Outdoor Kitchen Gallery

Fort Worth, Texas

An outdoor kitchen is tucked away in this addition to a 1922 Tudor-style home in one of Fort Worth's historic districts.

Marilyn's husband Fred, her children and grandchildren were the source of inspiration for her backyard outdoor living retreat located in one of Fort Worth's historic districts.

"Our family is very close. We're never far from each other," said Marilyn. "As my children started having babies, we needed an 'attraction' that would be a gathering place for everyone."

She wanted that attraction to include an outdoor kitchen attached to a new guest house and a pool; all of which needed to fit within a corner lot yard, the confines set by the city's historical preservation society and the Tudor Revival style of her home. All were challenges she had to overcome herself as the project's designer and general contractor.

Her biggest challenge was finding equipment that matched her cooking skills and catered to a son and two sons-in-law who also are avid outdoor cooks and are always trying to create something new on the grill, she said.

Marilyn is the primary cook and wanted the grill to be the centerpiece of the outdoor kitchen. She was not satisfied with the dilemma of choices in the marketplace: cook either with gas or charcoal. "I kept searching until I found the one grill that does it all." She chose the Hybrid Fire Grill from Kalamazoo that lets her cook with gas, charcoal and wood all at the same time.

Since the outdoor kitchen had to serve the pool area and the guesthouse, it needed to be completely independent from the main house and sheltered so the cook and diners were protected from the elements. Marilyn included several cabinets that in which to store linens and cooking accessories. And three different types of refrigeration were chosen to serve a variety of cooking and entertaining purposes: a clear ice maker, a glass door beverage center and refrigerated drawers.

"Now I can spend the night in the guesthouse with my five granddaughters and eat breakfast in the morning in the outdoor kitchen, which is only 20 feet from the edge of the pool."

She bucks one of the current outdoor kitchen trends, which is including a TV. She thinks it has the potential to take away from the closeness of the family and conversation with guests.

Another major challenge was ensuring her design idea would make it past the Fort Worth Historic Preservation District. She had to work with an architect to ensure the guesthouse fit within parameters that said she could not add anything to her house that would in any way change the historic qualities of her neighborhood.

Her search for materials took her as far away as Illinois to find roof tiles to match the originals on her main house and as close as the brick on her home's original guesthouse to match those needed to clad her outdoor kitchen and attached pool room.

In a clever move to satisfy the preservation district, she had the brick taken from the original guesthouse and moved to the outdoor kitchen area because she was unable to find anything similar anywhere in the country. She replaced the removed brick with stone that matches the attached wall hiding the air conditioners and pool equipment, the stone on the potting shed and the columns for the iron fence. Now, it appears as if the additions have been there since 1922 when the house was built.

Fort Worth is well known for its sun. To enjoy her outdoor space even in the brightest sun, she had an arbor built over the main sitting area. Marilyn added, "But why have furniture outdoors if you can't protect it from the weather?" A remote control opens and closes the hidden recessed metal louvers over the arbor.

"Now it looks like an old English compound. All we need is a cow tethered to the potting shed."

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