summer kitchen design

Summer Kitchen Design

Welcome back to Period Dramas, a weekly column that alternates between roundups of historic homes on the market and answering questions we’ve always had about older structures. A few weeks ago we stumbled on a late-1700s eyebrow colonial just a stone’s throw from the Hudson River. The property included something novel and hadn’t seen before: an intact “summer kitchen.” Sitting towards the back of the property, the low-profile brick structure has a wood door and a stout chimney at the opposite end. The listing provides no interior photos, but there is a note that the summer kitchen has a fireplace (which, we’ll note, one could easily surmise from the presence of the chimney). The summer kitchen that started it all. The original main kitchen of the house was likely in the back portion of the house, where that chimney is. It was the first time we’d come across a summer kitchen and the discovery left us with questions about their original use, how they were built, and if they were truly, as their name implies, only used during the summer. We set out for some answers. Largely found in upstate New York and the Midwest, summer kitchens were used in the late-18th and early 19th centuries to separate kitchen activities from the rest of the house during the warmer months.”Often, people would disassemble their coal or wood cookstove and move it into the summer kitchen when the weather got hot,” says Nancy Carlisle, senior curator at Historic New England and co-author of America’s Kitchens. “It was all an effort to keep the house as cool as possible.” In addition to being an auxiliary space for cooking, Carlisle adds, they could also serve as a year-round location to do smelly chores like laundry and boiling down meats. While we’re no strangers to the idea of the kitchen being distinct from the rest of the house—it was a fairly common practice in the Gilded age—the separation here arises more out of practicality than anything to do with class structure and areas of the house dedicated to domestic staff. “Summer kitchens can be found in any type of house, from grand to modest,” said Carlisle. The front of the summer kitchen. Idyllic, no? The interior of a late-18th-century summer kitchen would hold little to signify the space as, well, a kitchen—at least to modern-day dwellers. “The whole notion of a kitchen with purpose-built cabinetry and countertops is very modern,” said Carlisle. “We don’t see kitchens like the ones we’re used to until after 1930.” It’s not unreasonable to draw the conclusion that summer kitchens were set up similarly to the kitchen in the main house. The space was kept quite clear, usually featuring a table pushed against the wall that could be used as either a workspace or a regular kitchen table. There may have been a rack for drying clothes or herbs, but the majority of the furnishings in the space would be entirely portable and temporary. A view of a colonial kitchen at the Ximenez-Fatio House in Florida with a large fireplace at one end, a bake oven to the right, and a work table off to the side. Image via Creative Commons Food would be prepped in the kitchen, but it would not be stored there. “Herbs could be dried in the attic, flour and vegetables could be kept in a cool cellar—you could be traveling all around the house in order to assemble the ingredients for the evening’s meal,” said Carlisle of food production in the late-18th and early 19th centuries. There wouldn’t even be a sink. Instead, water would be brought in and any washing would be done in a wooden barrel that could be emptied afterwards. If the water needed to be heated, it would be done over the fireplace, one of the only elements of the kitchen built into the space. In houses of a certain age, the fireplace would be deep, practically a walk-in. But those fireplaces were wildly inefficient in their use of fuel, and were quickly switched out at the turn of the 19th century for a significantly more effective design by Count Rumford, a design that is shallow with widely splayed sides. The interior of an early 19th-century kitchen at the Benjamin Stephenson house in Illinois. Note how no piece of furniture is built into the architecture of the space. Even the workspace under the window is, at its most basic level, a sideboard. Image via Creative Commons. Aside from the fireplace, there may also be a bake oven directly to the right or to the left of the firebox. If you ever come across an older house with a fireplace that has an oven built next to it, chances are that room was once the kitchen of the house. As summer kitchens exist today, though, they are completely obsolete. As kitchen technology changed, it no longer became necessary to move food preparation—and various unsightly chores—outside of the house. But while they now exist as a badge of historic honor on a real estate listing or as a quaint garden folly, we can’t help but feel it would be kind of cool to have one of these culinary fossils in your backyard. If you restored it for recreational use, you’d almost be guaranteed to have the most unique cookout of the season. How Architects Reconfigure Historic Homes for Modern Lifestyles What’s the Deal With Old Fireplaces? All Period Dramas
summer kitchen design 1

Summer Kitchen Design

Where you decide to place your outdoor kitchen depends upon several factors. Firstly, you’ll want to make sure that smoke from the grill doesn’t waft back into the home. So have a good idea of the general wind pattern in your yard and orient the grill appropriately. Secondly, if you frequently entertain, and don’t want to travel a long distance from the indoor kitchen to the outside, consider placing your grill and outdoor kitchen relatively near the entrance to the inside kitchen. Remember that outdoor cooking and entertaining frequently means carrying heavy platters from one place to another. Thirdly, if you want to maintain the view you currently have from inside the house to the outside, you’ll want to place the outdoor kitchen to the side or at an angle so that the view isn’t blocked. Lastly, consider the overall traffic flow of your yard and the safety of your family. A hot, outdoor grill shouldn’t be located right next to the area where the Frisbee is thrown around, or near where you ride bikes or play. Just like an indoor kitchen, the outdoor kitchen is full of hazards so place it accordingly. Good planning will help ensure that your outdoor kitchen is in the right location for your yard. Pro tip: If you are considering doing a lot of landscaping changes to your yard such as adding retaining walls or a swimming pool, include the outdoor kitchen as part of the overall design. A professional outdoor kitchen designer will not only design the right kitchen for you, they can offer valuable advice about the ideal location of the kitchen and how it will work with the other elements of the yard.
summer kitchen design 2

Summer Kitchen Design

1 Of 20 Metallic CountertopsEntertaining expert Lulu Powers dreamed of a copper bar for years, but worried it would turn green. Treating the counter and shelving with lacquer staves off weathering, and provides a glam places for outdoor cocktail parties. David Tsay 2 Of 20 Rooftop GrillingFive stories above Brooklyn, a tar-paper roof became a gourmet cooking spot with panoramic views of the New York skyline. A charcoal grill anchors the space, but the beverage station provides the real magic. A slide-away cutting board and insulated ice bin make mojitos a snap. Pernille LoofAdvertisement – Continue Reading Below 3 Of 20 Flower SinkInspired by a similar basin at the famous Greystone Mansion, an outdoor sink features an inset container for blooms. The vessel also functions as an ice bucket for wine — just pull the plug at the bottom when the party’s over. David Tsay 4 Of 20 Stained Oak In designer Bonnie Edelman’s Connecticut house, the pool kitchen’s stained oak ceiling pours warmth over cool stainless-steel cabinets. A drop-down metal gate protects appliances from rain. Francesco LagneseAdvertisement – Continue Reading Below 5 Of 20 Terracotta HuesThis outdoor kitchen in California takes its colors from the earth and the sky. A Viking warming drawer is conveniently closest to the Fogazzo 1050 pizza oven. “It’s all about entertaining,” architect Michael Layne says. “People are going to gather where cooking’s going on, so you need lots of counter space and plenty of seating.” David Duncan Livingston 6 Of 20 Repurposed ShuttersIn Malcolm James Kutner’s Key West house, the outdoor kitchen cabinets are made from old cypress shutters supplied by restorer Liz Devries. “With outdoor living in general, it’s about being friendly with nature and inviting it inside instead of trying to draw that heavy line in the sand that says, ‘This is the outside and this is the inside,'” he says. Christopher BakerAdvertisement – Continue Reading Below 7 Of 20 Blue CabinetryIn Dianne Bernhard’s Connecticut kitchen, cabinets with Nantucket-style doors and blue-toned Caesarstone on top pick up the colors of the water just beyond the deck. “We really do live out here during the summer,” Bernhard says. The ceiling is painted Benjamin Moore’s Blue Springs. Francesco Lagnese 8 Of 20 Salvaged MaterialsDesigner Sandy Koepke used salvaged material and earthy colors to give this California kitchen some age and maturity. All of the appliances and cabinetry are from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet. Reed DavisAdvertisement – Continue Reading Below 9 Of 20 Strategic Layout The U-shaped layout of a Nantucket kitchen is zoned from hot to cold, moving from the grill on the left to two refrigerator drawers and an ice maker on the right. “Usually an outdoor kitchen is more of an adjunct, but this is complete,” designer Kris Horiuchi says. “The client wanted the whole shebang — grill, cooktops, refrigerator, sink, pizza oven.” Trevor Tondro 10 Of 20 Stone Varietals There’s an organic feeling to the outdoor kitchen designed by Mick De Giulio, thanks to a variety of colors, shapes and textures of stone — from Medina Slab pavers to the island built of Weston Stone, all from Belgard Hardscapes. Francesco Lagnese Next Gallery This Backyard Oasis Is Ripe for Relaxing The “flower sink” also doubles as a wine cooler. Score! By Kathryn O’Shea-Evans GIF Of 20 Advertisement – Continue Reading Below header logo Created with Sketch. Presented by Created by Created by House Beautiful for From House Beautiful for

Summer Kitchen Design

Summer Kitchen Design
Summer Kitchen Design
Summer Kitchen Design
Summer Kitchen Design

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