Food Network host and cookbook author Sarah Copeland’s always evolving kitchen—launchpad for her family and her work—proves that renovations don’t have to be an all-or-nothing affair.
A decade ago, when cookbook author Sarah Copeland and her husband, furniture designer András Gipp, bought a weekend home in a picturesque small town in the Hudson Valley, 90 miles north of New York City, the first order of business was a blitz renovation that transformed the cramped, wood-paneled 1960s galley kitchen into a bright eat-in space where they could cook Saturday night feasts for friends and linger over family breakfasts.
But that was hardly the end of the story—and over the years, the kitchen, like their lives, has continued to grow and change. In 2016, Sarah, András, and their two children, Greta, 10, and Mátyás, six, left their New York City studio behind and decided to make the retreat their full-time residence and the couple’s primary work space. “Since then, the biggest challenge has been figuring out how to balance the breezy weekend vibe with a more functional everyday practicality,” Sarah says.
Indeed, if there’s been one theme to all of their upgrades, it is flexibility. For example, aside from the cabinets, the family’s kitchen contains almost no fixed elements. Even the expansive island—which András crafted from 250-year-old reclaimed lumber from the property’s blacksmith’s barn—was designed to be easily moved during cookbook shoots or filming for Sarah’s new Food Network show, Every Day is Saturday. “Because the kitchen appears so often in my books and on my show, I try to be really intentional about not just making changes in response to trends,” Sarah explains. “Instead of rushing, our approach has been to make incremental updates as our family and our needs change.”
Consider the breakfast nook, a project the couple tackled last year: From the start, the star of the space has been András’s handmade tulip-shaped walnut table topped with Carrara marble, but over time, the corner has evolved to accommodate a mid-century modern bench layered with sheepskins and maple milking stools crafted in the backyard workshop.
Behind the seating, whitewashed brick-patterned peel-and-stick wallpaper is juxtaposed with a rose and gray plaster wall that nods to the “old-world charm” of András’s native Hungary. “There’s something so sparkly and hopeful about this corner now,” Sarah says.
Closer to the work space, a stack of floating ash shelves contrast with the dark butcher block and tie together the kitchen’s new, softer palette of pale woods, pinks, and grays. On display is a stash of András’s pentagonal cutting boards, an assemblage of ceramics by local artists, and an ever-changing assortment of greenery and other goodies, depending on the season and what project Sarah is cooking up for work.
Though subtle, these upgrades add up to a big impact and are proof that not every renovation needs to be an overhaul. In fact, for Sarah and András, the process is ongoing. In 2021, the couple plan to finally remove the chimney wall to make way for a bigger refrigerator—a “phase 3” upgrade that Sarah says is long overdue, especially considering her job.
They also hope to add a Dutch door connecting the kitchen to a crushed-marble patio outside. In summer, that alcove houses a rustic stock tank pool for splashing under twinkling string lights; when the weather gets cooler, it morphs into a spot for nightly fires.
It’s one more place where the couple manage to strike the perfect balance of chic and cozy, pretty and practical. Nestled in the garden, the sturdy cast-iron fire pit is intimate and ideal for the Hungarian tradition of cooking gulyás (goulash) in a bogrács (iron kettle) over an open flame. “We’re an outside family,” says Sarah. “And this is our outside living room.”
By Alia Akkam | Photographs by Dane Tashima