See what’s cooking in Farmhouse Rules host and Holiday Baking Championship judge Nancy Fuller’s Hudson kitchen.
By Jenn Andrlik | Photography by Stefan Radtke
When you walk up to Nancy Fuller’s home in Hudson you are not only greeted by a gorgeous setting, including acres of pristine farmland and a beautiful group of houses and barns dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, but you are also welcomed by one of the nicest TV stars around.
The whole setting is just as you would imagine it from her show: warm and welcoming. Fuller and her husband lovingly restored what was a carriage house and then a garage that was structurally unsound. Ten years ago when they purchased the buildings and property and moved in, they made an addition that looks like it is original to the existing structures.
Inside what was the carriage house is now Fuller’s kitchen, which she designed herself and cooks in not only with her grandchildren but also on her show, Farmhouse Rules.
“We used materials that are conducive to the land,” says Fuller. “I’m a big believer in supporting where you live.” The trees came off her farm or out of Columbia County, the stone was purchased in Ravena, and she had two local men who had worked on the farm build the cupboards so that they don’t look like they came from a manufacturer.
“I love these elements because they represent my surroundings, and I’m a lover of the land, the family institution, the labor, the passion, the tenacity it takes to hold onto these precious components of life that we take for granted,” says Fuller of sourcing items locally and celebrating those who live and work in her community.
“Everything has a story,” she says. “I have chosen everything because of its origin. I love the old shoe-drying racks. I use the bread boards all the time to serve cheese and charcuterie. The little shaker baskets I use for crackers. The cow cups I use for soup. The big scoops I use for popcorn and potato chips. The ceramic bottles are used for flowers because I always have flowers on the table. I collect wooden bowls, and if I’m having a party, especially outside, I use them for corn on the cob and potato salad. I use these items all the time. And all of the crocks are from Hudson; one I even found buried under the garden shed. And I had the hardware and chandeliers made by Ball & Ball Antique Hardware Reproductions in Pennsylvania.”
As you would expect with a professional chef, or just anyone who loves to cook, Fuller’s kitchen is both stylish and functional, but it shows off her personality beautifully. When designing your own kitchen, Fuller suggests incorporating what you love. “Use something that makes you happy and that you enjoy,” she says. “It can be modern or antique, but you should have beautiful objects that you use. It’s what makes you happy to be in that space, whether it be a color, dish towels, tools, or bowls.”
Fuller’s favorite items in her kitchen are not necessarily what you would expect. She loves her custom 45-inch travertine sink, food processor, and canisters that hold spices and baking ingredients. “I struggled for so many years with a tiny conventional sink, so I had this one made,” she says. “I can bathe my grandbabies in it, and I can put sheet pans and big pots in it. I also love my canisters from the 18th century. They are all handblown, and they are so easy to work with. I can see everything that’s in them. I have a friend, the owner of Jenkinstown Antiques, who is an antique dealer, and he found them for me. And everyone needs a food processor. It is your best friend! I do everything in it. You can get rid of a spoon if you have a food processor,” she says with a laugh.
Her favorite things to do in her kitchen are as sweet as the pies and cakes she bakes. “I love to entertain, and I love to teach my grandbabies how to cook,” says Fuller. “I love making pies with the grandchildren because I take them to pick the fruit and they get to put it in a pie shell or three. Someone gets to pour in the sugar and the lemon juice. I’m blessed to have these kids.”
As for her show, what does Fuller like most about doing it? “I love the exposure that it gives me and how I’m able to have a wonderful fanbase and audience,” she says. “I’m able to tell my farming background and my passion about eating seasonally and eating what comes out of the ground. Thank a farmer: They feed the world. Fresh is best unless you are stressed!”
“I’ll never make another pie crust,” Fuller jokes, “because Pillsbury makes a great one.”
You can catch Fuller on Farmhouse Rules and Holiday Baking Championship on Food Network. Check local listings for times.