Saturday, 27 April 2019

An Accidental Outdoor Kitchen

It all started when Brian brought home a crumpled pile of wreckage that used to be an old wood stove.  Whenever there were a few spare minutes in his already busy days, he tinkered away in his shed until it was restored to it's former glory. He rebuilt the oven, made a new fire grate, rebuilt the ash draw, fixed the oven door and lined the back and sides with cast iron sheeting.
All the while we were pondering the perfect spot to install it for use. There were many things to consider as it would be functional and very useful in summer when it is too hot to light the wood fire inside the kitchen, and perfect for winter outdoor evenings.
It needs to be;
- Close enough to the house for practicality.
- Under cover- from rain and to provide shade for the cook on hot days.

An outdoor pizza oven had been on our list of things we wanted to build and while ongoing research  of building methods were stretching on, we had never been able to settle on a suitable position.
As we age we need to think of the practical side of our madness projects, so the Pizza oven plans had been put on hold.
As well as running the farm there were plenty of other projects going on in the meantime though; building the perfect shearing sling, the new sheep yards, the instant gas hot water service in the shed, the bigger meat saw. Oh, and he goes out to work full-time too.

I'm not certain which one of us came up with the idea of adding a small section onto the deck outside the kitchen door, and installing the wood oven there, under cover.
Oh joy, this could be a part of the outdoor kitchen I had always wanted.  I could cook all the things I usually cook in my kitchen wood stove on the days when it's too warm to heat the house. And lo... it would be suitable for outdoor pizza cooking too.
I often wondered at the practicality of the pizza oven when, in fact, we cook pizzas about six times a year. Yep, not all that practical really, and don't forget, practical is my middle name.

So work started on adding a metre to the deck. The first rotten joist was discovered, and from there it snowballed into replacing all, except one, of the joists.  The existing decking boards would be better if they were placed closer together to prevent draughts in winter. And besides, we didn't want to have a small area of new decking boards next to the old ones did we? So up they all came and all new decking boards were laid.

Each evening at beer o'clock, or wine o'clock in my case, more ideas came to mind and were tossed about.  Perhaps we should have some windows at one end to block the draught and semi-enclose the space to make it cosy.  Oh, and the galv cladding would look better if we extend it along the other side too. We can make a cafe bar on that section and buy some of those trendy Tolix cafe stools.

Of course then we need to cover the entire deck in clear sheeting to make it all waterproof while letting the light in. It will be hot in summer so we'll need to have a shade cloth awning made to put over the top in summer, and buy a trendy industrial fan.

The old ceramic butlers sink on the bench down in the vege garden would look lovely up here on one the work benches. Yes, kitchen benches on both sides of the wood stove.
Do you see where this is going?

Electricals were next;  enter the electrician. Light fittings and power points to be installed.
Plumbing to and from the butler's sink. Brian can do that. Phew!
Shelves under the bench tops, and a couple of cupboard doors at one end.

How did that free wood stove turn into this?

Meanwhile the mess of building materials, old and new, must be endured, while thinking ahead towards the finished product.

Whilst Jack is chilled out about the mess am I the only one who has experienced anxiety during a building renovation project?
For the first two days I could not get used to the way it looked different to what I had envisaged.  It has changed my outlook from the kitchen sink; I can't see all the way down to the garden, and that bothered me more than I thought it would. I keep reminding myself how good it will be when finished. How much fun it will be to style the new 'room' and make into a more practical and homely space than it was previously.

There is still much work to be completed, but I'm going away on my planned break for a week of rest and visiting friends.
The control freak in me has instructed Brian to hold off work on any more of the aesthetic parts until my return, but there are plenty of unseen jobs to be completed so he won't be idle. Ha, we can't have that can we?

See you on the other side folks.


Sally XX



  1. wow it's going to look awesome!
    i take it the 1st photo isn't yours? or do you have another stove outside already? it looks like a lovely spot too.
    dogs always know how to chill out, don't they?
    enjoy your break
    thanx for sharing

    1. Hi Selina, the stove pictured in the first photo is indeed the one that will feature in the outdoor kitchen. We dragged it out there from the shed to give it a test burn and correct any failings if they appeared. It functioned well, cooked dinner on it, so we know it's good to go.

  2. This will look fantastic. I look forward to seeing the furnished area. Enjoy your break.

    1. Thanks Brigie, I'm gradually unwinding and relaxing into this holiday.

  3. What a wonderful place it will be to gather, ponder; Oh, yeah! and cook too! Have a lovely break.

    1. I'm looking forward to the styling part of the process Patricia, and gathering a few interesting treasures along the way on my travels this week.

  4. Enjoy your holidays, and I'm sure your husband will have plenty to keep him busy. But there is something to be said for night time routines. I love a hug from my husband, before bed. I find it a real challenge to sleep in different places. I'm such a creature of habit, lol.

    But that's me, not you. I'm sure you're adventurous spirit, will love the time away. And you will have the company of friends. Oh my, but your description of how you come build things, just sounds so familiar. I'm in the process now, of building some raised beds, out of recycled metal roofing. But I'm thinking of buying some hardwood sleepers to hold it all together. Where I was going to put it, wouldn't take full advantage of it's wonderful construction - so now I'm looking at altering other things around it too! Yep, and I haven't even told you about our wood stove adventure.

    But yours looks to be quite an exciting outdoors kitchen in the making. It will be good to see how you guys finish this off. Looks fantastic already.

    1. Chris it's interesting how things and projects evolve. I'd be interested to hear about your wood stove adventure. I also find it difficult to sleep when away from home, but I know I do need to take myself away for the personal challenges it brings and to gain new inspiration. Done on a semi regular basis, once or twice a year is enough, and then I'm super happy to settle back into being at home.

  5. Sally, I hear you about coping with building projects as we have the builders coming back soon to work on the laundry. I am starting to get stressed already just thinking about those power tools being used in the house again. It drove both of us crazy when the kitchen and bathroom were being done as we are not used to having tradies in our space all the time. Everyone says it is worth it in the end and it is but I am sure it is easier to cope with when younger. You will love your outdoor kitchen when it has finished.....I hope :-)Enjoy your break.

    1. Chel I'm quite surprised at my acceptance of the mess even though it's dragging on. Thankful I've escaped for a few days, but after the gorgeous and inspirational homes I've been staying in, I may just hit a slump when arriving home again. Meanwhile I'm finding a few interesting treasures in op-shops and second hand places for styling the new space on completion. A bit of retail therapy soothes the pain of I hope your laundry will be finished quickly and without too much more noise.

  6. Hmmm, this have given me serious ideas about our outside courtyard area that we have just roofed. It has a stupid bricked-in corner gas BBQ that I hate, but now I can envisage it replaced with a vintage wood stove there and loads of other ideas too. Off to the drawing board.

    Oh, I feel your pain re not being able to see the garden anymore - I get it.

    1. I'm glad I've got you thinking and plotting now Phil. The old wood stoves are not easy to come by, and they generally require a bit of repair work, but if you're a bit handy and willing to do some restoration work, I reckon they are beautiful and more practical than a pizza oven. When the existing deck was pulled apart and the dieing peach tree was removed I had a clear and open view, from the kitchen sink, of the garden and orchard for a week before the new building began. It was a shock to lose that view, but as it was only there for a week, I've learned to adjust my perception again. The new outdoor room will be furnished with plants and greenery, a new potted garden to look at. And thankfully I can still see around to the other part of the kitchen view gardens while I'm washing the dishes.

  7. Oh Sally it's looking wonderful! It's going to be such a beautiful space.

    It's a pity you will lose some of your garden view, but knowing you, it will be covered in pots and flowers and hanging baskets in no time!

    Brian is so clever with being able to mend that wood oven, we are lucky to have these handy men of ours!

    Much love and enjoy your well earned break.

    1. Emma it's wonderful to be 'on the road' and visiting beautiful places for a time. You're absolutely correct, the view of the garden was only there after the men had removed the tree and the furniture was taken away, so once I've styled and decorated the new space with plants and furniture, the old view from the kitchen sink will be almost the same. Gosh, such a worrier I am!

  8. Wow Sally, that will look so lovely when it is all finished.
    I was inspired by the beautiful, useful space created on Foxs Lane. I had my old deck removed and it will be rebuilt with a proper roof,weatherproof wall on the West and cafe blinds on the other 2 walls.
    You are lucky to have live in builders ☺I met with architects early October and the local council are still dragging the sign off on paperwork.

    1. Thank you. I'm really lucky to have a very handy (and clever) partner as I can imagine how expensive this job would be otherwise. But gosh, it's lingering on, between all the other high priority farming jobs, and he works full time too. I'll be so happy to clear away the building mess and style the new area. I'm also thinking cafe blinds along one wall for winter. Your plans sound wonderful and now I'll go over to Fox's Lane to find your inspiration. I love what they've got there. XX


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