House of Hipsters’ Kyla Herbes Talks Family Recipes, Foley Forks & Junk Drawers, For the Love of a Kitchen

6 mins read

Every home has a kitchen. Some kitchens are small & cozy while others are grand in features & size. Some kitchens are cooked in daily, and other kitchens are more often used to plate up take-out. Whether you’re a top chef or a takeout pro, we know one thing remains the same, the kitchen is more than just a room in the house. It’s the place where families gather and are nourished, in more ways than one. It’s the HEART of a home.

Lauren Byrnjelsen

That’s why we’re excited to introduce a new contributor here at Barrington resident and owner of One Life Kitchen, Lauren Byrnjelsen, will be introducing us to Barrington area homeowners through her series, For the Love of a Kitchen. Find out what real kitchen living looks like in our community, including everything from favorite kitchen gadgets & décor, to cooking & gatherings to the sweet memories & conversations that take place in this magical room. We invite you to join us as we connect with others through their kitchen.

Perhaps along the way you will learn a new kitchen tip, a new recipe, make a new friend and, who knows, you might even discover what’s in your neighbor’s junk drawer! We can’t wait to explore our community’s family kitchens in all their real-life glory.

In the Kitchen with Kyla Herbes

by Lauren Byrnjelsen – Owner, One Life Kitchen

Kyla Herbes lives in North Barrington with her husband, Thorsten and 2 children, Cooper and Zoe. After Zoe was born, Kyla began writing House Of Hipsters and, what started out as an under-the-radar hobby, morphed into an award winning home decor blog.

About 4 years ago, she parted ways with her Creative Director position at a boutique advertising agency in the city and took a giant leap of faith into full-time bloggery life. Since switching gears, HOH was named Best Written Blog at the Amara Interior Blog Awards, and Kyla was named a Better Homes and Garden Style Maker 3 years in a row. Most recently, her kitchen renovation was featured in House Beautiful and she signed with the talent agency Jabber Haus.

I met Kyla a number years back when she became my neighbor. Since then, our family moved into Barrington Village, but our friendship has never faded. She is someone worth knowing so please grab yourself a cup of coffee or glass of wine and settle in for a read as we share our kitchen living conversation with you all.

Lauren: On an average day, how much time do you spend in your kitchen?

Kyla: Oh boy, there’s a lot of in and out, but I’m gonna guess it’s 4 plus hours.

Lauren: Are we more likely to find you in the kitchen drinking a coffee at sunrise or drinking a cocktail with the moon?

Kyla: Although I’m a night owl, I’m going to say coffee with the sunrise. After I drop the kids at school, I like to return home and spend some time with Thorsten chatting about what our day looks like and sipping coffee.

Lauren: Kitchen color palette?

Kyla: My kitchen is very neutral. With its white cabinets, gray floors and brown accents, but even though it’s neutral it’s not bland.

Lauren: Favorite feature of your kitchen?

Kyla: Oh this is difficult! I’ve waxed poetic about the island and the Buster + Punch hardware, but I’m obsessed with the lighting. It really adds that extra wow factor. Both chandeliers are from Troy Lighting by Hudson Valley Lighting. I also love the black monotone art made for me by my friend Kelly Caldwell. His work is extraordinary, and as an artist, he’s starting to blow up. One of his paintings was recently placed in a CB2 photoshoot, and designers have been trying to track the artist ever since. This artwork sitting behind Jeremiah Brent was overnighted for the shoot, and it couldn’t be more perfect.

Lauren: Do you have any heirloom/sentimental kitchen item(s)?

Kyla: When I bake childhood desserts, I don’t use a mixer. My mom and grandmother both used a Foley fork. I found mine at the flea market.

Lauren: What do you keep in your kitchen junk drawer?

Kyla: This might be easier to answer by telling you what I do not keep in my kitchen junk drawer, LOL. We call Thorsten the chucker. If it’s on the counter, he chucks it in a drawer. You’ll find anything from stamps to a rogue scrunchie to stickers to pens (be careful not to grab the trick pen that zaps you though), a screwdriver, a sharpie, rubber bands, paper clips, and a banana shaped squirt gun.

Lauren: Are you a planned or impromptu cook?

Kyla: Planned meals are always best for us…much healthier choices.

Lauren: Do you grocery shop in person or drive-up pick up?

Kyla: In person. When ordering online, I always seem to get 2 bananas instead of 2 lbs.

Lauren: I seem to never leave the grocery store without buying …?

Kyla: Fresh bread…Thorsten is from Germany, so we can never have enough fresh bread in the house.

Lauren: Sugar or Salt Snacks?

Kyla: Much to my kids’ dismay, there’s not a lot of junk food in the house; however, if there are Cheetos hiding in the pantry, they’re mine.

Lauren: What are you listening to while cooking?

Kyla: If I’m by myself, Anderson.Paak or Jungle. If I’m with Thorsten and the kids, the Pandora Yacht Rock station.

Lauren: Cooking tip from your mom or grandma?

Kyla: Always add extra vanilla extract.

Lauren: Go-to source for recipe ideas?

Kyla: Jaime Oliver’s 5 Ingredient Cookbook or Pinterest.

Lauren: Most requested family dinner meal?

Kyla: Tacos

Lauren: If you are not cooking in your kitchen, where are you most likely eating?

Kyla: Pre-kids, this would be dining in the city at Bavette’s followed by a drink at Violet Hour. However, we don’t have family close by, so we tend to stick around the Barrington area. We’re big fans of D&J Bistro, Franco’s Pescheria, Sushi Kushi 4U, but if we have a babysitter, we’ll head over to Geneva to grab tacos at Bien Trucha.

Lauren: A recent dinner table conversation went like this…

Kyla: If a giraffe were to wear a tie, would it be at the top of his neck or the bottom? That conversation morphed into if dogs wore pants, would the pants be worn on all four legs or just the hind legs?

Lauren: Prefer to be a hostess or a guest?

Kyla: Hostess for sure! I love cooking appetizers and shaking up fun cocktails.

Lauren: A perfect dinner experience would include ….

Kyla: All I’d ask for is good food and good conversation with a deliciously strong cocktail and a car service to drive me home.

Lauren: What is one of your fondest kitchen memories?

Kyla: While cooking the Thanksgiving meal, we told the kids that Thorsten had put a live turkey in the basement. It was Zoe’s turn to hit the turkey over the head with her weapon of choice. She chose a wooden spoon but quickly changed her mind, got scared, and started to cry. Proud parenting moment there.

Lauren: Do you have a favorite family recipe?

Kyla: When I’m searching for comfort food, my mom’s Vegetable Cheese Chowder recipe is just what the doctor ordered — thick and hearty with plenty of cheese. Enjoy!



  • 3 Tbsp. of butter
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup shredded yellow onion
  • 2 – 10-3/4 oz. cans Cream of Potato Soup
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock (or broth)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2-4 drops of Tabasco
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 3 cups shredded cheese
  • Feel free to add corn, cauliflower, broccoli, and cubed potatoes if desired.


SAUTE: In a large pot (I like to break out my large Le Creuset dutch oven for this recipe), melt butter and saute carrots, onions, and celery until tender.

SIMMER: Add in the remaining ingredients except for the cheese and condensed milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. (If you’re adding corn, potatoes, cauliflower and/or broccoli, now would be the time.) Let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The veggies should be fully cooked.

COMBINE: Add the cheese and milk slowly. Stir until the cheese is fully melted. Do not boil. Your delicious vegetable cheese chowder is ready to be enjoyed!

If you’d like to whip up a few more of my childhood favorite recipes, try Grandma Pearls Zucchini Bread or Stuffed Shells in Meat Sauce.

Thank you, Kyla, for sharing your kitchen, tips and recipe with us. Stay tuned for more Barrington kitchen tours right here at In the meantime, if you’d like to book an event for your family or friends, we hope you’ll visit us at Follow our latest blog posts (from my own kitchen to yours) at


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