Expanding your backyard kitchen: Redmond company creates weather-proof cabinets for the patio

In a tough economy, entertaining at home takes on new luster, especially if you can incorporate the great outdoors. Redmond-based Interior Woodworking Specialists (IWS) has introduced My Patio Cabinets, a line of weather-proof, modular patio cabinets for your Pacific Northwest "backyard kitchen."

Tracey Hepner

In a tough economy, entertaining at home takes on new luster, especially if you can incorporate the great outdoors.

Redmond-based Interior Woodworking Specialists (IWS) has introduced My Patio Cabinets, a line of weather-proof, modular patio cabinets for your Pacific Northwest “backyard kitchen.”

IWS owners and Redmond High School alumni Doug and Tracey Hepner “have built restaurants and casinos our whole life,” Tracey explained.

They’ve created eye-catching interiors for well-known Redmond Town Center clients including Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinemas, Gene Juarez Salon, Spazzo and Ruby’s Diner, as well as downtown Bellevue’s Joey’s and The Parlor at Lincoln Square.

Tracey remarked, “We’ve sat out in our yard with cocktails wondering, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to have an expanded outdoor kitchen?’ It’s great for the stay-cation trend. Why people haven’t thought about it before was that they couldn’t come up with materials that wouldn’t melt, mold or warp when left out in the sun or rain.”

The Hepners spent a year working with an industrial designer on mock-ups for the outdoor kitchen extensions. Some were too heavy.

“We wanted this to be easy to assemble and easy to ship,” Tracey stated. “I even put together a YouTube video that shows how to put it together quickly.”

Affordability and durability were also important, said Tracey.

The portable patio cabinet components are much less expensive than built-in outdoor kitchens and because they are modular, users can arrange them to suit their needs, such as setting up a buffet line for an outdoor wedding or party.

The cabinets are made from marine-grade products that will withstand weather conditions. The counter tops are FDA-approved as food safe. They can be ordered with or without handles and come in four different wood stains — black, chestnut, cherry or natural.

“The materials are expensive but they’ll hold up, not fall apart,” said Tracey. “Something cheap won’t last more than one or two seasons.”

Depending on size and style, the cabinets run from $350 to $850, including a large cabinet that serves as a nest for a popular smoker/grill called “The Big Green Egg.” Other cabinets partner well with other high-end barbecue grills. Accessories include places to hang towels or cooking utensils.

The Hepners’ fondness for outdoor entertaining was a big motivator in developing this line of patio cabinets, but so was a wish to diversify, said Tracey.

“Restaurants used to keep us busy 24/7. We also do some high-end residential work. This is something new, that we hope will catch on,” she concluded.

To view photos and information, visit www.mypatiocabinets.com. For additional information, call (425) 867-1058 or e-mail thepner@interiorwoodworking.com.

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