Homeowner decides to Go Big when Designing and Building an Outdoor Kitchen
Amid a collection of stand-alone grills and an assortment of backyard cooking appliances, cooking enthusiast, Jim K., had a vision of what his perfect grill space could look like. What he lacked was someone with the experience, know-how and artistic vision to transform his vision into an outdoor reality.
Then he called Gasper.
An amateur cook and self-proclaimed foodie, Jim wasn’t looking for just any backyard grilling space. Because he loves to entertain and cook for his family and friends, the realities of a potential outdoor kitchen had to meet Jim’s vision for back yard cooking perfected, along with his big expectations for the ultimate outdoor kitchen.
“My wife Robin jokes that I just want an audience to watch me cook, but once we decided this house would be our forever home, I knew I wanted an outdoor kitchen and that I wanted to go big!,” recalled Jim.
Going big meant finding someone who could turn an aging grill and a lot of separate side equipment into a more productive, better designed outdoor kitchen space. Initially, Jim said he couldn’t find a contractor with a good track record for both good design and quality construction, but on a recommendation from a friend, he and his wife Robin decided to call Gasper.
After a few rounds of design iterations with Gasper Landscape Architect Christina Reeves, a kitchen plan was developed. The plan called for uniting the whole backyard into one integrated entertainment area, meeting all code requirements, and more importantly, incorporating all the different grills and equipment that Jim wanted in his dream outdoor kitchen. Moreover, the 3D model (see page 10) Gasper uses to help clients visualize the finished project proved extremely helpful, allowing Robin and Jim to contribute to the design process.
Christina even helped integrate the proposed paver areas into existing paver areas on Jim and Robin’s property. Those existing pavers were in good shape, and by choosing to infill the new areas with a unique shaped paver, the Cambridge River Rock paver, Christina was able to create some efficiencies that worked stylistically. Because the river rock paver has an irregular feel to it, the paver contrasted nicely with the older paver. Trying to match the pavers would have been nearly impossible, and starting over would only have added to the work and the costs. The resulting design is fun, economical and appreciated by both Jim and Robin.
Reflecting on the design and construction, Jim said three things stood out to him about working with Gasper.
I am tickled to death on how it all turned out.
The first was the quality of the work. Jim said he felt the carpenters were fantastic and that the finished structure exceeded his expectations. The second was the skill of the stone masons. “Frankly, they are artists. They cared so much about their work,” Jim raved. “They made sure everything was perfect.”
The third factor was the Gasper landscape foreman, Mike Konz. Jim works from home and said he felt Mike was always accommodating and exceptionally polite.
“Mike went out of his way to explain everything and was truly phenomenal,” Jim explained. “The work site was always left in a very livable state and the construction was done twice as fast as I would have imagined.”
“I am tickled to death at how it all turned out,” said Jim, beaming with pride. “People are wowed, and I am really proud of it. It is a true working space, not a display space.” Even Robin, who Jim said was a bit skeptical of the project at first, loves the space.
Clearly enjoying his new “wow” space, Jim graciously gave Gasper’s photo team a sampling of his cooking last year while we were working on this feature. “This is the best burger I have ever eaten,” is a comment heard more than once that day. We also learned that Jim’s “amateur” status as a cook may be somewhat understated.
Every year, the couple hosts a big event known as the ‘Seafood Boil Party’ they have every Memorial Day, which features Snow Crab, King Crab, Langostino, Spot Prawns, sausage and corn. One additional act of kindness Jim was willing to share with the Gasper team, and our readers: For the Seafood Boil Party, one of Jim’s secrets is to use a combination of beer, apple cider vinegar and Old Bay Seasonings when steaming the food. Hungry yet?