Outdoor kitchens add luxury, expand living space

By: Linda Shepard | C&G Newspapers | Published July 16, 2014

 Tables, sofas and more are included in a model home open to visitors July 3 off Adams Road in Oakland Township.

Tables, sofas and more are included in a model home open to visitors July 3 off Adams Road in Oakland Township.

Photo by Linda Shepard

METRO DETROIT — An outdoor kitchen is one of the newest ways to add a touch of elegance to the patio or deck.

With today’s technology, the area can look almost identical to its indoor counterpart, adding an extra room to a home. 

“There are some new cabinets that will withstand Michigan winters,” said Barb Baker, co-owner of Transitions Remodeling in Farmington Hills. “They give you the real look of a kitchen. They can be fabricated to look exactly like cabinets in the house with doors and drawers.”

Barbara Burnham, of BJ Burnham and Associates in West Bloomfield, said she has included outdoor kitchens on model homes.

“The kitchens I design for the outdoors are custom,” she said. “They are expensive, depending on the size that you want and what you put into it. It can run from $5,000 to $100,000 or more — whatever the design dictates. Us regular guys, we have our grill.”

Burnham said fire pits and fireplaces often are a part of an outdoor kitchen.

“It could be a grill built into a stone base,” she said. Refrigerators and sinks also are made for outdoor kitchens. “There are many products that are made now that can weather through the winter,” she said. “The beauty of these outdoor kitchens is that you can create a space that can be used all year-round.

“A lot of people up north want the outdoor kitchen; they are up there most of the summer, if they retired,” Burnham said. “You want that outdoor living space. It is expanding your space — that is what people like, especially here in Michigan, because it is so beautiful.”

“We love summer here — we like being outdoors,” said Baker. “If people have the means, they are willing to spend the money. People are enjoying outdoor cooking. They like to grill; it is healthier. Men love them; it is a caveman thing. You can’t pick up a magazine without seeing a recipe for grilled vegetables.”

Luxury kitchens will be included in the upcoming Homearama in Oakland Township. The Pinnacle development, on Silver Bell Road, will include homes that are priced between $1.4 million and $4 million. The Homearama home tour is slated to open to the public Aug. 27.

“Each of the models have interactive spaces between the outdoors and the indoors,” said Dominick Tringali, project architect. “We have partnered with a new company that builds modular kitchens with new products. We’ll have a charcoal and gas unit in one that is very cool. One unit has a pool with outdoor space and a laundry area connected to a pavilion pool cabana and outdoor kitchen with interactive doors that slide away so the indoor and outdoors become one space.”

Tringali describes the Pinnacle development as an idea showcase.

“We’ve taken it to different versions with some unique twists. I don’t think this will ever happen again — $12 million worth of homes to see in one block, six homes altogether. They will be expensive per square foot because of the uniqueness and quality, and the creativity of the designs, but very livable.”