Picnic on the porch

this kitchen is the hub of an indoor-outdoor area

View of kitchen with wooden flooring and island, cabinetry, countertop, cuisine classique, home, interior design, kitchen, real estate, room, gray
View of kitchen with wooden flooring and island, white cabinetry and stainless hood

Traditionally, the kitchen has been the realm of Mom. She would disappear into the unknown to emerge some time later with dinner which the family would unquestioningly devour.

Nowadays, the sharing of a meal has become a more relaxed affair, and the preparation of it somewhat more communal especially in areas favored by a temperate climate, says architect James Rill, principal of Rill Architects.

"The prevailing trend of recent years has brought about a relaxed approach to entertaining. Where once you might have invited family and friends over for a sit-down dinner, you're now just as likely to invite the same people to an afternoon barbecue.

"As a result, more and more kitchens are being designed at the center of a confluence between indoors and out. Functionally, there is also a nod to both."

One of the original residences in Bethany Beach, this house recently underwent a full renovation during which a new kitchen, porch and terrace addition was included.

View of cooktop and stainless hood. ceiling, interior design, orange
View of cooktop and stainless hood.

"The clients wanted to create an entertaining house, one with a connection to the outdoors, which encouraged an easy association."

The original kitchen was little more than a galley space. Rill designed the new kitchen to allow multiple people to use the space at the same time, greatly increasing the amenity of the room. Connectivity was also one of the main design drivers, says Rill.

"The bank of windows was the obvious solution, visually linking the kitchen to the outdoor area, even in winter when it may be too cold to eat outdoors. From a practical standpoint, they also allow those in the kitchen to be part of the conversation on the patio and to allow food to pass from one to the other."

"While the clients really liked the concept, especially its authenticity to the architecture of the house, they were concerned that a lack of cabinetry would compromise the functionality of the kitchen. Convincing them that they could have a fully functional kitchen and still enjoy the level of connectivity they were after wasn't a particularly hard task."

In keeping with the house, the kitchen has an organic feel. The furniture-like quality of the individual pieces imparts a sense of the kitchen having grown and adapted to incorporate a modern application.

View of small sink with traditional style taps. countertop, estate, home, interior design, kitchen, window, gray
View of small sink with traditional style taps.

The choice of copper supports to the open shelves is a continuation of this theme, as they will slowly gather a patina in the years to come.

As a counterpoint to the traditional feel, Rill included a noticeably contemporary element to the island the stainless steel cooktop and hood.

"Both of these items speak directly to the functionality of the kitchen, yet they also have an aesthetic value that contributes to the eclectic theme of evolution. The hood particularly is a furniture-like object. Its presence is valid within the context, and rather than distracting from the feel, it adds a completely new layer."

Credit list

Interior and kitchen designer
Finished in Benjamin Moore Grand Teton White AC-42
Reclaimed rustic pine
Kitchen sink
Apron-front undercounter from Kohler
Kitchen manufacturer
Doors and windows
Marvin Windows and Doors

Story by: Justin Foote

21 Feb, 2012

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