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Modthyrth 06-28-2008 02:44 PM

Nikki's 42" in Phoenix, where it's hot as a...
It begins!! We had the foundation for the oven and outdoor kitchen area poured today.

I'm a handy gal, but the foundation pour was the only thing that intimidated me while reading through the project plans. It was only 110 degrees--a mild day for the middle of summer in Phoenix. But I know that concrete is tricky in high, dry heat, and I wanted the skills of a local pro. I still managed to do it cheaply by trading the foundation for some vacation time at our cabin in the mountains. I also hung out, watched, asked questions, and feel confident that I can pour the hearth myself in a few weeks.

Husband moving the sprinkler head to make way for the concrete. You can see our last project, a play house for my 4 year old daughter, in the background. It's not entirely done--still need to do the decorative painting on the shutters, finish the balcony, and attach the gingerbread. I seem to have a compulsive need to start a new project just before I finish the last.

Let the fun begin!

Jed 06-28-2008 03:58 PM

Re: Nikki's 42" in Phoenix, where it's hot as a...

Looks like a great project!

What oven are you planning to install? Big - small , High roof - low roof? Igloo, or a structure to surround the oven?

Have you decided on finish materials, what will it look like?

From the foundation slab, it looks like the oven is the center bit on an outdoor kitchen space, what else are you including in the kitchen?


Modthyrth 06-28-2008 05:50 PM

Re: Nikki's 42" in Phoenix, where it's hot as a...
Man, I love this forum. A place where I can talk about this obsession and my husband won't roll his eyes and suffer through my monologues indulgently. Eh, I listen to more talk about strategies for crafting or weapon stats on MMORPGs than I've ever needed in my life. Turnabout is fair play.

Jed--You're right, once I decided I was going to build a pizza oven, that started a chain reaction. I obviously needed some counterspace to work on the pizzas, which lead to the outdoor kitchen area (to replace the super-cheap stand-alone unit we've had for years), and of course I needed a patio area and a table and a pergola so we could *enjoy* our delicious pizzas... One of the main joys of living in Phoenix is the beautiful weather for most of the year--that justifies making a fabulous outdoor living space, right? Right??

The oven itself is going to be a 42" corner installation, high dome, igloo style finish.

The rectangle to the right of the center pizza oven space simply will be counter top space. A place to work and set things down. Granite top, probably. There's a great place around here called The Handyman's Candyland, basically a Big Lots for contractors. You never know what you'll find going in there, but you're guaranteed to find fabulous bargains. It's full of stuff from high-end Scottsdale remodels, where the home-owner decided that the fabulous $8k bathtub wasn't quite the right shade of off-white, another needs to be ordered! And the original one ordered ends up at The Handyman's Candyland for $800. They also carry pre-fab solid granite countertops for only a couple hundred dollars. I designed the countertop-only wing to be the right size to easily accept one of those counters, so we'll only pay perhaps $6/sf for the slab.

On the long wing to the left will be the outdoor kitchen area. We were going to go built-in, until this until showed up at Sam's club:
It includes sink, mini-fridge, big-ass grill, two-burner stovetop, and granite countertops. I priced out the elements for a built-in system, and we couldn't come close to beating the price at Sam's.

I'm going to build a counter-height block wall to run along the backside of the unit, so it will look more built-in, especially to anyone out playing in the yard, or walking from the back door toward the outdoor kitchen area.

All the concrete block work will be clad in stone veneer:

There's a local company that makes it, and I found them through craigslist a few weeks ago. They'd made an extra 400 or so sf and were selling the surplus stock for $2.75/sf or lf (corner pieces). Score! Even though that's probably the very last material I'll be needing, I snatched it up. They sell it normally for $4/sf, which is far cheaper than any of the other places I'd sourced, so if I decide I need more for other elements of the project, I'll be able to buy it easily and affordably.

I'm going to go with an igloo style for the dome enclosure--I don't want to block off more of the view of the backyard than necessary. Plus, I think it'll blend nicely with the southwestern/Mediterranean house style so common down here.

I am completely enchanted with Frances' mosaic work on her dome, and I may try to incorporate a bit of that kind of flare, but I'm pretty sure I'll stick with stucco for the main dome covering to match the house.

The patio area will be made from pavers, and we'll build a pergola to go on top. I'll build in a fire-pit and curved seating wall to adjoin the dining area. I watched contractors build this when we built a courtyard at our last house, and I'm itching to try it myself. I took good pictures of each step of the process, and it looked incredibly easy. Heavy, hot, but easy. ;-)

I'll also build a small raised garden bed for herbs right next to the outdoor kitchen area. We already have lemon, orange, tangerine, lime, apricot, and peach trees. I'll get a grape arbor too, one of these days.

Our yard is remarkably large by Phoenix standards, and I'm very excited to start to take more advantage of it. I'm hoping to have at least the oven done by October for my daughter's 5th birthday party. The weather here is absolutely glorious that time of year. An anniversary party in November? Thanksgiving turkey? All the family gathered in the Valley of the Sun for Christmas, hanging out and making fabulous pizzas? I'm smitten with the whole idea.

My mother is a pastry chef, and was trained by the current reigning national pastry champions. And because my mom is who she is, she's now best friends with said champions. I'm already plotting to lure chef smoake over to give me wood-fired oven bread-baking lessons. ;-)

jengineer 06-28-2008 08:15 PM

Re: Nikki's 42" in Phoenix, where it's hot as a...
OMG She plans on feeding an Army!

Modthyrth 06-28-2008 08:32 PM

Re: Nikki's 42" in Phoenix, where it's hot as a...
Heh, yeah. I go overboard when I entertain. I explode in a David-Tutera-like frenzy, but I throw some memorable parties. I tend to overdo it all, from the decor to the cake. One example of a cake I made for a friend's birthday:

Martha Stewart has nothing on me. ;-)

Frances 06-29-2008 07:04 AM

Re: Nikki's 42" in Phoenix, where it's hot as a...
Wow, I'd love to see what you do with mosaic, after looking at that cake!

I often do castle cakes, too... but that is something else!!

Jed 06-29-2008 08:46 PM

Re: Nikki's 42" in Phoenix, where it's hot as a...
Hey Nikki !

This is going to be fun!

I look forward to your building, the pictures and the stories!

Best of luck!


Ken524 06-29-2008 08:55 PM

Re: Nikki's 42" in Phoenix, where it's hot as a...
I was eyeballing that Sam's Club grill just a few weeks ago. Looked pretty nice!

Modthyrth 07-02-2008 09:26 PM

Re: Nikki's 42" in Phoenix, where it's hot as a...
We picked up the grill/sink/fridge/burners unit from Sam's club today. It *barely* fit in our friend's truck, but with many straps, we managed to get it home. It'll live in boxes in our garage until I finish slinging concrete and mortar around.

For anyone who might be interested in such an item, they just dropped the price. It's now $1887--glad I procrastinated!

christo 07-05-2008 05:39 AM

Re: Nikki's 42" in Phoenix, where it's hot as a...
Hopefully it won't live in the garage as long as my equipment did....


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