It is no secret that the most popular area of the home is the kitchen. And while indoor kitchens can become crowded, outdoor kitchens extend living space, making home entertaining a “breeze”. From food prep and storage, to engaging with guests, anything that can be done inside can be done in an outdoor kitchen, all while enjoying nature.

Eureka, California homeowners Greg and Stephanie knew that an outdoor kitchen would mean more than extended living space: it would be a special environment for them to use for years to come. What started as a simple desire for an outdoor fireplace quickly expanded into an outdoor kitchen, living, and entertainment space, capped by a stunning, custom-built redwood pergola. The area includes an outdoor fireplace, smoker and pizza oven, as well as ample space for dining, seating, and storage.

“We wanted an environment that we could use 12 months out of the year—we entertain quite a bit”, explain the homeowners. “We are asked to host events due to the size of our yard and patio, and now feel we have a perfect outdoor space to enhance those events.”

Working with Pierson Company, a construction firm based in Humboldt County, California, the homeowners were able to design an outdoor space that works for them. The redwood pergola was built in two sections. The section containing the stone fireplace, smoker, and pizza oven is the kitchen and living area and is covered by a shingled roof. The dining section has a clear, corrugated plastic roof that allows natural light in. “Eureka receives a lot of rain and fog. With a roof covering we will be able to use this space as often as possible. The roof provides protection from the elements, while also providing shade on warm sunny days”, Greg explains.

The pergola was designed to utilize hidden fasteners; hidden Simpson steel connections were installed inside the structure, creating a seamless display of the natural warmth and beauty of the redwood. In addition, all electrical wiring was placed in a routed-out slot, effectively hiding away the unsightly conduits. The visual results are similar to traditional timber frame construction. “My favorite part is the ceiling”, Stephanie says. “I love the beams and the strength of them…the way the light and firelight reflect off the redwood is warm and inviting.” 

“It was an obvious choice for us to go with Humboldt Sawmill redwood. They do great forest management, and I knew that they would provide the product that we needed for this project. We decided that we wanted to use natural products and there is nothing more natural than redwood. It is a beautiful wood: it’s sustainable, it’s durable, it’s insect resistant, and low-maintenance” says Greg, when asked about the materials they chose. “We tried to design it so it would be low-maintenance…so we could just enjoy it.”

“I love working with redwood” says Kevin from Pierson Company. “It cuts beautifully…it’s a nice product to work with.” In addition to being easy to work with, the durability and strength of redwood makes it ideal when it comes to longevity: when installing the structure, the Pierson Company used 4x4 steel posts set in concrete 2' round by 5' deep so as to not need bracing. “This project is one of the nicest projects I have ever done,” per Kevin.

Thanks to redwood’s ability to stand up to the elements, and natural resistance to warping and splitting, this will be an outdoor space that the homeowners and their guests will be able to enjoy for a long time.