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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Pandemic Project: Retired machinist Perry Saddler cooks up outdoor oasis - builds well-appointed kitchen

Arnalee Saddler and her husband Perry Saddler pose for a photo in their backyard kitchen they built during the pandemic on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, at their home in Spokane Valley, Wash.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Arnalee Saddler and her husband Perry Saddler pose for a photo in their backyard kitchen they built during the pandemic on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, at their home in Spokane Valley, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
By Cindy Hval For The Spokesman-Review

Perry Saddler’s pandemic project came in handy during the recent scorching temperatures.

In June of last year, he began work on an outdoor kitchen at his Spokane Valley home, and by September, he’d completed it.

“It has all the things an outdoor kitchen could possibly need,” said his wife, Arnie. “A grill, a sink, a cooler, a trash receptacle and a cooktop.”

A covered patio offered the perfect location, and the recently retired machinist designed and built every part of the kitchen, including the concrete countertops.

“The countertops turned out beautifully,” Arnie said.

They took quite a bit of time and effort to build.

“You pour the form upside down, let it set for three days, then turn it over and polish it,” Perry said.

The countertop holding the sink and trash can weighs 450 pounds.

“Our neighbors were having a party, so I recruited six guys to carry it,” he said.

He built the cabinets featuring several deep slide-out drawers, perfect for storing Arnie’s air fryer and pots and pans.

A handy flip-top trash receptacle sits near the sink. Perry left space between the countertops for a gas grill.

He made the second countertop in two pieces, each one weighing approximately 200 pounds. A two-burner camp stove, he converted to natural gas, rests in the middle. When not in use, the stove is covered with a polished steel lid.

“We have our kids and grandkids over every week for Taco Tuesday,” Arnie said. “Now, I can cook the taco meat outside.”

All that cooking can make you thirsty for a cold drink. Perry slid off a steel cover next to the stove to reveal a cooler filled with ice and beverages.

“I used a Coleman ice chest, built the frame around it, sealed it with silicon, made a drain, and lined the lid with Styrofoam,” he said.

The cost of building materials ratcheted up since he completed the project.

“I paid $1.31 apiece for the two-by-fours for the counters, now they’re $9 apiece for the same board.”

Galvanized roofing material on the cabinets completed the sleek finish of the outdoor kitchen.

The spot offers a perfect place to entertain and serve guests Perry’s homemade wine and cheese. He’s been making wine for several years, traveling to Walla Walla for grapes, and producing a barrel of Cabernet every year.

“I started making cheese in January 2020,” he said.

Arnie enjoys the fruits of his labor.

“He’s made many kinds of cheese including Jarlsberg, cheddar, ricotta, Gouda, smoked Gouda, and parmesan, but my favorite is his Camembert,” she said. “I’m so impressed with his many talents.”

No doubt Perry will come up with more projects to keep himself busy, but for now, the Saddlers are relishing time in their new outdoor space.

“We enjoy it daily, even during the cold temps,” said Arnie. “I cook out here all year. He thought of everything!”

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Cindy Hval can be reached at dchval@juno.com

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