WASHINGTON — First there was the “man cave,” then came the “she shed.” Now, the new adult escape is a play space where everyone can gather together: it’s the grillhouse.
The hexagon-shaped huts are a modern take on a Finnish tradition, and they solve a culinary dilemma that many in cold-weather settings face: They allow one to cook and entertain outside without risking frostbite.
“Part of [the Finnish] culture is barbecuing in these little houses,” explains Phil Edey, general manager of the Canadian-based company Arctic Spas, which imports the grillhouses from Finland and sells them in North America.
The huts, which are just shy of 100 square feet, are made of pine and feature a temperature controlled grill with multiple cooking surfaces that can smoke and barbecue food. A centralized hood and chimney help to control the heat and displace the smoke.
Benches that pull out into beds for overnight campers surround the grill and line the interior perimeter of the hut. Edey says he’s seen as many as 13 people fit comfortably into the space.
“It’s a great place to cook, socialize and entertain,” he says, adding that he’s cooked everything from smoked salmon, to sausages, to pancakes in the grillhouse.
There are even accessories that customers can order with the houses, ranging from wooden cups and plates, to Reindeer skins, tea kettles and various pots and pans.
Arctic Spas has been selling the grillhouses for four years now, and over that time has seen demand steadily increase. Edey says at first he was skeptical about how people would receive the backyard additions, but at the grillhouse debut, people lined up to get a glimpse of the outdoor kitchens.
“Once you’re inside, you almost feel like you’re in another world.”
Edey says the huts aren’t just for those with sprawling properties. He’s seen them everywhere from large hobby farms to small yards in downtown Toronto. Some urbanites even use the grillhouses as a way to add extra space to their smaller homes.
The huts start around $7,000 and go up to about $11,000, depending on the accessories.
If the grillhouses remind you of a certain fantasy trilogy, you’re not alone. Edey says he often hears people referring to them as “a hobbit house.”
“Bilbo Baggins is going to come walking out the door any second,” he jokes.
Take a tour inside an Arctic Grillhouse with the video below: