“WE’RE MAKING SCOTCHEROOS, PEEPS!” Jessie Sheehan is balancing a Pyrex bowl of puffed rice cereal on her head and grinning, a wall of buttery yellow shaker cabinetry just visible behind her. Measuring spoons clang and the video zips along, ingredients piling into the bowl. The self-proclaimed “queen of easy-peasy sweets,” Sheehan built a career authoring cookbooks and developing recipes before, while quarantined earlier this year, parlaying her buoyant personality to the social media du jour: TikTok. More than 200,000 fans now regularly tune in to see what wild desserts she’s whipping up in her home kitchen.
The backdrop to those videos—two elegant walls of cabinetry drenched in Farrow & Ball’s Babouche, a warm buttercup—is at once warm and playful, an apt backdrop to Sheehan’s sunny disposition.
HOW TO CHOOSE A YELLOW PAINT: “Any shade of yellow is inherently cheerful, and while yellow can be uplifting, it can also be powerful,” Hendricks explains. “It’s important to consider the natural light and size of the room: Typically, a small room can handle a bold yellow and larger, sunny rooms would take a softer, buttery yellow. In the case of this kitchen, its paired down simplicity allowed for the shade of paint to become a key feature. We intentionally went for a bold impact, to compete with the bold monolithic soapstone sink and chunky industrial lights.”
That was intentional, says Heide Hendricks, who with her husband Rafe Churchill runs Hendricks Churchill, the Connecticut-based firm recruited to design this home for Sheehan and her family nearly a decade ago. “We had three points of inspiration for the home,” Hendricks explains. “The personality of the client—high energy. The exterior color was inspired by all the wildflowers in the field. And we fell in love with the contrast trim at Shaker Villages.”
“My mom’s kitchen growing up—she died of cancer—had a yellow kitchen,” Sheehan recalls. “It held warm and sunny memories for me.” And really, the room emanates light, thanks to a whole row of north-facing windows. This exposure, too, was intentional: For two years after purchasing the property, Sheehan and her family, including two then-school-aged kids, camped out in a parked Airstream whenever they visited—just to be sure the final house design was perfectly positioned.
“They wanted the kitchen to be pared down and simple,” says Churchill. “They wanted the interior to be minimal and simple and free of clutter.” So how does a full-time baker and social media star work in a kitchen that doesn’t have any bells and whistles?
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With a very big sink, for starters. At 48 inches long, the soapstone statement piece—a custom Hendricks Churchill design—provides ample room for Sheehan to pile up dishes on one side without prohibiting access to water flow. “It wasn’t really important to me to have a huge sink at the time,” she recalls, “but now that I have one, it’s amazing. I love to be able to clean as I go.” A vintage brass bathtub filler was modified to use as a faucet, lending a dash of extra character to the relatively spare design.
Then there’s the full-sized, freestanding freezer and a complementary fridge on the opposite end of the kitchen. These allow extra room for Jessie to stash her trove of baked goods. (Both, she says, are regularly overflowing.) Since the house is geothermal and carbon neutral, there’s no gas, so the stove is induction and the oven convection. For someone who cooks incessantly, Jessie Sheehan’s kitchen is refreshingly spartan—all the better for letting her personality-filled recipes shine against a warm yellow backdrop on TikTok.
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