Spring breakfasts with the scent of flowers in the air. Long, lingering summer cocktails in a warm breeze. Fall barbecues with the rustle of leaves on your way to the grill. Sound appealing? Open up your kitchen to let these scenes inside. As the kitchen becomes the heart of most homes, welcoming in the landscape is an ever more popular — and possible — option. Read on to discover ways to open up your kitchen to a porch, deck or patio for a relaxed, indoor-outdoor lifestyle.
Photo by Paul Gjording
1. Maximize the View
Make a wall of glass the centerpiece of your kitchen so the natural setting is the star of the show. Whether you’re chopping veggies or chatting with guests, your outlook will expand outdoors and connect you to the landscape.
“The views are part of the experience here every day, all day,” says Dean Jasper of Dean Homes, who worked with Conard Romano Architects on the Seattle home seen here. “The outlook of sky, city and mountains gives you a sense of place in the Northwest.” Pocketing multislide glass doors gracefully excuse themselves to either side on balmy days and keep the vista clear when closed. Glass railings and long, low furnishings further extend the view.
Photo by Steve King Photography
Sometimes, when the site is tight and urban, you have to get creative. “Sliders were not possible due to the existing house footprint, so folding doors were the best solution,” architect Edward Ogosta says of this home in Manhattan Beach, California. “By opening the space at both ends, light, air and movement flow freely through the house and maximize the visual connection to the outdoors.”
Photo by Arnona Oren
2. Add a Servery Window
Slide platters of food through the frame, let guests perch while you’re cooking and watch the kids at play in the backyard while you work. Installing a threshold-less servery window above your countertop serves these functions and more.
Designer Anat Shmariahu centered this new home in San Jose, California, around the family’s love of cooking and entertaining. The servery window lets the husband easily prepare meals while chatting with friends at the outdoor bar. “Just open the window and the landscape becomes part of your house,” Shmariahu says. “Then whether people are sitting inside or out, you can continue your conversation.”
Photo by Amy Bartlam
3. Extend Your Countertop Outside
Let the same surfaces slide from indoors to out for a cohesive, functional design. Consider durable materials such as ultracompact surfaces that look sleek and weather well. Installing a grill or a sink on the outside countertops enhances cooking capabilities and pairs with indoor appliances.
For this home in Rolling Hills, California, an outdoor entertaining area embraces the indoor kitchen. Countertops stream between the two spaces, with a combination folding glass door and window system providing maximum flexibility. “You can get a large opening that is very dramatic, while still maintaining function on the interior when doors and windows are closed,” Keith Johnson of Pritzkat & Johnson Architects says.
Photo by Open Home Photography
4. Keep Your Color Palette Similar
Harmonize your hues to visually tie the indoor and outdoor spaces together. Flooring can be stained in complementary colors, door trim can be matched to your windows, and interior walls can sing to exterior siding.
A zero-post corner system joins the L-shaped deck and the kitchen in this 1926 San Francisco home, providing uninterrupted garden views. “We wanted to truly open the kitchen to the outdoors and make the connection gracious, comfortable and natural,” says architect Phil Rossington, who worked with Stephen Moore Home on the project. Warm colors complement the Craftsman architecture and gray cabinetry inside blends with the exterior siding. The island’s black walnut slab countertop floats above the original oak floors, which match the ipe decking.
Photo by Matthew Millman Photography
5. Bring Nature In
Welcome the outside in with natural materials and decor. Try wood and stone for surfaces and let in light with large openings. Add natural fiber accessories and plants to mimic the garden.
“Large openings that offer a direct connection to an outdoor space are the easiest way to create a seamless indoor-outdoor experience,” says architect John Kleman, who created this Stinson Beach, California, home with interior designer Gary Wiss. Oak flooring flows into weathered yellow cedar decking, as “wood to wood was important to keep that seamless connection,” Kleman says. Natural colors, such as white, straw and sand, echo the coastal setting, and a multislide glass door welcomes in the light.
More: To learn more about products that can help open your kitchen to the outdoors, visit La Cantina Doors.
This story was written by the Houzz Sponsored Content team.