Home’s new outdoor kitchen means plenty of space for the family

Not long after purchasing their new home in early 2020, Bill and Diane Vinson had a backyard swimming pool installed. The freeform, 7-foot-deep pool, built by New Braunfels-based Varsity Pools, features beautiful tile flooring from Oklahoma, concrete floors treated to stay cooler in the summer, and a raised hot tub that drains into the main pool.

“I’ve always wanted a pool,” said Diane, a retired educator. “I love the water, the sound of the waterfall and the clear blue color. I worked my way through college and managed the town pool near Pearland.”

Although the pool is big enough for Diane to swim laps (“When you’re almost 60, you don’t need a lot of space,” she joked), the covered porch attached to the house was too cramped for all of Bill’s outdoor cooking equipment, which includes a Blackstone slab and Traeger pellet grill. He is the one who does the outdoor cooking when they entertain family and friends, so he needed more space.

The L-shaped concrete countertop measures just over 17 linear feet. Appliances include a sink and refrigerator, plus there’s enough room for Bill Vinson to be able to host a backyard barbecue.

William Luther/Staff

“We have relatives in San Antonio, Katy and Halletsville,” he said. “Our house is a natural gathering place.”

To make entertaining — and cooking — easier, the couple called Varsity back about six months ago and asked them to build an outdoor covered kitchen in the backyard of the house, which sits east of Canyon Lake.

“We looked at a lot of Pinterest posts and searched for ‘outdoor kitchen layout’ to get an idea of ​​what we wanted,” said Diane.

Located next to the pool, the just completed 22 x 18 foot pavilion took about 2½ months to build. That included several weeks of downtime as supply chain issues meant they had to wait for some of the lumber, according to Randy Ortiz, a superintendent at Varsity. These included solid cedar timbers and cross beams that give the pavilion its rustic, vaguely ski lodge charm.

Water-saving landscape: Canyon Lake home landscaping features drought tolerant plants, 500 tons of rock

The couple scoured Pinterest posts looking for the best outdoor kitchen layout to meet their needs.

The couple scoured Pinterest posts looking for the best outdoor kitchen layout to meet their needs.

William Luther/Staff

“Our No. 1 priority was that we didn’t want it to look new,” said Bill, a retired engineering manager who declined to disclose the project’s cost. “We wanted it to look like it had always been part of the backyard.”

To that end, the roof is supported by four 8-by-8-inch cedar posts than rest on footings made with the same Oklahoma tile used elsewhere. And the 14-foot, pointed standing metal roof with seams echoes, like atop the nearby house.

On their wish list was a well-equipped kitchen with plenty of table space.

The final layout features an L-shaped concrete countertop measuring just over 17 linear feet and appliances that include a sink and refrigerator, and enough room for Bill’s griddle and grill. Together, he should have everything he needs for an outdoor barbecue.

“The less you have to go back into the house to get something, the better,” he said.

Old meets new: $600,000 Blanco home combines antique furniture and vintage architectural pieces

Industrial-style pendant lights above the worktop and a large ceiling fan will help make the kitchen usable at night and in the summer.

Industrial-style pendant lights above the worktop and a large ceiling fan will help make the kitchen usable at night and in the summer.

William Luther/Staff

Four industrial-style pendant lights above the worktop and a large ceiling fan help make the kitchen usable at night and in the summer.

The inviting atmosphere of the backyard is further enhanced by the Edison-style string lights that run from the house to a few posts near the pool. These posts are topped with several vintage glass insulators, some collected by Bill’s mother and others purchased during the couple’s antique forays.

Strings of Edison-style lights run from the house to a few posts near the pool.  These posts are topped with several vintage glass insulators.

Strings of Edison-style lights run from the house to a few posts near the pool. These posts are topped with several vintage glass insulators.

William Luther/Staff

However, the work is still not finished. To one side of the structure, for example, a horizontal beam attached to a vertical support post will soon hold two vintage flat-bottom swings.

“We wanted another place to sit,” said Bill. “We already have a vintage swing and now we’re on the hunt for another.”

They also hope to add gutters to the pavilion to catch and store rain, which they will then use to water the raised beds they will install. The plans also call for them to build a fire pit – as well as an outdoor fireplace.

For now, though, they’re looking forward to breaking ground on their new outdoor kitchen, presumably to celebrate Diane’s 60th birthday early next year.

“Until then, we’ll enjoy it for a while and then decide if we need to add anything more,” Bill said.

[email protected] | Twitter: @RichardMarini

Leave a Reply