Kitchen makeover helps recall the farmhouse of her childhood.
By Barb Garrett
Jacksonville, North Carolina
Christmas can’t come fast enough for me. At Thanksgiving, my husband jokes I’m so eager to start my week of decorating frenzy that I clear people’s plates before they even finish eating!
Bill and I traveled all over the world before he retired from the Marine Corps and we returned to North Carolina, where I was born and raised. Having spent so many holidays far away from relatives, it was -really important to me to celebrate my country roots and family traditions at Christmastime.
That’s reflected in holiday decor throughout our home, which is primarily traditional. But in the kitchen, I wanted to evoke memories of cooking with my mother in our farmhouse, so I sought a more country feel.
The basic structure was fine, although we doubled the size of the island and topped it with black granite—the perfect place to set out party appetizers.
The oak cabinets, though, were another story. Painted white and with every inch covered in a bad crackle finish, they were just plain ugly; Bill said I wasn’t going to be happy until I painted them red. I mixed and mixed some sienna and cherry paint until I got the shade I wanted. I really like the look against the creamy color of the walls.
Faux Brick Backsplash
To make the red pop, we replaced the backsplashes and the ends of the island with textured sheet paneling from Lowe’s. Painted white, it looks amazingly like real brick, but for less than $100!
The hand-hammered copper farmhouse sink, ordered online from Mexico, was a splurge, but we felt comfortable with it since we’d saved so much by painting the cabinets. People are really drawn to it. (Did you know that copper is naturally antimicrobial?)
The counters on both sides of the island are oak to offset the island’s black granite. Though I chose the oak primarily for its warm look, its reasonable price was a welcome bonus.
It’s acquired a lovely patina since we installed it. People ask me how wood can work as a countertop—but marine base sealant, the kind used on boats, makes the oak hardier than you might think. Of course we don’t set hot pots right on it.
Over my cupboards, the green Bordallo Pinheiro plates and platters , each showing a different farm animal, aren’t Christmas decorations. Like the country things I’ve collected everywhere we’ve lived, they say “home” to me.
I plant a little of my Southern roots in all my decorating and use natural materials in floral arrangements and table-scapes. If it doesn’t walk, it gets covered in garland! And I so enjoy sewing window treatments and accents.
When we lived in Colorado, I owned a home staging and home styling business. Now I co-own a real estate firm. But I indulge some of my creative urges with my just-for-fun seasonal blog, The Everyday Home and share projects there as time allows. [Editor's Note: Barb has redone her kitchen since this story was published.]
I’m looking forward to my annual open house. It’s the kind of Christmas celebration, bursting with family and friends, that we dreamed of for so many years, and it’s all centered right in our kitchen.
Photos by Harry Taylor Photography