Tips and Trends in Outdoor Service Counters

 In Industry Trends, Poolside Living, Swimming Pools

One of the fastest growing trends we’ve heard nearly all of our clients inquire about is a custom outdoor service counter. Installations range from simple built-in BBQ grills to full-service, gourmet outdoor kitchens. Instead of having to dry off after swimming and head back into the house for a drink or a bite to eat, you can have everything you need waiting for you just steps from the shallow end. The variety of outdoor appliance options is staggering. Our customers are using BBQ grills, sinks, refrigerators, ice makers, pizza ovens, smokers, and wine refrigerators (and much more!) to create an outdoor living space customized to their unique entertaining needs.

It may seem overwhelming, but the process is much the same as designing an indoor kitchen – without the hassle of dust and tools inside your home, knocking down walls or worrying about ventilation! Here is how it works:

  1. First choose the appliances and features that you wish to have. The majority of household appliance stores will also carry different brands of outdoor appliances.  Sub Zero, Wolf, and Viking are a few of the leading manufacturers, and ones that our customers request most frequently.  Keep in mind that certain appliances (such as an outdoor sink) may require a permit or approval from the town health department.
  2. Once the appliances are chosen, one of our planners will design the service counter based on the specifications provided by the appliance manufacturers. We don’t do this by hand – we create a precise and detailed architectural blue print to ensure that all appliances fit perfectly.  Your outdoor service counter will be completely customized to your entertaining needs.
  3. Once the design is approved, you’re ready to start building. Just like with an indoor kitchen, the gas lines, drainage pipes, and electrical conduits will need to be in the correct location and all measurements must be exact to ensure your appliances fit into the proper places – we can’t stress enough the importance of working with a mason who is experienced in building outdoor service counters.
  4. Finally, you will need to choose a countertop before the appliances are installed. The choices are nearly endless right down to the last detail – stone, color, thickness, finish, edge detail, etc.  For durability and easy maintenance, we recommend using a granite stone with a “honed” or “polished” finish (often what you will find in an indoor kitchen).  Depending on the complexity of your outdoor service counter, this countertop may need to be “templated” by the stone fabricator.

Our favorite thing about what we do is that the options are unlimited. Whatever you dream up (in swimming pools or outdoor service counters), we can build. Here are a few of our favorite appliance links to help inspire you.

Viking: http://www.vikingrange.com/consumer/category/products/outdoor

Sub Zero & Wolf: http://www.subzero-wolf.com/kitchen-design-plans/outdoor-kitchen-appliances.aspx

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