jointed windows In our Cottesloe Beach display in Alkimos we’ve wrapped the kitchen and the dining room around two sides of the alfresco, with sliding doors and French doors opening up the inside spaces to the outside space. To emphasise the openness and indoor/outdoor connection in this beach house design, and to ensure there is nothing to interrupt the view, we’ve used a silicon-jointed corner window.
Layout Positioning the kitchen adjacent to a set of doors out to the alfresco can often be enough to make the indoor and the outdoor space feel beautifully connected, as we’ve illustrated in our Riviera display in Wandi. In this showcase, inspired by the glamour of 1950s Palm Springs, the bank of sliding doors opens up to take you from the kitchen, straight outside.
Customised plans Because all our floor plans can be customised, there’s always scope to add in your own ideas for indoor/outdoor living. Take a look at the floor plan for our Newtown display in Vasse, for example. You’ll notice that the alfresco could easily be extended across the back of the galley-style kitchen. Add in a clear glazed door and build in a barbecue, plus benchtop and cupboards to match the interiors, and you’ve got a seamless indoor/outdoor cooking space.