After a long, cold Canadian winter and topsy-turvy spring temperatures, I’m looking forward to spending many warm summer nights dining outside with family and friends. And I’m not talking about eating on a restaurant patio. There is nothing quite like the smell of a meal cooking on the grill in the privacy of your backyard.
Unsurprisingly, outdoor kitchens have become increasingly popular thanks to the pandemic, with homeowners looking for more than just a barbecue, table, and folding chairs. Smokers, pizza ovens, and flattop grills are among the most coveted cooking items. Sinks for easy food prep and cleanup, fridges to keep drinks cold for guests, heaters to extend the patio season, and custom cabinetry with lots of counter space and ample storage are also must-haves to ensure all the major conveniences of an indoor kitchen are in one place outdoors.
When it comes to outdoor cabinet materials, marine-grade aluminum and stainless steel have reigned supreme for some time. These metals are durable, long-lasting, and require relatively minimal maintenance, albeit essential to prevent long-term corrosion setting in. Masonry cabinetry is another option, prized for its aesthetic, sturdiness, and resiliency in most climates and weather conditions. Newer to the scene are polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and resin. High-quality cabinets made out of this material can be designed to look just like real wood, giving outdoor kitchens the same warm, classic feel that homeowners crave inside, but without the limitations of the natural product.
One Canadian company has taken this type of cabinetry material to a whole new level and even utilizes wood to manufacture its products. Based in Ontario, NatureKast selects teak and cypress from North American suppliers and then handcrafts doors, drawers, panels, and trim. After ensuring the grain can be replicated, the company then produces master moulds, which are injected with high-density closed-cell polyurethane resin. It finishes the cabinetry off with an exterior grade coating that makes it 100% waterproof. Not only can the final product withstand all the elements nature can throw at them – doors won’t fade, crack, split, warp or rot like regular wood, regardless of the amount of rain, humidity, heat, or other environmental conditions and backed up by the company’s limited lifetime warranty – the cabinetry perfectly replicates the natural colour and texture of real wood.
The wood connection doesn’t end there. NatureKast’s cabinet boxes are cut on a CNC machine and then built by a team of experienced cabinetmakers. The cabinetry is installed using standard woodworking tools and joinery methods. All hardware is rust-proof stainless steel for durability, and hinges and slides are soft-close to provide the quality expected from fine cabinetry. Even the pins, screws, and adhesives used need to survive Mother Nature at her worst.
NatureKast’s cabinetry is sold through ‘regular wood’ kitchen cabinet retailers. The product line is vast, with several door styles, including slab, shaker, and louver, and a variety of different colours and finishes. This is in addition to specific offerings like grill cabinets, insert cabinets, ceramic grill cabinets, benches, hoods, and even wall and tall cabinets. And since everything is customizable, cabinetry can be made to suit any design, space, and budget, providing endless possibilities for homeowners to update their current outdoor kitchen or create anew.
Clare Tattersall is an interior designer and decorator in Toronto and the editor of Canada’s floor covering magazine, Coverings.