With nest-feathering more popular than ever, home-owners are accomplishing easy home expansion with the outdoor room: a porch or patio tricked out for cooking, cocktailing and cozying. Not surprisingly, manufacturers have been quick to provide all the necessary weather-resistant equipment needed to move your kitchen and dining room outside and even extend the al fresco season into the colder months.
Step one is the grill. Bigger is better is the mantra when cooking gas and brands such as Viking (www.vikingrange.com), Wolf (www.wolfgrill.com) and Vieluxe (800/446.1071) deliver with behemoth stainless grills that perform a number of cooking feats. If charcoal is your snobbery, try the Weber Performer (pictured, $349). Its Touch-N-Go ignition system lights the charcoal quickly with gas and then slow-cooks from there. Weber also offers a wide line of grilling utensils that no man should be without, as well as Weber's Real Grilling cookbook for $21.95 (www.weber.com).
Next up, an outdoor bar from Frontgate (pictured, $1,995). Made of weather-resistant teakwood, it has plenty of room for any mixologist to work his magic and to keep the guests unparched. Along with more than seven square feet of countertop, the bar has shelves for liquor, glass and wine racks, and storage space for accessories. You can complement the bar with other Frontgate items, including bar stools ($295 each), a teak ice chest ($395) and a mosaic dining table ($4,559) with chairs ($349 each, www.frontgate.com). See Made for You, page 240, for wicker furniture.
With the larger items in place, it's now time to accessorize. For your bar, a swank tray from Pottery Barn (pictured, $49, www.potterybarn.com), and a high-end blender from Cuisinart (www.cuisinart.com) will keep the drinks flowing. Wine buffs will appreciate the Sommeliers glasses (pictured, $95) from Riedel Crystal of America (www. riedel.com).
If you're looking to add spice to the party, or at least to your barbecue, Hoboken Eddie's (www.hobokeneddies.com) and Chef Hymie (www.chefhymiegrande.com) have the meat and chili covered. And if that's not enough to warm you up, an outdoor space heater from Rankin (www.rankindelux.com) will do the trick, especially in the spring and fall.