California living means outdoor living. Thanks to our state’s amazing climate, outdoor living spaces are one of the most sought-after additions to a residence and beautiful functional outdoor kitchens are a key component of these al fresco remodels.
When designing a kitchen that will be exposed to the elements, it is important to consider the materials used, especially for countertops. Harrell Designer Lisa Parramore advocates her clients choose either Quartz or natural stone for exterior kitchen surfaces.
Quartzite is a hard metamorphic rock created naturally from pure quartz sandstone while Quartz is a man-made material that offers a huge variety of looks, from solid colors to patterns that mimic the look of marble, granite, and other natural stone. Manufacturers like Cambria, Silestone, and Caesarstone have an almost endless selection of colors, styles, and finishes.
Quartz is a popular choice for countertops, but when using it outside, it is important to note that this material does not appreciate sun exposure. Quartz is best used in outdoor areas where sunlight is limited to eliminate or severely reduce any chance of fading. Manufacturers typically will not guarantee their product if it is used outsides where it receives extended exposure to direct sunlight.
Quartz lovers never fear. There is a solution to this dilemma—Ultra Compact Quartz. Manufacturers of this product include NeoLith and Dekton. No maintenance, easy care, stain, scratch, and dent-resistant, this almost indestructible material is ideal for outdoor use. Available in a variety of colors, Ultra Compact Surfaces enable homeowners to achieve their desired design aesthetic without worrying about fading, functionality, and durability.
“For clients desiring a contemporary look, I love using Ultra Compact Surfaces with powder-coated stainless steel cabinetry,” shares Lisa.
Natural stone is another popular option for use in outdoor kitchen spaces. The most popular outdoor surface products include granite and marble, each with their own pros and cons. Granite is durable, resists staining, and is readily available in a multitude of hues but extreme temperatures can comprise the integrity of the surface. It is also wise to use light colored granite if it will be exposed to sun, as darker shades will retain a tremendous amount of heat.
“Part of the beauty of granite is its naturally occurring, shimmering crystals but severe heat and cold can result in the stone cracking,” Lisa clarifies.
Marble is another stunning surface that homeowners love. Though it doesn’t fade, marble can stain if not properly maintained. For those who don’t mind a “patina,” marble is a viable outdoor option but if the possibility of discoloration makes you, cringe, marble may be a material to avoid.
In the majority of her outdoor kitchen designs, Lisa uses granite, Quartzite, and Ultra Compact Surfaces. Marble typically has a polished finish, while granite can be either honed or polished. Depending upon the Quartz product chosen, they can have a low sheen, high gloss, or even a velvety-soft suede finish.
“I always recommend checking with the fabricators when deciding upon exterior materials and their planned location. Their in-depth knowledge is invaluable to retaining your product warranty as well as ensuring the surface chosen meets your needs and expectations,” Lisa advises.
Lisa Parramore is Harrell Design + Build’s award-winning certified Professional Landscape Designer. She is passionate about creating indoor-outdoor living spaces that inspire her clients to embrace and celebrate the California lifestyle. With her ability to beautifully integrate a home’s interior with the outdoors, Lisa brings a distinct vision and design sense to the Harrell Team.
Are you thinking of adding an outdoor kitchen or living space to your home? Now is the perfect time to start a conversation with one of our designers about creating an outdoor space that fits your lifestyle.