An Outdoor Kitchen Goes Environmental and Edible!

Contributed by Lori Dolnick

What happens when 28 talented and creative high-end designers come together? A masterpiece is created. Plain and simple.

The Pasadena Showcase House, a non-profit organization based in California chooses a home for an indoor, and outdoor makeover every year and the results are well, pretty amazing. The transformation process from basic and plain interiors to an incredible & stylish home complete with a stunning outdoor garden area, takes about 8 months to plan and finish.  The process not only involves time, hard work and passion but also the creative talents of these selected designers who have a special insight into what will “click” with the kind of space and materials they have to work with.

This year the team turned a private home owned by the American Red Cross into a dream house capturing the attention of almost 40 thousand visitors who helped raised money through the entrance fee for The American Red Cross.


The brains behind the outdoor kitchen design is Jan Ledgard, certified kitchen designer, owner and designer of Yorkshire Kitchens, Inc.  who conceptualized and designed the entire outdoor kitchen space for The Pasadena Showcase Home.

LD: How did you get involved in the Showcase House this year?

JL: Well, I just happened to tag along with a couple of other designers this year for the Designers’ Peek Day and just casually mentioned to someone that I did outdoor kitchens and well, the rest I guess is history!! LOL!

What I really wanted to do was to create an area that could be used for weddings, parties, etc but at the same time create a space that virtually anyone could look at no matter what their budget or space is and say “I could do this in my yard!”

LD: Where did the inspiration for the design come from?

JL: The idea for the space was that it would be a complete outdoor kitchen and kitchen garden. Everything planted was either edible or medicinal with a just a few exceptions. All the products we used were either recycled or recyclable or at least environmentally friendly. Atlantis Outdoor Kitchens supplied the cabinetry and appliances and I used as many local products and suppliers as possible including local lumber yard, local garden nurseries, etc.

LD: What was the most challenging in terms of trying to create a fun but useful place?

JL: I wanted to create something that was fun and exciting, yet functional. Keeping in mind ways for families and friends to entertain and at the same time being able to enjoy some private time – which is why I added the Martini sink so you can just relax in your own yard sipping away on a Martini.

We build a deck for ultimate family dinners and a bar for those special social nights with friends or neighbors. It’s very cool because the deck is built over the roots of a Liquid Amber tree that adds a natural shade canopy. I also designed the retractable awning – each panel pulls on and off separately using a very low energy “pole” so you just hook the pole in a ring and pull!

I also finished off the space bringing all the elements of the wood and glass together using recycled glass as accents in all the candle holders, teak on the hand rail, natural stones and crystals (a passion of mine) were dotted around the entire space and a couple of whimsical elements, like the “moon gazing hares,” were also added.

LD: Sounds like you had the “Go Green” effect in mind when planning the space.

JL: I did actually. The planters are all edible, herbal or medicinal including tomatoes, grape vines, etc. We added small planters around the space to show people how they could have an herb garden in a small space – and it is visually appealing as well.

LD:  Well, you did an amazing job this year. Any idea of what visitors can expect next year?

JD: Not sure yet. We’re still trying to rest up from the last one!!

Photos courtesy Pasadena Showcase House 2010.

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xoxo Linda

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