Originally published in CityScene Magazine by Garth Bishop: https://www.cityscenecolumbus.com/homes/builds-plus-renovations/unique-motorized-pergola-keeps-luxurious-outdoor-kitchen-com/
As much as they loved their Bexley house when they moved in, Heather and Mickey Goldberg felt that the area around the pool needed something.
“I would tell everybody, ‘This would be a perfect spot for a kitchen,’” Heather says.
Today, thanks to the work of Dublin-based Epic Group, the pool sits adjacent to an expansive outdoor kitchen with all the features of an indoor kitchen and more. And the Goldbergs, as well as their guests, never have to worry about the weather presenting challenges, thanks to some innovative technology that protects the area from the elements.
That technology? A motorized pergola designed by StruXure, a deck technology design company based in Atlanta. The homeowners can use a remote control to open and close it at will, letting the sun in and keeping the rain out, and that’s only the beginning.
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“It closes automatically in the rain, and you can set it (via) an app to open during a certain time of day,” says Susan Dyas, one of the owners of Epic.
The louvers can stop at any angle, which means the homeowners can decide how much light they want to let in. Heather saw one of StruXure’s pergolas on HGTV, she says, and thought it would be ideal for the outdoor kitchen.
“It’s a cross between a standard pergola that’s always going to have openings (and) a fixed roof that is always going to be completely closed,” Dyas says.
Epic worked with StruXure to install the pergola, which is made from lightweight aluminum, then built out – in an area previously occupied by bushes – the rest of the kitchen underneath it. The project was finished by early 2020.
Following the addition of ceiling fans, the kitchen is able to remain bug-free even in the summer, Heather says.
“You don’t need screens or anything around the pergola to be bug-free,” she says.
Though the pool has been part of the house since the Goldbergs bought it in 2017, it was the only standout feature of the backyard. The kitchen was envisioned as a way to spruce up the space, Dyas says.
“We took an area that was fairly unused and were able to provide this outdoor kitchen experience that’s right next to the pool,” she says.
The most eyebrow-raising element of the kitchen, in Heather’s estimation, is the pizza oven. A 4
Pizze model by Italian oven designer Alfa, it can accommodate as many as four pizzas and get them ready to eat in as little as two minutes. The Goldbergs have also used it for steak, whole chickens, even leftovers.
The countertops have also grabbed the attention of visitors, Heather says. They’re made of black granite, with royal blue prisms that glow in the sunlight.
Other highlights of the kitchen include:
- A large built-in grill with burners on either side
- An ice machine
- Side-by-side beverage coolers
- Storage for two full sets of dishes, silverware, cups, bartending tools and even a margarita maker
- Warming drawers
“We just figured going all out on the kitchen would be great,” Heather says.
The kitchen has played host to everything from family dinners and small get-togethers to class reunions and a massive Independence Day party for all the neighbors.
“That’s been a big change, throwing a big 300-person party,” Heather says. “I’d have never been able to do that without the kitchen outside.”
To make both the kitchen and pool area more hospitable in cooler weather, Epic installed outdoor geothermal heaters, designed to heat the body rather than the air. The Goldbergs also added a TV they can watch from the pool area.
Rather than use concrete, as is common for patios, the Goldbergs decided on a type of water-resistant hardwood flooring engineered for raised wood decks (as well as rooftops, terraces and a variety of other features). The hand-blown glass lights were ordered from Paris, and the ornate dining table – surrounded by 12 chairs – was made in Morocco.
The full effect of the new kitchen has been that the family can, if they want, spend all day outside.
“Nothing has to be prepared inside,” Heather says. “Everything can be done outside, which is very convenient.”