Capture French joie de vivre in a perfectly styled summer kitchen

Maximise your outdoor space this summer with a fabulous summer kitchen (or, as the French call it, a “cuisine d’ete”). An outdoor kitchen is an extension of your home, allowing you to entertain in the great outdoors. All are composed of a few basic elements, like a grill, a table and chairs, but they can also be as elaborate as your imagination allows. Regardless of your summer kitchen ambitions, there are a few items to keep in mind when setting up this special area.

First, you need to consider location. It actually matters a great deal when creating a summer kitchen. For instance, if the wind consistently sweeps through backyard in a specific direction, it’s best to position your grill in such a way that smoke won’t blow in your guests’ faces. Furthermore, if you plan on doing most of the food preparation in your indoor kitchen, you’ll want to position your summer kitchen as close as possible. Perhaps simply extending the kitchen into an outdoor living space, mirroring the setup with a wall of glass separating the areas. Backyard traffic is also a consideration. Grills or other sources of heat should be nowhere near areas where children play.

If you plan on doing most of the food preparation in your indoor kitchen, you’ll want to position your summer kitchen as close as possible. © lipkadesign.com

If you plan on doing most of the food preparation in your indoor kitchen, you’ll want to position your summer kitchen as close as possible. © lipkadesign.com

Then, you will need a spot with a sturdy foundation. A summer kitchen is nothing like a grill and picnic table. The space will require proper flooring that is level and stable enough to withstand high-traffic and the elements. Flooring such as tile or marble for instance, though lovely, will be slick when wet. On the other hand, wooden boards made of cedar, bluestone slab pavers, or brickstone in a herringbone pattern, are all beautiful, durable and safe options for your summer kitchen.

Finally, you will need to pick the appliances that are right for you. Though a grill, table and chairs are essential items, the extras are what make the space truly yours. If you’re a wine aficionado or an amateur mixologist, install a wine fridge and 2-tiered bar area for guests to hang out. If your family loves spending time by the fire, include a cosy fireplace for toasting marshmallows. If baking your own bread and pizza has always been a dream, include a wood-fired oven for an authentic old-world flavour. If you want your space to feel like home, include indoor details like table lamp lighting and wide couches for lounging (all weather proof of course!).

Not sure if you want to make the plunge? Know this: you absolutely can enjoy this space year round. So, don’t be fooled by the seasonal name.