landarc: a big thank you to you! I had almost forgotten about your considerable expertise with this sort of thing until I remembered what your handle stands for.
This is what the existing pool deck looks like. This was in place when we bought the house 3 years ago. It is likely 10years old now (same age as the house).
I am leaning somewhat towards the stone overlaid on a concrete slab. The difference in price is quite a bit - ~$19/sf for stone vs. ~$11/sf for stamped concrete. The electrical work, sink plumbing and outdoor kitchen stuff will be extra. I am not planning on installing a refrigerator. I will be interviewing potential contractors over the next few days and getting estimates.
My thoughts have been that stamped concrete may initially be cheaper but in a few years may come close to the cost of a stone overlaid patio when the cost of restaining or refinishing every few years is factored in? The concrete guy I spoke with tried to talk me out of integral color, but I don't think I agree with him. I meet with him tomorrow so he can give me a better estimate after seeing the site. Could you explain what you mean by "score it tight, like 30" centers"? I will also be meeting with 2 landscapers to discuss the stone option.
I was also thinking of having a brick paver border around the patio, as a visual break between the pool deck and the new surface. Either laid sort of end to end vs. perpendicular to the edge of the patio.
In terms of lighting, the trees already have low voltage lights, so the only electrical work I need ( I think) is task lighting for cooking. A floodlight on the side of the house used to light up that side of the yard at night, so I will try and repurpose that light for the patio.
For cabinetry, I saw these at costco.com (manufactured by Bull Outdoor products, $379 for the first one, $209 for the second image):
A fire extinguisher is a must. My cookers will be mobile i.e. not fixed ( 2 BGE's, Performer, drum) so I have flexibility in terms of positioning. You bring up a good point about not annoying the neighbors. Still working on figuring out all the little details (paper towel holders, etc).
Thank you again for your tips, and sorry for all the queries. Would it be a terrible imposition if I PM'ed you or emailed you?