Under a vine-covered pergola, an interior designer creates a dreamy kitchen full of affordable ideas.


A self-taught gardener, L.A.-based interior designer Sandy Koepke thought as much about the landscaping as she did the furniture in her outdoor kitchen. She cut holes in the terra-cotta-tiled patio to plant olive trees and covered a pergola with creeping vines, bougainvillea and climbing roses to filter natural light over the vintage farmhouse dining table. Koepke incorporated salvaged and vintage finds—like the yellow French bistro chairs—because she thinks the worn surfaces are fitting for a garden. “I love rust,” she says. “When it comes to outdoor kitchens, it helps to have tolerance for a little wear and tear.” sandykoepkeinteriordesign.com.

Outdoor hanging lanterns

© Jennifer Cheung


Koepke likes to layer different types of lights, like candle lanterns, hanging pendants and strings of mini party lights that she wraps around the pergola. She also finds vintage fixtures, which she then gets rewired for outdoor use.

Outdoor kitchen sink.

© Jennifer Cheung


The patina of the sink from Oregon Copper Bowl Company has a similar aesthetic as the rusty pressed-tin backsplash, which Koepke found at Conner’s Architectural Antiques in Lincoln, Nebraska. She installed only a cold-water line, something she often recommends to clients on a budget: “The sink drains into my bougainvilleas, so the gray water irrigates the garden.” Backsplash, connersaa.com; sink, oregoncopperbowl.com.

Outdoor garden grill.

© Jennifer Cheung


Koepke chose a 41-inch built-in Viking grill, which works with the layout better than stand-alone models. From $4,200; vikingrange.com.

Undercounter Storage

Under the grill, wooden doors from India hide the gas line; Koepke found them at Berbere Imports, a favorite resource for decorative accessories. Next to the wooden doors, Koepke hung “Tropical Stripe” fabric from Perennials Outdoor Fabrics with drapery spring clips as a less-expensive alternative. Doors, berbereimports.com; fabric, to the trade only, perennialsfabrics.com.


Koepke’s tip for greeting guests: “I give the first people to arrive a glass of wine and ask them to go outside and light all the candles. That keeps them busy while I’m doing last-minute preparations.” She also likes the battery-powered flameless candles from Smith & Hawken, which can be set on a timer. From $14.50; smithandhawken.com.

Pizza Oven

Koepke wanted a top-quality pizza oven, so she recently splurged on a gas Wood Stone one, the same brand that Wolfgang Puck uses in his restaurants. ”It’s a real party magnet,” she says. From $17,000; woodstone-corp.com.


More Fabulous Outdoor Spaces:

L.A. Garden Party
Wine Country Outdoor Kitchen
Kitchen Garden Goddess