Sweet Tea & Banana Bread: Our DIY Kitchen Reveal

You have waited long enough. It’s time you saw a completed space in our ‘Homemade Vanilla Home.’ For those of you who are just joining us, my husband and I recently moved from a charming little historic neighborhood in Norman, Oklahoma to military housing in southern Alabama. There are so many things I have enjoyed about this new home and community, but design wise, it’s been a challenge. We are renting, which means when Uncle Sam calls us to a new location, we need to be able to reset this house just the way we found it (hence the challenge)!

A few months and multiple projects later, and the kitchen is complete. Here are a couple BEFORE & AFTER pictures.

COFFEE BAR: Let’s talk about the coffee bar. Yes, this little countertop space is one of the most used spaces in our home. I wanted it to be easily accessible and user friendly for whomever might want to brew a tasty espresso beverage.

I decided to take the doors off the upper cabinets to display our many mugs. Now when you walk into the kitchen there is no hesitation to grab a mug that speaks to ya and pour yourself a warm drink!

LIGHTING: Our kitchen window brings in a TON of natural light, so much so that I didn’t want blinds to stand in the way (not to mention I’m not fond of the look of blinds). I had this charming white, linen curtain custom made to frame our large window. The blinds are still there, but fully drawn to invite in much sunshine.

Succulents grow well in this sunny window and foliage from the flower box outside can be seen peeking above the windowsill. Something about it makes me want to open up the window and yell “Bonjour!”

OPEN SHELVING: What is a southern kitchen without open shelving!? In this room I felt the wood cabinets were dominating an otherwise light space, so I took the door off the corner cabinet. This not only helped break up the golden wood to reveal our white wedding dishes, it also allows guests to know where things are and feel encouraged to help themselves. Our hospitality style is “make yourself at home,” therefore, open shelving is a must in my kitchen.

BACKSPLASH: The peel and stick, whitewashed brick backsplash also helped transform and personalize this space. It was easy to apply, and it is heat and water/stain resistant. The best part about these modifications is they can easily be undone when it comes time to leave.

CALENDAR: One of my husband’s requests was some sort of calendar or organizational system for us to keep track of his ever-changing schedule. For this, I turned a piece of scrap wood into an oversized chalkboard. This extra large chalkboard calendar serves as a quick snapshot of the week at hand and a reminder of individual as well as family commitments. A small wooden shelf holds chalk pens for updating, and when the week is done a damp cloth wipes the notes away.

farmhouse 'Market Fresh' sign

Market Fresh Sign: This is one of my favorite elements in the kitchen. I had been looking for a large distressed sign but nothing fit the bill, nor did it fit within the budget. One of my trusty Etsy suppliers made this custom vinyl stencil and I made the sign myself. Pretty proud of this product! Are you interested in having a similar sign for your home? Click the contact me button below and let me know what you are dreaming up.

PANTRY: Another highly trafficked space in our home is the walkway from living room to garage door. In those 5 paces we access our pantry, laundry room, Buddy’s food, microwave, mudroom shoes, and Buddy’s leash for our morning walks. Needless to say this small space is packed with functionality.

This custom headboard bench is a convenient spot to drop a flight bag or backpack and the perfect place to sit and put on shoes. One of my kitchen wish list items was to swap out the pantry door. The original door was fine, and many might see this as unnecessary, but the old glass panes and vintage door knob add so much more character (I couldn’t resist)!

The final touches in the kitchen I would consider to be the wood top bar stools and vintage industrial light. Adding bar stools to the overhang of the island opened up additional seating (my husband enjoys breakfast here in the morning), and swapping out the light fixture was the cherry on top. The generic silver light fixture just wasn’t cutting it so I bought this white metal fixture at an antique mall, replaced the light kit, and had my handyman hang it up! All the boxes are checked, both in terms of functionality and design!

Now this kitchen looks (and hopefully smells) like SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY – where banana bread is always in the oven and iced tea is in the fridge. Pull up a seat.

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