In September, we finally got the permit to begin remodeling our house. Chris proceeded to spend several weeks smashing, sawing, and demolishing the common areas of the house.
Here's what happened to our kitchen:
Umm, yeah. Clearly, cooking in the house is no longer an option.
Solution? Cook outside!
Chris went to the nearest Habitat for Humanity ReStore (if you don't know what that is, check them out here! They're awesome.) and obtained some materials to build an outdoor kitchen in the backyard.
Yes, he did haul it home by bike. For more on that, read this blog post.
For $70 Chris got an unfinished door, some dusty cabinets, and an old sink. In the backyard we have a covered patio area with a metal awning, which was the perfect location to set up the kitchen.
A couple hours later, voila! A kitchen counter. Chris makes it look easy. :)
Below you can see the fully fitted outdoor kitchen. We added in our old desk and old cabinet for additional counter space. Note the plug-in induction cooktops, buckets to catch water under the sink (we dump the water on our trees), and toaster (very important).
We (and when I say "we" I mean Chris) moved the refrigerator and microwave outside. Chris also put up mosquito netting around the perimeter to protect us from getting eaten alive during warm months.
We're particularly proud of our faucet: a potable, lead-free hose with twist on/off nozzle affixed to a rock that we found lying around our yard shaped kind of like Pride Rock (Lion King reference).
Below, the kitchen in action! Chris installed a bright LED shop light for nighttime cooking.
We've now been cooking outside for a couple months, and it's been an interesting experience. Everything is always a little dirty, dishes never get 100% clean, and we just have to be okay with that. We are also a lot more mindful of conserving water, since we collect used water in buckets and have to dump it out ourselves (water is heavy!).
The smell of delicious food wafts out our yard on a nightly basis. I wonder what our neighbors think.
Now that it's winter, it's the norm for us to be cooking while wearing down jackets and wool socks (the photos above were taken when it was warmer). It can get pretty cold — especially when washing dishes with hose water — but since we are in Southern California it's never unbearable. Overall, the kitchen is great and we enjoy cooking outside.
As Chris says, it's kind of like we're camping — every day. :)