Covered outdoor kitchens have become elaborate annexes, with big grills and even antiques.
The newest trend in outdoor kitchens: impressive structures with sinks and refrigerators as well as fireplaces and bars, all under one big roof. It's as if a great room from inside the house moved into the backyard. Michael Dreef, the head of Eubanks Group Architects' Houston office, says more than 75 percent of his projects include outdoor kitchens (eubanks-architects.com). Some are an extension of a covered porch, while others are freestanding pavilions that mirror the look of the main house. The gorgeous Houston kitchen here features wrought-iron balustrades and decorative steel trusses, which were inspired by bridges in Texas Hill Country. The 22-foot vaulted ceiling allows heat to rise, and the outdoor-rated ceiling fans from Minka Aire keep everyone cool (951-735-9220 or minkagroup.net).
French Country Style
The owner of this Houston kitchen designed and fabricated the charcoal grill with smoker. The gas grill with rotisserie ($3,630) and side burners ($880) are from Thermador (800-656-9226 or thermador.com).
Mirabeau, the Eubanks Group's antiques shop, supplied the 1840s French butcher rack on the hood and the 16th-century limestone mantle (3202 Argonne St., Houston; 713-528-8880).
All the cooking equipment lines one wall, so the custom copper hood can suck up the smoke and heat—essential in a pavilion.
One corner of the building includes a U-Line refrigerator (from $1,680; 414-354-0300 or u-line.com), a kitchenAid ice maker ($2,300; 800-422-1230 or kitchenaid.com) and an HP Austin handcrafted copper sink (from $3,900; 877-472-7469 or hpaustin.com).
Dreef recommends installing a minimum of three feet of countertop next to a grill, so there's a place to put food. He likes the rustic look of soapstone, which he used in the kitchen here. Treating soapstone with mineral oil darkens it, so grease stains don't show. Plus, it's safe to put hot cookware on the stone.
Floor and Walls
The floor slopes slightly at the edge so that water drains into the grass. Dreef chose brick for the walls and floors to match the Tudor-style house, but also because it's fireproof and easy to wash.
All-natural chrysanthemum oil (pyrethrum) keeps mosquitoes away at cocktail hour. Nozzles hidden at the edge of the property spray repellent three times a day.
The new Texas essentials, Dreef says, are wood-fired pizza ovens (Wood Stone's Bistro Series, from $10,750; 800-988-8074 or woodstone-corp.com) and frozen-margarita machines (from $4,000 by Bunn; 800-626-2866 or bunnomatic.com).