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Kitchen of the Week: A Shaker Cook Space in the Catskills (Root Cellar Included)

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Kitchen of the Week: A Shaker Cook Space in the Catskills (Root Cellar Included)

September 29, 2022

Since we first featured Bovina Farm & Fermentory in Upstate New York (see Simple Good Things: 13 Ideas to Steal from a Shaker-Inspired Farm & Fermentory in the Catskills), we’ve returned to the many details that make it sing: hand-stamped and -stenciled walls, Shaker peg rails that wrap around rooms, and simple yellow tapers on the tables.

The farm was designed and built by Upstate natives Elizabeth Starks and Jacob Sackett to be both their own home and an old-fashioned gathering place, with farm dinners, homemade pies, and house brews. “In 2017, we decided that we would build a house in the woods and invite all of you in,” the couple writes on their site. “We hope you’ll take off your coat, join us around the table, and stay awhile.”

Today we’re taking a look at the true heart of the place: the couple’s kitchen in their own quarters. Join us.

Photography by Gentl + Hyers, courtesy of Bovina Farm & Fermentory, except where noted.

the kitchen is in a bright, open space on the second floor, above the dining ar 9
Above: The kitchen is in a bright, open space on the second floor, above the dining area and market, under the rafters. “The cabinets are from deVol’s Shaker range, painted in their Mushroom color,” Elizabeth says. “We found white oak butcher block countertops and left them mostly raw—there is one coat of a natural matte finish from Vermont Natural Coatings.”
“all of our baskets, drying racks, stools, candlesticks, etc., are vinta 10
Above: “All of our baskets, drying racks, stools, candlesticks, etc., are vintage pieces that we found on Etsy or elsewhere online or from Jake’s grandparents’ old farm,” writes Elizabeth. A hanging basket, for example, is a handy place for mail.

The black wall sconces are from High Street Market. “They’re called the Jefferson Double Arm Wall Sconce in Bronze,” Elizabeth adds. “I love that the height of the lamp can be adjusted, so I’m free to pile high stacks of plates, wine glasses, a painting, etc. beneath them.”

elizabeth in the kitchen. 11
Above: Elizabeth in the kitchen.
&#8\2\20;the sink is a villeroy & boch farmhouse sink with devol’ 12
Above: “The sink is a Villeroy & Boch farmhouse sink with deVol’s Brass Mayan Taps. We cut a small piece of marble and fit it under the taps for extra durability in the wet area around the sink and built the shelving ourselves, mixing peg rails with corbels and a plate rack to maximize dish storage.”

As for the faucet? “I love the two taps at the kitchen sink,” Elizabeth says. “I’ll always say yes to any way to add some romance to my everyday, and the hot and cold taps certainly bring a romantic nostalgia to dishwashing. Jake cannot say the same…Suffice to say that the second house we’re building for ourselves on the property will not have separate sink taps.”

“the peg rails were custom made by ed at peg and rail usa,&#8\2\2\1; 13
Above: “The peg rails were custom made by Ed at Peg and Rail USA,” Elizabeth says. “They make an appearance in almost every room of the house for hanging hats, coats, kitchen brushes, bath towels, and even spare chairs,” in true Shaker style.
the couple&#8\2\17;s dining area. 14
Above: The couple’s dining area.
elsewhere on the property, the couple built a duck house and a chicken coop, st 15
Above: Elsewhere on the property, the couple built a duck house and a chicken coop, started an orchard out back with eleven fruit trees, and built a root cellar into a hillside last fall.

“Jake and I built the root cellar a short walk into the woods from where the house sits,” Elizabeth says. “It was always on the wishlist for the homestead as a beautiful storage space for produce as well as beer bottles without taking up room for those items in a pantry or elsewhere in the kitchen. With the mountain terrain up here, it just felt like a given and fit so perfectly into the woody hillside.

“Walking out to the root cellar to grab produce or a jar of something for a farm dinner is another bit of whimsy and romance that adds some joy to my routine. And now the path from the root cellar through the woods leads to a paddock that’s home to our two new donkeys—definitely two of our greatest joys.”

For much more on Bovina Farm + Fermentory—including the public spaces to gather, eat, and drink—see Simple Good Things: 13 Ideas to Steal from a Shaker-Inspired Farm & Fermentory in the Catskills.

And for more places we love Upstate, consider:

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