I have just fulfilled a decades long dream! I recently completed the addition of a beautiful outdoor kitchen at my home in Redmond, Washington. I am a happy camper as they say.
My new kitchen includes an Italian wood-burning pizza oven made by Fontana Forni, a beautiful new Delta Heat grill made right here in the good old USA, a Blaze double ring power burner (that will boil a huge pan of pasta water in just minutes), and I built in a spot for old favorite stand-by… my wood charcoal burning Big Green Egg which I’ve had for about a decade (to which I added a rotisserie). We also installed an outdoor heater to keep the covered portion warm and useable all winter.
The process started last spring. I researched pre-fabricated islands and talked to others about building some or all of it for me, but when all was said and done I decided the only way to get what I wanted, in a timeframe I wanted, and at a price I could afford, was to build it myself. Luckily I am now semi-retired so was able to devote a lot of time to it.
So last May I began to do just that. It took a little convincing with my wife, who didn’t want to deal with a torn-up patio all summer, but I promised to keep the mess to a minimum (which I managed to do except when doing stonework), and get the project done as quickly as possible.
My original goal was to complete it before going on vacation in early July. I wasn’t quite there but did manage to have it mostly complete and useable by the end of July. There were finishing touches which took a few additional weeks but now it’s complete and I am extremely happy with the results. AND, I managed to hit my budget! It still was not cheap but I’m certain I would have spent at least twice what I did if I’d have had a contractor do the work.
I did hire out two things. I had an electrician friend wire the outlets and the electric heater. And I hired someone to do the concrete counter top, for which I built the forms. I did the rest myself, including drawing up the plans, the framing, siding, stonework, tile, and cooking equipment installation (well I did hire my teenage grandson and his buddy to carry that big pizza oven).
The remarkable part is that I was not experienced at much of what I did. I’ve done some framing but had never done any stonework. That’s where having good friends comes in. I picked the brains of three contractor friends (and found out there are multiple ways to skin a cat!). I received guidance from another friend who had done stonework (and borrowed his stonecutter). And I utilized YouTube videos to fill in some gaps. It’s amazing what you can learn on-line these days!
I hope you enjoy seeing these pictures of the job in progress, and a few of the meals we’ve been preparing. I had a great time with this project and it was very rewarding. The only thing better is the fun of cooking with all of my new toys!
UPCOMING: With this job complete I am ready to get back to some regular food blogging. My ambition is to do a series on pizza making. Look for the first post soon.