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A decked-out alfresco kitchen in Fort Myers

Felipe Papadopolous of Fort Myers-based construction company Made in Rio transformed a Briarcliff spec house into a forever home with a spectacular outdoor kitchen.

BY March 1, 2023
Made in Rio outdoor kitchen
To host large family dinners in his Fort Myers home, the homeowner installed a custom wood-fired oven, Brazilian barbecue and high-tech fan system into his outdoor kitchen. (Photo by Dan Cutrona)

When Felipe Papadopolous, of the Fort Myers-based construction company Made in Rio, teamed up with his father on a spec home in Briarcliff, he poured his heart into the design, changing and modifying the so-called ‘Lego House’ until he got the layout just right. The project turned into his personal oasis, with the heart of the home being the outdoor kitchen.

Indoor-outdoor livability was paramount for Felipe; he especially wanted to ensure he had a cushy, spacious area for his big Lebanese-Greek family to gather and cook. The backyard is complete with a pool and soaking tub, a nearby gym with a sauna, an Alaskan king lounger, and the crown jewel—the outdoor kitchen. The space melds easily with the main kitchen and bar indoors, thanks to pocket doors and shellstone floors throughout the home and patio. “I created a bistro area with a kitchen that feels like you’re cooking inside. You open the house and you’ve got dueling kitchens, with pizza in the oven outside while Greek salads happen inside,” he says.

Since his big clan loves making pizza, Felipe commissioned a mosaic-covered wood-fired, brick oven from Napa-based Forno Piombo. Nearby, a Brazilian barbecue speaks to Felipe’s time growing up in Rio de Janeiro and allows him to cook meats to perfection. A high-tech fan system ensures the area remains clear of smoke, while stylish bistro tables, stools at the black granite bar and ample seating inside allow guests plenty of room to lounge.

Everything is cohesive and neat, with unifying materials that create a sleek scene. “We love having parties here,” Felipe says.

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