Cooking up a storm in the sunshine

Anthony MatteoThe West Australian
The Long Island by Atrium Homes.
Camera IconThe Long Island by Atrium Homes. Credit: Supplied.

We West Aussies love to entertain around the barbie on a balmy afternoon, so it’s no surprise the outdoor kitchen has grown to become a must for many homebuilders.

A contributing factor to the popularity of the alfresco kitchen has been the increased time people have spent at home, according to Coast Homes Interior Designer Janine Furey.

“Instead of spending money on the biannual trip to Bali, people are spending their money on home improvements,” she said.

“This includes upgrading the backyard with swimming pools and outdoor entertaining spaces.

“Outdoor kitchens have always been with us. Most homes will have a barbecue in the backyard, but more recently we have been building outdoor living zones into the design of our homes.”

Atrium Homes Sales Manager Rod Dawes agreed, saying most people now deemed outdoor kitchens an essential part of the home and were spending money accordingly.

“Outdoor kitchens used to be pretty simple areas, comprising a covered area and the barbecue. However, now you can spend $50,000 in extreme cases,” he said.

Mr Dawes said once the decision was made to include an outdoor kitchen, the next step for homeowners was whether to go with a custom or modular unit.

“You can either have a custom made fit-out put in, or you can buy modular units which are available at most barbecue shops, furniture shops or warehouses,” he said.

“The advantages of modular units is they are cheaper and have been mass produced, with some including features such as sinks, fridges and big barbecues with rotisseries.

“There are all sorts of things available.”

Ms Furey said many homeowners were opting for portable and built-in pizza ovens.

“They are not only used for pizza,” she said. “Once mastered, they can be used for baking and regular cooking as you would in a traditional oven.”

Outdoor furniture and cabinetry is another consideration for the modern entertaining space, whilst built-in cooking areas are commonly inclusive of a rangehood above the barbecue, particularly in enclosed spaces.

“Cabinets constructed for outdoor kitchens need to be able to withstand the elements, so are often built from stainless steel or marine-grade wood,” Ms Furey said.

“We are also seeing an increase in outdoor-specific benchtop options available, whereas in the past, choices were limited to stainless steel.”

Ms Furey said she high-end appliances were making their way outdoors.

“Not only are the barbecues built into the space, but we are seeing the addition of built-in bar fridges and even temperature-controlled wine storage solutions to allow

you to have everything you

need in one space,” she said.

Importantly, with WA boasting the ideal climate for entertaining guests outdoors, Mr Dawes said external living zones were increasingly being fused together with internal living spaces to create a unified and seamless flow.

“It’s normally attached to your living areas – so close to where you spend most of your time,” he said.

“The kitchen, meals and family alfresco are all really one giant living area.”


Atrium Homes, 6310 8888,

Coast Homes, 6241 6766,

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