Riverbend Retreat l Outdoor Kitchen Gallery
Brian and Paige Mullins never wanted to stray far from the Tickfaw River. While raising two children in nearby Ponchatoula, Louisiana, they often visited their camp on the water in Springfield for long days of fun in the sun. But Brian yearned for a permanent residence on the river, and he made that dream come true after selling the family’s home and camp to build their ideal living space.
Situated on a bend of Blood River — a tributary of the Tickfaw — the Mullins’ home provides a stunning view of the water. That’s why Brian constructed a screened-in outdoor kitchen that allows family and friends to take in as much of the river as possible. “I always wanted a view of the river because it’s been such a big part of our lives since the 1980s,” Brian said. Now the Mullins can be found in their outdoor kitchen having a big breakfast on Christmas morning or enjoying a cool breeze during the summer months.
BBQ in Peace
Brian had a certain grill in mind when he began designing his outdoor kitchen. “I watched Blaze grow from just an idea to what it has become today, so I know the kind of quality they have,” he said. His Blaze Professional 34-Inch grill is backed up against a wall that blocks Brian’s view of his neighbor’s home and allows him to turn and look at the river instead. The vent hood above the grill is crucial for this space because without it, smoke would become trapped by the screens surrounding the outdoor kitchen and linger in the sitting area. Even more important, though, is the insulated jacket around the grill, which is a required safety measure to shield the wooden cabinet from the grill’s heat.
The Mullins were so intent on maximizing their view of the river that they changed the location of the fireplace mid-build. It now blocks guests’ view of their boat dock while leaving the water exposed for all to see, just as the Mullins like it. The fireplace and chimney even feature a recessed niche for an outdoor TV around which the family can gather for the big game or a serene movie night set against the sound of the flowing river.
Keep Company Cozy
To add character and a lived-in feel to this area, the Mullins family used repurposed painted bricks on the fireplace and the other walls lining the outdoor kitchen. Brian, Paige, and their guests can enjoy every aspect of their outdoor space from the comfort of their elegant and durable Darlee deep seating set. On top of providing a great view of the outdoor TV, this furniture collection accommodates a handful of guests and is easy to rearrange for any occasion or entertainment style. Paige also included an outdoor rug that, besides adding a touch of décor to the room, withstands water and gives the family’s dogs a comfortable place to lie when everyone is around the grill.
Grill Then Chill
Though the Mullins’ outdoor kitchen is attached to their home, they still want to spend as much time in the space as possible. So Brian built his sink area with convenience in mind and paired it with everything he’d need to make grilling simple. The sink itself is about 8 inches deep, perfect for cleanup of dishes and grilling tools. To the right of the sink is an outdoor fridge the family uses mostly for drink storage but that can also be home to food and sauces. Finally, the outdoor kitchen includes an ice maker to help cool off everyone’s drinks when the grill gets too hot.
Relax by the River
The exterior view of this outdoor kitchen highlights the purpose of its design. By building in a semicircle, Brian created a 180-degree view of the river that makes his family and guests feel like they’re truly outside. Of course, they actually can go outside, where the Lakeview chaise lounges provide a spot to recline poolside. From there, the Mullins can really bask in the river views or spend a few minutes sipping a drink and sunbathing after a dip in their pool.
The family also placed a Lakeview dining table and umbrella on the opposite side of the pool deck for even more space to relax and entertain. If the Mullins need extra space during a dinner party or simply want to immerse themselves and their guests in the beauty of the river, this setup is a great secondary hosting option. For Brian, though, the purpose of this space is simple. “I like to have my morning coffee there,” he said, “but it’s just a good spot to just sit and watch the river and boats go by.” That’s why he built this outdoor space, after all.
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