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03 September, 2011

The Summer Kitchen...A French Tradition

summer kit3When I lived in France, I discovered a tradition that I found intriguing and almost exotic and yet, at the same time, very practical…the summer kitchen! Several of my friends had them…spaces dedicated to cooking during the hot summer months. They are not just outdoor kitchens since, more often than not, they were located in a breezeway or even a basement space, allowing for cooking away from the main part of the house to keep it cool.
Sooo... I was thrilled to find an article about summer kitchens in one of my favorite online French decor magazines, Art & Decoration! I am showing you my favorite first…this rustic charmer with its own pizza/bread oven built from local stones. But don’t be deceived…the shutter board cabinet doors hide a refrigerator and a dishwasher! I love the unusual whitewashed driftwood table and chairs!

summer kit2This green house-turned-summer kitchen belongs to Isabella Sallusti of Graine & Ficelle…a working farm and bed and breakfast which offers cooking classes using its organic produce. Click here to have a peek at the guest rooms. Gotta love that cement sink! I think I might actually cook here.

summer kit4 Here’s another summer kitchen from a mas…a farmhouse and its outbuildings…in Provence. The base is made of salvaged wood and is topped by black granite…all on wheels to make it mobile!

summer kit1 This one is actually a pool house at another mas in the south of France! The kitchen area can be closed off by the two big doors that you see and includes a refrigerator and a dishwasher. The concrete bar opposite it houses a sink and a grill.

summer kit7 This one was designed at the request of the decorator Vannina Boudet and works around an original window. The massive oak beams and hand carved stone sink almost make it look as though it was always there!

summer kit6 I love this one…installed in a garden in Cap d’Antibes on the French Riviera! It’s built from teak wood and has shutters that can drop down when needed.

summer kit8 This Caribbean-style kitchen is actually on the deck of a pool and is shaded by a thatched umbrella and reed blinds. Wow…there’s even a microwave and a full-sized fridge…a sleek, modern kitchen tucked into an exotic setting!

summer kit5 Here’s a final summer kitchen for you! It almost looks like it could be in Florida, huh? French design is not just campagne chic...shabby chic. They love sleek and modern, too! 
However, I have to admit…that first one still has my heart! It brings back memories of a neighbor serving us homemade bread hot out of the oven he built himself! After all, that is what a summer kitchen is really about…gathering with friends and family to enjoy the time together! And I hope that's exactly what all of you are doing this Labor Day! Have a wonderful holiday weekend!


  1. I agree...the first photo has my heart, too! Super post, and it would be great to have a summer kitchen!

  2. Oh Debbie, such wonderful outdoor kitchens. They all look fabulous. I do love the first one best. I hope you are enjoying family this weekend. Love ya. Hugs, Marty

  3. These all look wonderful, but here they would need to be called fall or spring kitchens. ;-)
    Beautiful post, Debbie. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. I'm dreaming of a .....

    maybe one of each?

    It's a very practical idea, but you would need big fans blowing cool air here in Alabama, I am afraid.

  5. Hi Debbie, love your images! You know, that was a custom here in the U.S. in the south in the days before electricity. Not only the heat from cooking, but the propensity to fire destroying the home made for keeping a kitchen away from the main house. this was mostly in large estates and plantations. The ones that are close to a pool with outside dining would be heavenly! Hope you're having a great weekend, xo Debra

  6. Oh how I love those summer kitchens. I think I love the last one. You mentioned Art & decoration. I used to buy that magazine for a long time. Forgot all about it. Maybe Istill have an old one. So it is on line now. I must go and have a look.
    Have a wonderful week.

  7. Be still my little pounding heart!! What fabulous ideas, especially since we just broke ground today on a new patio/outdoor kitchen area!!!The ideas are fabulous!

  8. Most old American city houses had -- some still have! -- summer kitchens in their basements, with walk outs to the back gardens. My grandfather's summer kitchen was his own domain.

    For many families, a summer kitchen was the only way to cook in hot weather, when there was little cross ventilation in houses that shared common walls, and at the end of the summer, all the canning was done down there.

    Love the pictures you show -- but that kitchen under glass? I think that would work best as a winter kitchen; we have a conservatory and the last thing I'd want in there in the summer is HEAT! No amount of AC will accommodate a stove in a sunroom.

    Fun post, thanks!

  9. Debbie,
    Had a fun time looking at these neat summer kitchens...thanks for sharing them.


  10. They are all gorgeous, but my favorite is the green-house Kitchen...I like lots of light when in the kitchen.

  11. Debbie,
    These are amazing!!!
    When we moved On Crooked Creek, many suggested we put a kitchen on the lower level for entertaining. Had we been years younger ...or had teenagers...we probably would have done so; however, at our's usually just dessert or coffee. I'm just not into multiple trips to carry food and dishes!
    It is cooling off somewhat on the Prairie! Cooler temps mean more "oven time"!

  12. My grandmother had an old summer kitchen in her farm house. I expect it was the 'summer' room because it wasn't insulated but it was spacious, full of charm, big side-boards, windows and a screen door to the shed. It had a huge wood-stove where we would make our famous toast with her home-made jam. She taught me how to drink tea at the age of 7.
    I love these images and the first one is my favorite, too.

  13. I loved the first one and the greenhouse one the best. My hubby's grandmother had a stove and fridge set up in her basement and she did her heavy cooking down there (as she ironed) when it was hot and humid. Great post! xo Diana

  14. What a neat idea, Debbie. They are all so beautiful, hard to pick a favorite but I like the green house and the first picture the best, I think...Christine

  15. Deb what a beautiful post. I love this Frenchy idea. I am with you I love the first one the most. I am not a rustic girl but that kitchen is so appealing to me. I can just see fixing a big feast for family and friends out there. Great post thanks for all your hard work pulling this together for us!! xo Kathysue

  16. Hey Debbie! I love the first photo as well. Did you notice the yellow and black tiles on the right hand side? That's how my bathroom was tiled until I had to remove it due to mold. I really miss it. Didn't they used to have summer kitchens in the big plantations in the south?

    xoxo, Bonnie

  17. Ah, that first photo makes me miss our old house! We had a sunhouse built over our kitchen and the view along with the natural lighting was amazing! I truly miss it.

  18. Summer kitchens are a great idea. They used to be common in this area, decades ago when everything was cooked on a wood cookstove. Imagine that in the middle of a heat wave! It seems as if the idea is coming back, I know I would love to have one.

  19. I think my favorite is the greenhouse turned kitchen that belongs to Isabella Sallusti, but I would be happy to have any of them!

  20. What a dream to have an outdoor kitchen. I love the greenhouse one also but the first one is amazing.

  21. Debbie, I'd love to have an outdoor the shade. I like the first and third ones in your post, but actually I'd take any of them. Hope you're having a nice Labor Day weekend.

  22. All those kitchens are fabulous and what a good idea! I know I could have used a summer kitchen this year with all the high temps we had!

  23. I remember Some Italian people who had summer kitchens in Brooklyn and Queens.
    Sometimes it was a remake of a garage with a screen door.
    I like my summer kitchen to have a/c! :)
    I will think of you Tues when I wave at the school bus going by on the first day of school! :)

  24. Wonderful ideals. Hubby and I have talked about an outdoor kitchen for a while now. Just hope that if I ever get one, it's half as beautiful as the one's I just saw.


Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate my wonderful readers!... Debbie