My Recipe Box

Behind the Kitchen Door: Melissa Clark's Family Kitchen

Video Length: 6:45
Produced by: Robyn Doyon-Aitken; Text, floor plan, and photos by Charles Miller, except where noted

Text by Charles Miller

Question: What do corn muffins, hummus, and honey lemonade have in common? Answer: Food writer Melissa Clark's 4-year-old daughter, Dahlia, can teach you how to make all of them. That's because Melissa, Dahlia, and Melissa's husband, Daniel, love to cook and eat together in their renovated Brooklyn kitchen, which was designed with Melissa's job and her family's favorite activity in mind.

Melissa is a food industry veteran, with stints as a restaurant cook and a caterer, but she's most well known for her New York Times column, A Good Appetite, and the long list of cookbooks to her name (34 to date), many written with New York City's most celebrated chefs.

So, about four years ago, when Melissa and Daniel decided to embark on two ambitious domestic "projects" at once, to have their first child and remodel their cluttered, outdated brownstone kitchen, it seemed like a recipe for indigestion. But both the kitchen and daughter Dahlia are all that they hoped for.

In this Behind the Kitchen Door tour, Melissa shares her space and details the design elements that make her kitchen a constantly-inspiring, well-organized hub where work and family marry beautifully.

Giveaway

Leave a coment on Melissa's Must-Have Kitchenware Giveaway Post for your chance to win Melissa's (and Dahlia's!) favorite kitchen items worth more than $480, including a Breville blender and a pair of sweet handmade mugs.

posted in: Behind the Kitchen Door, Melissa Clark
Comments (35)

Bearwoo writes: Quite a beautiful kitchen! Everything is just perfect without pretentious. Thank you for letting have a look at your well designed kitchen. Posted: 1:18 am on May 8th

KDFA writes: Beautiful, inspirational design! And now, I am off to Ikea, in search of that cool fold up dish rack. In the past ten years, more and more talented designers are taking up the task of designing kitchen nd home items that support both function and aesthetics. What a lovely boon to us consumers and home cooks!
Thanks for sharing... Posted: 1:22 pm on May 7th

germa writes: Love your kitchen-wish I could duplicate it in my 5th wheel RV. Having the right tools makes cooking and baking a real joy. Posted: 11:58 am on May 7th

iminthekitchen writes: Since I spend so much time in the kitchen I love Melissa's kitchen and her utensils. Almost envious. Thanks for sharing so much with us. Posted: 10:56 am on May 7th

Cope71 writes: Oh how I enjoyed watching the tour of your kitchen. I so loved everything in it. Especially your pullout pantry. I dream of having one in my kitchen. I love to cook and bake all the time, so winning this contest would be so exciting!! Posted: 9:15 am on May 7th

woodsyguy81 writes: That's one nice looking kitchen! (even the "old" one was nice!) There's a few features that I'd like to implement in our next house and kitchen, especially the pull out pantry and the farmhouse-style kitchen sink. Very well thought-out. Posted: 8:45 am on May 7th

Nancyrvon writes: Beautiful! Posted: 8:13 am on May 7th

martuley2003 writes: Wow! This is such a beautiful and organized remodel!! Especially love the pull out drawers in your renovated pantry. That is so clever. Posted: 7:58 am on May 7th

irishdog writes: Lovely kitchen! So beautiful with details well thought out. It is so nice that Melissa enjoys cooking with her daughter (and husband) What a wonderful place to spend time together. This is such a special craft to teach to our children. Posted: 7:01 am on May 7th

lovechocolate62 writes: I love, love, love this kitchen! You've incorporated almost everything I would put in a kitchen: the range hood, marble counter top, an island with storage, the deep sink with the swan-neck faucet, the glass tile backstop, and the crown jewel--the pull out pantry drawers! Fantastic! The arrangement is great, too, and cuts down on the time-consuming back and forth while cooking. Being rather short I would probably opt for cabinets that aren't quite so tall and a microwave at or under counter top level. Great kitchen re-do!
Posted: 5:18 am on May 7th

CarolynG27 writes: I loved the story she told about the marble counter and how the stains remind her of the meals she prepared. Posted: 5:09 am on May 7th

CityGirlinCountry writes: Love this kitchen! Posted: 4:20 am on May 7th

fiamike writes: Melissa, your kitchen reminds me of how much you can do in a fairly limited space. You and David found ways to accommodate so many cool features that are usually only found in much larger kitchens. The pull out pantry drawers were unexpected and very functional. The curve theme is incorporated all through the space. Your surface choices blended wonderfully with the cabinets and tile. I also liked the overarching desire to keep the kitchen light and cheerful. Congrats on a terrific remodel! Posted: 9:06 am on April 30th

MsRita writes: I love the pantry! I wish I had something like that. My kitchen is large but the layout is difficult to navigate especially when two people are in the kitchen. Posted: 5:41 am on April 9th

VYinLA writes: I've always been intrigued by those butter keepers. Do they really work? How long can utter be out without one? Posted: 11:34 pm on April 5th

calgarygirl writes: Melissa's kitchen proves that a workable, organized kitchen does not have to be huge. A beautiful, inspiring place to be. Posted: 10:26 pm on March 19th

selspa writes: lovely kitchen, clearly well thought out and designed Posted: 4:27 pm on March 14th

littleloiee writes: Love Melissa Clark,she makes everything seem doable and I have watched for her articles in the New York Times. Love her hands making pastry or pizza and her rings! And now her renovated kitchen! I am planning a kitchen and have difficulty finding a contractor in the Boston area that has a good taste level such as the one she used. My space will fit a galley kitchen but I would like to know the sources for her cabinets,drying rack,pull out shelves etc.Am going to look for her cookbooks and am going to the bookstore to find them!!!!Lois Posted: 8:41 am on March 14th

mom2mj writes: What a beautiful kitchen! I love all the details you put into it that make it so special. The extra tall cabinets are wonderful. Most kitchens have a space above the cabinet and I never know what to put up there so ends up just being wasted space. I would much prefer to have the extra storage. The pull out pantry shelves are wonderful. I have a walk in pantry but would love to have one of these! It's so much easier to get to the stuff in the very back. What a great spot to store cookbooks too. Thanks for sharing! Posted: 12:57 am on March 14th

NanaElaine writes: What a great kitchen. Love the light cabinets and the drawers.
This inspires me to get to remodeling my own kitchen. Posted: 4:05 pm on March 13th

maresa writes: great ideas, beautiful kitchen. Love the drawers, love the round shapes. Posted: 12:45 pm on March 12th

SandyW writes: A wonderfully well thought-out kitchen, and a charming narration for the video! Making the island mark the cooking/pantry divide in your genius is a very sensible touch. I envy you your Wolf range and hood. Posted: 4:17 pm on March 10th

sfahrbach writes: Super sleek and airy--just beautiful! I'm curious how many square feet the kitchen is? And I love the fold-up dish drying rack! Posted: 2:08 pm on March 6th

bluestocking writes: Thanks for sharing your beautiful kitchen! I have cabinets that stretch to the ceiling as well and, like you, enjoy being able to store lesser used items way up top. I have an attached pantry in our restored 1914 kitchen but I don't have those pull-out drawers- that's something I'm going to look into! Posted: 9:06 am on March 6th

xSoDevine writes: Ah the white marble, the beautiful tiles, the classic sink, handy drying rack, pull out pantry, and real working range hood have me feeling so inspired to a.) redesign my own kitchen b.) get cooking today c.) to make a baby (ha) !
A really gorgeous design, thank you for all of the inspiration.
I am so glad you stuck to it and kept with the marble, it is so natural and classic and I love what you said about the history of cooking over the years. It will only get better and more meaningful with age. Posted: 8:15 am on March 6th

msfroggy writes: I like so many aspects of your kitchen, the lightness, the airiness, the curves, the thought that went into it from the beginning and the fact you adapted, and were able to adapt, the pantry into something that worked even better for your needs. The tallness of the cabinets doesn't bother me much-we plan to add that extra storage space ourselves, but I do wonder about the safety issue-having someone else present may not always be possible. I love the look of the sink and the practicality of the fold-down drying rack. I hope you enjoy your kitchen for many years. Posted: 10:37 pm on March 5th

jamesmarkham writes: I love the pull-out storage for pots and pans and other things of awkward shape and size. The curved island is also great--I may try that in my kitchen! Posted: 3:58 pm on March 5th

GoreMay writes: Why was the stove put in a corner? Posted: 12:21 pm on March 5th

garden_for_good writes: You have a warm, wonderful kitchen that looks delightful to work in. I really like curved cabinets too and used them in a renovation 20 years ago in opposite corners next to doorways (they also store cookbooks but have doors). They make the space feel larger. I like the oval table too-- great solution!

I love your attitude toward living with marble-- to use it and enjoy it. I do the same with a butcher block counter that's perfect for preparing vegetables next to the sink. Those knife cuts remain from years of good meals! Granite, like your marble, has been great on my island around the stovetop for hot pots, pastry rollout, eating counter, and of course neat look and easy care.

I, too, wondered how you reached the upper cabinets, though I saw a ladder on your floor plan drawing-- ladders aren't the easiest or safest things when you're hauling big items up and down. Is that the microwave above the prep area next to the stove? That too seems very high for handling hot dishes. I put my microwave under my island and it has been very convenient, especially when the kids were little and wanted to heat something (without using a gas flame). And at below counter height you can see into the microwave dishes to check on them without stopping the machine, but it's not so low that you have to bend over to use it.

Thanks for sharing your working kitchen with us. It made me look at my kitchen anew and think of possible improvements. Posted: 11:51 am on March 5th

lisasouthbend writes: Like the idea that its not a real big kitchen and she has made such good use of what she has...love the pull out pantry - I really need to organize and make use of my space as well...great ideas here and I would love to try some. Posted: 11:13 am on March 5th

bestkitchen writes: great kitchen..I love the soothing color scheme for a busy cook,very functional island, well-planned pantry and cute dish rack! Thanks for sharing. Posted: 11:01 am on March 5th

jwiley3 writes: You have a wonderfully thought out kitchen, thank you for sharing it with us. There are several ideas I am going to try and incorporate into ours! Posted: 9:47 am on March 5th

TNcooker writes: The fold down drying rack from Ikea is a perfect accessory for our kitchen. What a wonderful find. Posted: 6:30 pm on February 22nd

taffyapple writes: Love your kitchen! And I, too, have my pantry on the other side of my island and it is so very handy for working from both sides! Posted: 12:15 pm on February 22nd

ChestnutCabinCook writes: My goodness, the ceiling level cabinets look sound great but I can't imagine hauling out a ladder every time I need to reach an item - this is no step-stool height. I have a few step-stool height cabinets and even they are a pain. I do agree with installing the best range hood you can afford, one that vents to the outside. It's the best investment I made to my own kitchen renovation a few years ago. Lovely kitchen. Posted: 7:53 pm on February 17th

You must be logged in to post comments. Log in.

Cookbooks, DVDs & More