Set near the Pontiac Bay of Lake Washington, just northeast of Seattle, Washington, a lovely bungalow is tucked tightly among a stand of western red cedar trees. This is where Daniel Lowery, landscape designer and founder of Queen Anne Gardens, created what he considers one of his finest works: a mixture of modern steel design and ancient basalt columns wrapped by a lush garden enclave. It also includes an outdoor kitchen that seamlessly ties together the homeowner’s indoor and outdoor lifestyles.
Lowery was tasked with creating an outdoor kitchen that was located outside and below the indoor kitchen, tight to the house so that he wouldn’t disturb the cedars. The outdoor kitchen is tucked cozily and ingeniously alongside the stairs. Swaddled in the rich brown of ipe wood, and complemented by steel, sand-blasted concrete and green granite, it features a soaring wood and iron arbor with a glass ceiling that lets sunlight shine through while protecting the cook from the ubiquitous Pacific Northwest rain.
One of the clever design features of the kitchen was its use of textured glass, appropriately called rain. Designed to be used in a vertical space, Lowery turned it horizontally and placed it and as an enclosure for the stairs. “It captures the colors of the surroundings,” Lowery said. “On a bluebird day, it shows up bright blue,” bringing additional color and light into the outdoor kitchen.
Durability was a key consideration. Because of that and Seattle’s penchant for rainy, unpredictable weather, Lowery chose materials that would stand up to the weather, blend in with the surrounding cedar forest and allow in the stray and elusive ray of Seattle sunlight. All of the appliances are made of durable, low maintenance stainless steel, that have been tested rigorously in harsh climates to ensure they can withstand the test of time. Ipe was used in the decking, railings, staircase, skirting under the deck and in custom-cut toe kicks under the grill and cabinetry, and chosen for its longevity. Lowery projects its lifespan in the outdoor area to be about 50 years. He also used it because Ipe has a warmer feel, unlike the artificial, but equally durable, synthetic wood.
Lowery says he chose Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet kitchen equipment because of its high quality and exceptional craftsmanship. Those points, coupled with its reputation to withstand the elements made Kalamazoo an easy choice. “Other grills I’ve specified have rusted like mad,” he says. He also points to the fact that the company’s weather-tight cabinetry solved the problem of storing cookware outside year round without the worry of water seeping into the cabinets. “We’ve taken the extra step to put rain gutters around each cabinet door and drawer opening,” says Faulk. “These features channel water away from the interior of the cabinet, letting homeowners store their linens, dishes, spices outdoors because they just won’t get wet.”
Lowery says this became a big job for him in terms of materials and time. In the end he feels his process served the client well. “You have to make a mess first, then it gets beautiful,” he says.