With her children scattered around the globe and a husband out of town on extended business a few years ago, Lisa found herself alone and overly busy worrying about all of them. She needed something that would occupy her mentally and physically. Lisa looked out over her backyard. It was summer with the aromas of barbecuing steaks wafting through the air. Summer breezes rustled the leaves. Birds danced on the lake and glided through the air. She knew what she was going to do. Build an outdoor kitchen in her backyard. With no particular design in mind just a determination to create something that was useable, attractive and family and friend oriented she set about her work. She approached this project much as she applied herself to the myriad sewing projects she undertook over the years—design, adjust, alter and solve, one step at a time.
YouTube was her starting point, followed by planning, digging, more YouTube, propping, hammering, measuring, more YouTube, hardware store shopping, using power tools, sawing, more YouTube and more creative planning. Lisa discovered that her sewing project approach was not understood by many of the folks she initially turned to. That didn’t deter her. She moved forward on her own applying her sewing skills and YouTube information. Perseverance and a real “can do” attitude led Lisa to conquer all corners, angles, widths and heights that presented themselves as she built her outdoor kitchen.
Several years before embarking on this project, Lisa and her husband lost an Elder tree in their yard. Noticing the beauty in a slice of the trunk, they saved it. The drying and aging process now complete, this slice of tree became the centerpiece of Lisa’s indoor kitchen. After debarking, grinding, sanding and adding a slight downward slope to the edges to allow snow and rain to slip off easily, Lisa sealed the wood with a two-part mahogany boat finish. Four weeks later the table was ready for legs.
Living on Upper Klamath Lake, Lisa had a ready supply of raw materials that washed ashore. Pieces of old docks and discarded decking with their nail holes and worm holes, worn edges and variety of wood tones and textures lent character to the kitchen. With a keen eye for the aesthetic, Lisa found recycling provided her with much of what she needed for her project. Some raw materials such as bricks, pavers, 4x4s and metal roofing had to be purchased which she was able to do locally at Diamond Home Improvement and Home Depot.
Lisa’s outdoor kitchen is fully functional now, but she and her husband are planning to add an “Order-Up” window. They say they’ll hire a professional for this.
Lisa reminds us, though, that doing home projects on your own is possible. You can build your own outdoor kitchen. Her advice is to get started. Take it one step at a time. If your dream seems too big, step back and tackle your kitchen one bite at a time. Watch YouTube for step by step instructions all along the way. Don’t give up. Don’t worry about how long it takes or how much it costs. Keep at it until you finish your project.
Today, the outdoor kitchen is a highlight of her home. When asked for her favorite recipe she responded, “friends, warm breezes, a beautiful lake, grebes dancing, pelicans swarming, music playing, margaritas, beer, BBQ pizza and S’Mores.” A perfect day at the Lake house.
Written by Sally-Ann Palcovich