Outdoor kitchen professionals provide customized design and installation services for homeowners looking to move their summer menus—and fun—outside.

shutterstock_ Paul Saini

Courtesy of: Shutterstock / Paul Saini

The kitchen is the heart of the home, but when summertime arrives on Cape Cod, the heart moves outside. Family gatherings, evening parties, celebrations, and even weeknight dinners often naturally gravitate to outdoor spaces in the beautiful weather, and the perfect way to get the most out of those months is to install an outdoor kitchen.

Spaces outside of the home have traditionally been reserved for sitting and eating areas, but the blossoming trend in home design is to further develop life beyond the walls of the house. The ability to gather, entertain, and cook all in one place is a natural progression for homeowners who love to host, but hate to be separated from the party. Going in and out of the kitchen and having to come and go from the festivities can be remedied with the help of professionals who know exactly how to design and build the perfect kitchen space outside.

The design process is the first step in planning the outdoor room, and the perfect phase to get inspired by the scenery, or an existing feature in the yard, such as a fire pit, or pool. Any outdoor living space is improved by working cohesively with the environment around it, stresses Michael Duffany of Falmouth’s M. Duffany Builders, who have had recent projects centered around fire pits, built-in barbeques, and even hot tubs. Each home’s outdoor space is unique, depending on the landscape and the homeowner’s taste. Projects can vary from high tech, to low-maintenance, or wide open, to intimate.

shutterstock_Ozgur Coskun2

Courtesy of: Shutterstock / Ozgur Coskun2

“An outdoor kitchencan become a tremendous outdoor space, but it can also offer privacy. It’s connected to the house, so it gives you more living space—but it also allows people to be outdoors together,” Duffany says. An outdoor space that has on a kitchen is also a welcome entertainment space perfect for Cape hosts who need room for guests.

“One of the things we are seeing is that since everyone congregates in the kitchen indoors, the kitchen can be overwhelmed with guests. The outdoor living space enables gathering places to move right through the doors and out onto the patio. Everyone has more room, there’s space to work in the kitchen, and people can still naturally congregate and be together without being cramped. It’s functional and fun,” says Duffany.

To achieve such maximized living space, the right materials and appliances are key. “Right now we are seeing a lot of people who want all the necessary comforts of the kitchen outdoors to minimize the run-around of cooking and serving in two spaces. Homeowners are looking for everything they need in outdoor kitchens—storage spaces, a place to prepare and cut food, trash receptacles, refrigerators, cooktops, and grills,” says Dana Gonsalves of East Falmouth’s Crane Appliance.

“The best thing to do is streamline the design so that whoever is cooking doesn’t have to keep leaving the party, family, and friends.” Complete set-ups of all the essential equipment will minimize the host’s trips inside and maximize efficiency. State-of-the-art appliances that are designed with the elements in mind are readily available at places like Crane Appliance, where the experts can help select the pieces for each individual homeowner’s outdoor space. Such appliances can be quite low maintenance, with designs for under-counter equipment, or those that can be covered easily in the off-season.

To anchor and define outdoor spaces and special features, materials like stone, pavers, brick, bluestone, or even plantings can be used to set the stage. “It all depends on what type of environment the homeowner is looking for. The goals can be a private space, or a large, open one. It depends upon the type of yard they have and what kind of space they want,” explains Joao Junqueira of Mashpee’s Capewide Enterprises. Some homeowners prefer the intimacy that a pergola, or full-bodied plantings can provide, while others enjoy an expansive space defined by flooring, or stone pavers and other materials. “We just did a beautiful job in Cotuit,” says Junqueira, “that included a large outdoor kitchen with a gas fire pit, a grill, separate burners, a refrigerator, and a big seating area. And then we added a separate fire pit 15 feet out in a large patio.”

shutterstock_Neil Podoll

Courtesy of: Shutterstock / Neil Podoll

Junqueira says this large space is ideal for entertaining with limitless space for friends and family to mingle and relax without interrupting the flow of food and drink. “The trends are totally moving to outdoor living,” Junqueira says. “Kitchens, entertaining, feeding the family without heating up the kitchen and being completely outdoors means everyone can take advantage of the beautiful summer weather.”

“A lot of our clients are from the city, or other metro areas, so they are hungry for being out in the Cape’s environment,” says Crane Appliance’s Dana Gonsalves.

Working with professionals means that all projects from large to small, or intimate to open, can extend entertaining and cooking spaces for those of all tastes and budgets. Even the simplest of designs can be successful crowd-pleasers. A smart outdoor kitchen design combined with the right materials and appliances will ensure a more beautiful living area for everyone to soak up joys of Cape Cod in the summer.

For more information, visit duffanybuilders.com, craneppliance.com, and capewideenterprises.com.