Though the renovation took 17 months, Molly Yeh’s kitchen was a lifetime in the making. Located at the heart of her Minnesota farmhouse, the space is the result of Yeh—a chef, recipe developer, author, and TV host—spending years cooking in, well, much less dreamy spaces.
“When I lived in New York, I had a kitchen the size of a closet—I would whip egg whites on the floor of my bedroom and try not to spill,” laughs Yeh, whose second cookbook, Home Is Where the Eggs Are, is out September 27 from Harper Collins. “Over time I got to know a few kitchens, each one a bit different, and collected tidbits of information to help me design my own. I loved the way my stove faced out in my first kitchen, but didn’t like the way the dishwasher was across the kitchen in my next one. Working in my first professional kitchen, I learned about a speed rack [a cooling shelf system], and thought, Why don’t we use those in home kitchens?”
Around the time Yeh moved to Minnesota, her blog, My Name is Yeh, and Instagram feed—with their pitch-perfect mix of relatable recipes (Tater Tot hotdish!) and sprinkle-laden food styling—went viral, and she found herself with a cooking show: Food Network’s Girl Meets Farm. “Working on her set kitchen allowed Molly to dial in on each area of her new kitchen to ensure it was efficient as possible,” says Brandi Youngmark, the designer Yeh hired in collaboration with Hayley Lukaczyk, her art director on the show, to bring it all to life. The goal? A “jigsaw puzzle” of collected design ideas that “preserved as much of the farmhouse history as possible,” says Youngmark.
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They even found room for a speed rack, where Yeh cools her abundant baked goods. The resulting space, says Yeh, “is at the intersection of functionality and an aesthetic that I felt in my heart would grow with us.” Read on to see how she fit it all together.
1. Outward-Facing Range
The island range was the jumping-off point for kitchen design and is now the nexus for the entire kitchen. “I started with my absolute favorite thing in the world, which is standing at a stove, making a pot of soup, and then in my sight line off in the living room I’m able to see Bernie playing with her princess castle and Ira wiggling on her wiggle pad,” she says of her two children. “To be able to have that outward facing stove was huge for me. And then we built it around that.”
2. Built-in Hutch
Yeh loved the look of open shelving, but not the constant upkeep, so she enlisted local cabinetmaker Mitch Johnson to create a semi-open unit. “It’s a nod to an antique china hutch,” she explains—and one that adds much more patina and character to the space: “I didn’t want it to feel like a sterile environment,” Yeh says. “I wanted it to feel like a kitchen that had been on this farm for generations, even though it was new.”
3. High Wall Oven
A waist-high Viking oven with French doors means no backbreaking bends to whip up cakes and casseroles, two of Yeh’s signature dishes. “A really good friend of mine once said, ‘You should have an oven at waist height because when you’re cooking your Thanksgiving turkey you don’t want to break your back,'” she laughs.
Any spare inches were converted to shelves where Yeh stashes her favorite recipe collections (alongside some kids’ books) in quick reach. “I wanted it to almost feel like a kitchen/library hybrid,” muses Yeh.
5. Double Countertops
Chopping happens on the island’s wood countertop, while dough gets rolled on the cool marble atop the kitchen’s perimeter cabinets. “I wanted to have those two materials that function very differently,” Yeh says. “And I also like that marble material for backgrounds when I’m taking pictures, and so it’s right up against the window.”
6. Organized Junk Drawer
Johnson created this custom chest built right into the cabinetry to corral the contents of a typical junk drawer into individual cubbies. “We refer to this as the glorified, organized junk drawer,” Yeh proclaims.
7. Specialty Zones
While the stove area is the command center, Yeh also designated spaces for coffee and baking. Ingredients for both are stored under the main appliances. (The one exception? Her spices, which are stored away from the stove because—pro tip!—the heat can hinder their shelf lives).
8. Custom Pegboard
An homage to Julia Child, this walnut piece that hangs behind the range is where Yeh shows off her East Fork Pottery mugs. “We feel like this is really the heartbeat of the whole house, because every morning it’s our ritual to come up to our rainbow of mugs and think, ‘what color should I choose today?'” Yeh’s signature sprinkles are stashed in wings behind the pegboard.
9. Pull-Out Everything
Not shown in the photos: an impressive assortment of pull-out drawers right next to the cooktop for easy reach. “One thing that drove me crazy all the time in the original kitchen on the farm house was having to have onions and potatoes and a lot of a lot of non refrigerated produce out on the counter,” says Yeh. “So we built in some basket drawers right near the stove so I can just reach for an onion without moving.” There’s also a pull-out trash bin and hamper for all those dirty dishtowels.
10. Built-in Speed Rack
Feat not: Yeh got her speed rack. Even better for the home kitchen? It’s custom-built to fit under the countertop beside the range in a genius twist of commercial-meets-residential design. Who says you can’t have both?
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Hadley Keller is House Beautiful’s digital director. She oversees all digital content for the brand as well as working on the print magazine. She has covered covering design, interiors, and culture for 10 years in New York. She served as Associate Market Editor, Design Reporter, and News Editor for Architectural Digest and AD PRO before joining House Beautiful. Hadley is a staunch maximalist and vocal opponent of the Open Floor Plan.