One perk of living in the Sunshine State is that you can enjoy outdoor living year-round. Only the chilliest winter day (we do occasionally have one) may make you hesitate at the front or back door. Otherwise, it’s nearly always a good idea to jump in the pool, settle on the porch in time for sunset, or garden up a storm in the backyard.
May we add cooking to the list? In Florida, summer kitchens, aka outdoor kitchens, might be a pleasant surprise to those of you moving here from colder climates. But they’re a must-have staple for many new-home buyers.
Here are six reasons you should have a summer kitchen.
It saves money
“How do two kitchens save money?” you ask.
Fire up the oven and stove on a 90-degree day in August, and you’ll likely fire up your air conditioner at the same time. Who wants that? Cruise through the slicing, dicing and trimming indoors, then toss the main course on the summer-kitchen grill. Roast those veggies and baked potatoes right alongside. Your thermostat and utility bills will thank you.
Tempted by Friday-night takeout? Do burgers on the grill instead. It’ll require less time and money.
It’s an entertainer’s dream
How can you do better? A summer kitchen is a natural place to party. Not only do you have the yummy grill situation, you have a place to sprawl, chat and perhaps the perfect vantage point to judge bellyflop contests in a pool.
If your summer kitchen adjoins a porch or patio, you automatically double your entertaining space. It eliminates everyone tripping over each other to get drinks or appetizers from the indoor kitchen island. And those inevitable spills and drips? Not nearly the same crisis outside.
It enhances tastes…
That smoky, roasted flavor so many of us love in our burgers, sandwiches, vegetables and other dishes, is mandatory in some households. A summer kitchen makes it easy to coax those tastes from fresh-grilled or smoked food. And it’s healthier, too. Grilling allows unnecessary fat to drip away from food and makes the most of simple seasonings and marinades.
… and minimizes odor
Some foods aren’t meant to perfume a kitchen. Fish is one. So’s the turkey fryer at Thanksgiving. The problem with deep-frying several pounds of fresh Florida shrimp is that you’ll relive your dinner hours later thanks to the fishy odor permeating the house. Take it outdoors!
It’s another living area
A home’s living space is like a closet — you can never have enough.
A summer kitchen’s built-in gas grills — often hybrid cooktops — prep counters, refrigerators. dining tables and chairs, all extend your indoor living areas. Plus, the ability to cook outside and enjoy family and host friends is a lifestyle all its own. Your home multiples in versatility.
It raises your home’s value
The combination of indoor and outdoor living space and kitchens is an automatic boost to your bottom line. Even a simple summer kitchen helps your home appraise higher, thanks to the aforementioned living and cooking versatility. Since summer kitchens often are a staple of Florida living, installing one in your new custom Florida home is a smart choice.