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Creative Design Space of Jacksonville and Orange Park specializes in the creation of outdoor kitchens and entertainment areas that transform your backard retreat into an oasis. They offer a host of services including complete Design Layouts, Standard Kitchens, Custom Kitchens, Custom Tile, Pergolas andustom Outdoor Fireplaces Fire Pits.  Visit www.creativedesignspace.com for more information and job photos.



Choosing a Grill

Whether you’re interested in building a luxury, custom outdoor kitchen or just need a basic Weber to cook a few hotdogs and hamburgers, there are a lot of things to consider when purchasing a grill. Backyard cooking is consistently at the top of a homeowner’s “must have” list when planning their outdoor space. With so many options on the market, what grill will you choose? Here’s a little information about two of the hottest kinds of grills on the market – flattop grills and infrared grills.

Flattop Grills

Although it resembles a griddle, a flattop grill actually performs differently because the heating element creates an extremely hot and even cooking surface, as heat spreads in a radial fashion over the surface. Flattop grills have been around for hundreds of years. They originated in Mexico and Central American where they were made of clay and used for cooking corn dough.

Today, flattop grills are great for sautéing, toasting, simmering, stir frying, browning, blackening, grilling, baking, braising, and roasting. You can even use them for flambéing. Hungry yet? Try making an omelette, crepe, pizza, quesadilla or even a Greek gyro. Flattop grills are one of the most versatile outdoor cooking apparatuses on the market. And because they’re so attractive, they generally become the focal point of your outdoor get-together.

Infrared Cooking System

Also known as Infra-red, infrared grilling is the hot new thing in outdoor cooking. It’s sometimes referred to as the microwave of the outdoor kitchen because of its ability to cook food – especially thick meats – in such a short amount of time.

According to an About.com article on the subject, the physics behind Infrared cooking is this: An infrared burner is covered with several stainless steel emitters that prevent air from being ignited, causing only infrared energy to be created. Infrared is an energy that causes molecules to shake, causing the temperature of the molecules to increase. This infrared strikes the molecules directly instead of being transmitted through a liquid or solid conductor.

Pretty technical, huh? Let’s look at the pros and cons. Infrared grills and burners generate a much higher temperature and heat up much faster than other grills. Some experts say that the intense direct heat enhances the food’s flavor and there are fewer flare-ups because grease is instantly vaporized instead of dripping onto the heat source. Some cons to infrared grills include expense (they cost a lot more than traditional grills) and low temperature range (it’s either hot or really hot).


Cooking Up Tradition with the New Chicago Brick Oven

Imagine you’re sitting in your backyard, drinking a nice glass of wine while enjoying the brightly colored flames and rustic crackle of your outdoor fireplace. Now imagine – on that same fire – you cook cedar plank salmon, a side of roasted veggies and a flourless chocolate almond cake to share with friends.

Backyard Brick Ovens - available in JacksonvilleThis traditional method of outdoor cooking is possible via Chicago Brick Oven (CBO), a leading US manufacturer in wood-fired brick ovens that combines classic design with a proprietary manufacturing system. From the three-piece Etna Model 500, great for the handy do-it-yourselfer, to the ultra-luxurious Vesuvio from the Mario Batali Vesuvio Series, CBO introduces a unique focal point to your outdoor living space and takes entertaining alfresco-style to a whole new level.

The ovens are available in three design options, allowing it to fit beautifully into a variety of hardscape and landscape styles. You can create an outdoor kitchen to suit your oven or an oven to suit your already existing outdoor kitchen. Each is of quality construction with superior engineering design and high-strength, materials reinforced with stainless steel to ensure peak performance and results.

Starting this year, Oldcastle Coastal, a local hardscape company, started offering Chicago Brick Oven wares. Mike Costello, accounts manager for Oldcastle, is excited to offer North Florida this authentic and innovative product. “It’s amazing how quickly things cook in there,” he says of the low-weight oven that gets to well-over 500 degrees. “Pizza cooks in just 5 minutes.”

Although brick oven fires are traditionally known for baking breads and pizza pies, you can cook virtually anything in a CBO. The website (chicagobrickoven.com) features an extensive list of recipes: everything from Valencia Paella to Chipotle Shrimp and Pineapple Kabobs to Pork Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon – even a Stuffed Turkey! It’s a great way to impress friends and family with a meal prepared in a flavorful and authentic way.

The ovens are designed and manufactured in the USA, so you avoid the time, hassle, worry and costs typically associated with imported wood-fired brick ovens. Oldcastle Coastal currently has the Mario Batali Etna 2 on display at their extensive outdoor showroom and design center located on Soutel Drive with all models available for order.

Costello, who’s been demonstrating the new oven, says, “I felt like I was firing up a new way to do outdoor cooking for the backyard experience, and opening up a whole new menu for outdoor grilling.”


New Fall Trends in Outdoor Dining

Wood-Fired Ovens Trend Blazes through FloridaWood-fired ovens were used centuries ago all over the world on a daily basis to bake, cook and perform other pioneer tasks. Today, the growing popularity of people’s desire for authentic tasting, hard-crust breads and pizzas has spawned a revival of these ovens.

Discovery of a favorite bakery or restaurant using this ancient technique to bake delicious breads, rolls, buns, pizzas and other meals has provided many people with an opportunity to taste the fresh flavors these ovens capture. It’s even inspired them to build their own ovens to share with friends and family.

In Italy, wood-fired ovens are practically on every street corner and this trend is blazing through Northeast Florida. A wood-fired oven can be made in a wide variety of styles, shapes and colors and by using different types of materials. Explore these ovens—find a style to compliment your backyard décor and spend your fall evenings in your backyard kitchen.

Clay or Earthen Ovens:
Clay ovens are made by building up the oven’s shape with layers of clay or other earthen mixtures. The clay mixture generally includes straw or hay to bind, sand to dry and salt to help waterproof and preserve the oven. Clay ovens have a base, hearth, frame, insulating material and wide doors to allow space for sliding pizza and breads in and out. They are generally built in a horseshoe shape. They are the least expensive to build and can be built as a weekend project. They are said to be the best ovens for holding heat and flavor.

Brick Ovens:
Brick ovens are usually oblong or square in shape. They require a very solid stone base, though cement and heavy woods may also be used. They have a base, hearth, frame and wide doors. A strong framework is necessary to support the dome and bricks are laid flat upon it. Mortar is used to fill between bricks. This type is great at holding heat, durable, but more expensive to build. An experienced brick layer could complete quickly.

All ovens have a dome and chimney—create your own unique shape, style and design. Spice your oven up with color to match your outdoor entertainment area and invite your friends over for an authentic Italian pizza party. Bake a cobbler or pie as your oven cools.


Outdoor Kitchens: A New MUST HAVE this Summer

MJKOG_Cust_Outdoor_Kitchen_B_e.jpgIs the term “Outdoor Kitchen” in your vocabulary yet? It’s the hot topic in Jacksonville. Determined to make the most of our outdoor spaces, Floridians are asking for more than the backyard bar-b-que. Outdoor Kitchens are the “have to have” item on a homeowners’s checklist. Open air kitchens - fully equipped with gas cook-tops, stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers, wine cooler, counter-tops & cabinetry… the whole works … the outdoor kitchen concept (not as a substitute for the indoor version, but as an addition to!) is becoming the new trend for the Florida lifestyle. The intrigue in the Outdoor Kitchen adds new dimension to the design of Florida’s homes and townhouses. 

Refrigerators and stereo systems are two of the most popular must-haves in Outdoor Kitchens.  Many grill makers offer built-in marine-grade sound systems that are iPod compatible. Some models feature convection grills, refrigerators and umbrella stands. Counter finishes include tumbled marble, tile and Corian.  Architectural stacked stone, stucco, or tile are the most common exterior finishes.


Top Design Considerations for Your Outdoor Kitchen

Here are some things to start thinking about when planning your outdoor kitchen. These are the top questions and design options we work through on a regular basis.

Do you want your outdoor kitchen covered so that you can cook and entertain even when it rains?

You will want to consider the overall size needed. For instance, for the chairs at the dining table, you need at least four feet away from any other element, especially the grill or any step-downs.

Do you want brick pavers underneath you new outdoor kitchen?

Plan for adequate cabinet space. This way you can keep your supplies, which will help cut down on trips back and forth to the indoor kitchen.

Counter top options include tile, granite, stone and concrete.

Overhead fans can make it more pleasant during Jacksonville’s hottest months

Refrigerator: Under-counter units are popular for summer kitchens because they are out of sight, protected by the counter and handy for storage.

Sinks: Stainless-steel sinks are preferable for summer kitchens because they won't corrode.

Nice ad-ons: Waterproof TV and sound systems, inline hot water heaters, warming drawers, and fireplaces.

Outdoor kitchens are one of the hottest trends in landscaping and outdoor living. These structures create a focal point comparable to the kitchen inside the home. They become the center of all the action and entertainment in one’s home.

Best of all, having a summer kitchen allows you, as the host, to enjoy the good times, too. You may be the cook and bartender, but, with an outdoor kitchen, you get to do all your necessary—and much appreciated—work right in the midst of your family, friends and guests.

Outdoor kitchens can integrate well into the existing landscape, tying your summer kitchen’s design into the larger space; things like, complementing any existing structures, easy access to the indoor kitchen, the relationship to a pool or outdoor patio.