Having an outdoor kitchen is nice, but, in my opinion, what's even more nice is having a kitchen that morphs into an outdoor kitchen whenever you desire. From awning windows to disappearing walls, there are plenty of ways to open up your kitchen to the out-of-doors — here are some of my favorites.
This inviting outdoor patio, from Three Birds Renovations and Adore magazine, features a particular kind of awning window called a gas strut window. The gas struts help the window to open more fully, turning the kitchen into an extension of the outdoors.
For a wider opening, you can use a bifold window, like the one in this South African home from Inside Out. Bifold windows are more expensive, but they also present more possibilities, since they can cover larger areas. Adding a bar beneath the window provides a spot for guests to engage with cooks who are working indoors.
Here's the opposite perspective, from the inside looking out, from a kitchen from Melton Design Build. Even if you're not entertaining, you could open a bifold window like this one to get the feeling of cooking outside.
The next step is bifold doors, like the ones in this this kitchen from House and Leisure, which can make entire walls disappear.
In this indoor/outdoor kitchen from Benn + Penna, a continuous run of cabinets means that, with the folding doors open, the transition between inside and and outside is almost seamless.
A slightly more economical way to get the look is with a casement window, like this one in a home from House Beautiful, which opens onto an outdoor bar.
In a home from The Beetle Shack, a set of bifold doors turns an outdoor balcony into an extension of the kitchen.
Here's another bifold window/bar combination, this one from Houzz. The bar can also be used a buffet for outdoor gatherings, so instead of carrying food outside you simply reach out and place it there.
This holiday home on St. Barths, spotted on The Style Files, has a kitchen that opens up to the deck outside. I'm not quite clear on the mechanism, but it looks like some kind of retractable overhead door.
This kitchen from Adore Home opens up to the outdoors in various ways: via a pair of french doors, and a bifold window above the sink. (Also, lead image above.)
This kitchen, from Metropolitan Construction, has the most ambitious setup of all — a pivoting door, paired with a retractable pocket door, paired with a bifold door. The budget for this sort of thing, I'm guessing, is quite steep, but if you luck into some riches you can create a house where, when the weather is nice enough, the walls literally disappear and your whole home becomes your backyard. We'd love an invite.