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The Profanely Provisioned Outdoor Kitchen

If you prefer the “click, click, whoosh” of a gas grill igniting – over stoking a wood burning fire all day, it’s ok, you can still carry your foodie card. For the gourmet with a bigger budget – or ambitions – a custom outdoor kitchen elevates the utilitarian gas grill – to a professional chef’s galley.

After living in their cramped Lake Merritt-area Craftsman for close to a quarter of a century, homeowners Louise Sefton and Arlyn Johns embarked upon a home remodel to add some space, enhance their lifestyle – and capitalize on Oakland’s near-perfect-year-round weather.

“Before we started, all that was missing from our backyard was a car up on blocks,” laughed Sefton. “My husband is an award-winning brew master – and a fantastic cook. We love to entertain and knew we needed lots of room for friends and family. Our desire was to create a convivial outdoor space – with a kitchen worthy of my husband’s cooking skills.”

The remodel project reconfigured the back of their house into a covered veranda, providing much needed square footage to a small home - and lots of room for outdoor entertainment. A few rustic steps beyond, the newly designed space (or rather, spaces) is more like a plaza, with purposeful, visually-defined areas for enjoyment and conversation.

“I’m originally from Australia,” said Sefton. “Homes there are built with wrap-around verandas as part of their usable living space. We wanted to create a similar feeling, and unify the architectural style of our home to the new exterior in a very purposeful way.

“The veranda carries over to the outdoor kitchen, complementing our home’s Craftsman style. When it rains, it sounds just like home,” added Sefton.  “It all works really well together.”

   The outdoor kitchen is undoubtedly the focal point of the newly envisioned backyard. With its sweeping hardwood roof, shingled with tin, and dark stone countertops accented by eye-catching red tiles, the well-appointed kitchen provides Johns with plenty of counter space to cook, converse, and, with two homemade brews on tap, indulge in some beer tasting, or “research.”

Fully plumbed and wired, the kitchen’s stainless appliances include a restaurant-grade covered gas grill – large enough to accommodate a suckling pig – and inset sink with running water, “invaluable” according to Sefton. A refrigerator, storage space, and warming oven keep the cook from making the inevitable trips to and fro.

“The outdoor kitchen is nicer than the one inside our house.”

Photo credit: Treve Johnson Photography

See the whole article in Oakland Magazine.