Pat Beam, RLA has designed and installed many outdoor kitchens featuring Kalamazoo products and is one of Kalamazoo’s Featured Designers. 9th Avenue Designs, Pat’s Cleveland-based Landscape Architectural Firm, specializes in creating well-designed outdoor spaces. Pat offers his thoughts on designing and installing beautiful and functional outdoor kitchens, and why he returns to Kalamazoo products again and again.
1. THE DESIGN
At the start of a new project, Pat asks a lot of questions to make sure the design really suits his client’s needs. “As designers, we have to remember that clients don’t necessarily know what options are out there. It’s up to us to educate them and find the products that are sized appropriately and achieve what they want,” he says. “Last year, a client told me his family would cook pizza every Friday night. So we made sure to include a pizza oven in the design. If I hadn’t asked, they would probably still be cooking inside!”
Considering the client’s entertaining style, the climate, and the particular details of the site are key to designing an outdoor kitchen your client will love for years to come.
View the full kitchen in the outdoor kitchen gallery
2. THE FEATURES
From the design professional’s perspective, Kalamazoo products come with features that make them a dream to work with. “All of the Kalamazoo pieces and parts work together, so you get cleaner lines in an all-Kalamazoo kitchen. The leveling legs are the best; other brands’ leg styles just aren’t as functional or nice-looking,” Pat says. “I also like knowing that I can work with the Kalamazoo team directly on every job.”
Kalamazoo appliances’ high-performing features make the products an easy choice for homeowners, too. “I know that if I put in a Kalamazoo grill, I’ll have peace of mind because the client will be happy. My clients want the job done, and they want it done right. Often my clients will call me and say that until they had their Kalamazoo grill or pizza oven, they had no idea they were such good cooks! These products make it so easy for my clients to cook really good meals.”
3. THE INSTALLATION
Kalamazoo products are designed to work together for beautiful aesthetics and simple installation. The high quality and powerful performance of each component means that these appliances require some extra manpower. “Have some strong guys on hand to move the pieces,” Pat suggests. “In my first Kalamazoo installation, I tried moving the grill by myself with one other guy – no straps, no carts – and it wasn’t possible. Today I won’t do it without at least three people, and it takes at least four strong people to move the grills.” The reward for that hard work, of course, is a kitchen that will last a lifetime. “The weight is definitely indicative of the quality,” Pat says.
Depending on the product, installing new items in an existing outdoor kitchen can be an easy and rewarding way to update a space or improve functionality. “Grills are always the hardest appliance to retrofit. But pizza ovens are super simple to add, and clients love them – all you need is a gas line. The rest of the products are universally dimensioned, so it’s not too much trouble to replace similar products,” Pat says.