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DIY: EarthStone's backyard pizzeria

October 2, 2009 |  2:02 pm

1_ovenpartsA wood-burning pizza oven is one of the stars in the outdoor garden of “The September Issue” director R.J. Cutler. Lory Johansson of Just Joh (www.justjoh.com) designed the al fresco kitchen with an all-in-one pizza-oven unit from EarthStone Ovens in Glendale.

Prices for a prefabricated oven like Cutler’s start at $7,750. If you factor in design, construction and masonry charges, you can see why owners joke that they’re serving guests “the $10,000 pizza.”

There is a (slightly) less expensive way to cook your own backyard pie: A modular oven kit.

See how one couple turned the pile of parts, above, into their very own pizza oven after the jump.

 Inspired by lan Scott’s 1999 book, “The Bread Builders: Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens,” and postings on Brick Oven, a Yahoo pizza oven group, Tom and Kathy Lafleur of Rancho Santa Fe went with EarthStone's $3,300 Model 90 modular kit, which is made from high-temperature refractory ceramic material.  

“It came with a nice video and a very detailed 100-page manual,” Tom Lafleur says. “We figured out where we wanted to put it, poured the foundation, and started assembling the oven per EarthStone’s documentation.”

The Lafleurs spent $1,000 for concrete blocks, mortar and the labor to assemble the oven base. They also incurred an unanticipated $1,200 to add a ceramic-lined chimney that pops through the roof of their outdoor dining pavilion.

EarthStone founder Maurice Sabbagh Yotnegparian says the 22-year-old company, which recently added a 5,000-square-foot factory in Glendale to manufacture modular ovens locally, sells more “home units” in California than anywhere else. 

“Even in this economy, people still see making pizza as a hobby to entertain their family and friends,” he adds.

As for the Lafleurs, now that evening temperatures are beginning to cool, they plan to spend even more time cooking outdoors. “We cook pizza at night and in the morning, the oven temperature is still at 400 degrees, which is perfect for making bread,” Tom Lafleur says.

Here are some of the Lafleurs’ step-by-step photos of their DIY backyard oven:

From left: The kit of parts, laid out; setting the cinderblocks and structural bar; the completed base

Picnik collage pizza oven

From left: The arched opening, sides and dome in place; the completed oven  with added chimney in the middle of adding tile
Picnik collage oven 2 
-- Debra Prinzing

Photo credits: Kathy Lafleur