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Cookbook Author's Kitchen Remodel Means Business

Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Emmy Winning Producer and Writer, Shares Her Highlands Ranch Kitchen/Work Space Remodel Experience

Hola! I'm Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, a Mexican foodie living in Highlands Ranch.

In 2010, I started a food blog, muybuenoblog.com as a hobby. It first began as an online journal to document the journey of writing a cookbook preserving my grandma's old-world northern Mexican recipes and my mom's comforting south of the border home-style dishes. I chose the name "Muy Bueno" for my blog and cookbook as a tribute to my grandma's words.

In 2012, I co-authored and introduced my first cookbook, Muy Bueno, followed by Latin Twist in 2015. My most recent cookbook, Muy Bueno Fiestas, was just released in April 2023.

Over time, my blog has turned into a full-time business, where I share recipes that are close to my heart and inspired from my culture. I also produce lifestyle and cooking videos on YouTube, Instagram, and the occasional TikTok. I work with various brands such as Toyota, Kroger, Lowes, and Land O'Lakes, just to name a few.

My days are quite diverse—developing recipes, styling photoshoots, writing blog posts, filming videos, interviews on podcasts, speaking at events, book signings and cooking demos. I also love to prop shop and travel to Mexico, garden and dance!

Above all, I'm a dedicated mom to two very active kids. My goal is to inspire them about our culture and teach them to cook and have fun in the kitchen. I’m living la vida loca — it’s a lot of work but it’s MUY BUENO and I am so grateful for it all.

We have lived in our home in Highlands Ranch for 18 years. I never thought this would be our forever home, but it is. Our children have grown up here and anytime I started looking around at other homes they didn’t like the idea. They have never wanted to move. 

Rather than trying to find my dream kitchen in another house, it was time to give our home my dream kitchen. 

I finished writing my dream cookbook, so I figured why not celebrate a new year with a dream kitchen! After all, I also needed a break from the craziness of testing cookbook recipes.

For anyone who has wanted to tackle a kitchen remodel it is quite intimidating. There are so many little details and options – it’s very overwhelming (not to mention costly!). There were many years I would look into it, but I could never bite the bullet or pick the style I wanted. 

All I knew was that I was over our all-white/neutral kitchen and I wanted a change. I wanted a kitchen with pops of turquoise and a kitchen that reflected my style. I wanted something Spanish-Mexican, but modern.

I grew up in a pretty humble home in the barrio, and my mom still lives there. We didn't have some of the basic things that often slip our minds. You know, things like a dishwasher, garbage disposal, and ice maker—my mom's kitchen is still without those. Despite its small size, her kitchen is always incredibly tidy and well-organized.

I wanted to replicate that same functionality, but I needed upgrades for our busy lifestyle and my business. I splurged on a larger fridge and range. If I had more space, I'd even consider two dishwashers and a wine fridge.

Once I realized I was ready to bite the bullet and truly ready for a kitchen remodel I hired interior designer Cory Decker. The renderings and drawings she and the cabinet maker, Heather Evans, provided really helped me visualize the space and design.

I had finally decided on the look I wanted, but there were details I wasn’t positive about. Do I want to keep the existing layout? What color and style of cabinets? What appliances? SO MANY CHOICES. Never in a million years would I have had the courage to select black cabinetry without these renderings.

The one thing I knew I wanted was this backsplash – I fell in love with this Spanish home and kitchen and hunted for the backsplash and brass hardware details that made that kitchen so special.

We began demo early January and lived in our home throughout the project. We set up a mini kitchen in our master bedroom. Our kitchen remodel was completed mid-March. It was months in the planning and three months living through the construction, but it is DONE! I still take a double-take when I see it. I can’t believe this dreamy kitchen is ours.

Looking back, I realize how much I truly appreciate being able to afford these material things. It's not like having fancy appliances and upgraded cabinetry makes your food taste any better or creates special memories. I feel like my traditional/modern kitchen has definitely been upgraded, yet it still manages to maintain a warm, cozy, and welcoming vibe.

The updated layout has proven to be a blessing for accommodating film crews and equipment. With the addition of the new hutch and buffet, I'm now able to neatly store all my cherished Mexican props and textiles.

While my kitchen maintains its role as the heart of our home, it has gained a touch of modern functionality, all the while retaining the cherished essence of Mexico that I'm truly thankful for.

About the Author: Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack's blog Muy Bueno is the perfect destination for anyone looking to embrace food, fiestas and family life. Yvette has been featured in several prominent publications and websites, as well as receiving radio and television coverage. Find recipes and stories at MuyBuenoBlog.com or @muybuenocooking.

"Rather than trying to find my dream kitchen in another house, it was time to give our Highlands Ranch home my dream kitchen." 

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