Kitchen on the Half Shell

Waterfront living inspires a laid-back lifestyle, but that doesn't mean there aren't certain issues to consider when cooking up your coastal kitchen.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionDesign your kitchen with natural colors found in your locale.
Deborah Krasner, Certified Culinary Professional and author of numerous kitchen design guides and cookbooks, including The New Outdoor Kitchen, says to stay connected with the sound of the surf, add outdoor cook surfaces. Extend that idea to your cooking cleanups with an outside sink for prepping seafood and scrubbing greasy grills. Or add a deck or lanai dining space adjacent to the kitchen and screen it to keep bugs out, allowing you to leave the kitchen door open for easy access.

As for materials, Deborah likes natural stone and ceramics, and says that they should be time-tested. One necessary splurge: a high-quality exhaust fan for the kitchen to channel fishy odors outside and keep the house smelling like the sea, not what's in it.

Duval advocates buying time-saving appliances like microwaves that speed- or steam-cook vegetables. A griddle also makes preparing the water's bounty a snap to keep both healthy and tasty. Look for one that features removable surfaces for easy cleanups.

"You may love your vacation home," says Deborah, "but the reason you really bought it was for the outdoors, so spend your time outside, not cleaning up the kitchen."