Merry Christmas from the new kitchen

December 24, 2021


After spending the last 10 years writing a weekly newspaper column, it seems strange not to write my usual Christmas story. Now that the weight of a deadline has been lifted, I've been able to focus on a few other projects like . . . a Christmas BOOK! Yes! Plans are underway, so we'll see what happens between now and next year. Now that I've put it in writing for you to witness, I'll have to stick to it! 

Before - four years ago.

Other than preparing for my son's upcoming wedding (don't let them tell you the mother of the groom has nothing to do) . . .  I've also spent the last few months living with kitchen construction. Here it is a few years ago before a Christmas party. I hit my head on that microwave almost every day!

And this year. It's basically the same footprint, but everything is rearranged for better storage and to make room for updated appliances. I know 99% of the world loves a white kitchen, but with my brick floors, it just didn't seem right. I adore a house full of color, so I went with my grandmother McKee's green kitchen color from my childhood. 

Click to read: Kitchens and Pantone from my second book and you'll see why I love kitchens so much. 

The copper hood was ordered from a metal artist in Pennsylvania. We didn't get it installed until 1 hour before my husband's birthday party. - Whew! I still had hot rollers in my hair when the first guest arrived! 

Old kitchen, complete with dog bowls. I wish I'd made a special place for them in the new kitchen. 

I love the old door we found for the pantry at Charles Phillips Antiques in Theodore, AL. The textured glass is one long piece that slides in from the top. It came from France. The blue light inside the pantry is from our "coffee station." - How pampered I feel! 

The island top is Acacia  wood, which is what Noah used to build the  ark. It has antibacterial qualities, but alas, I still have to clean it. When my grandmother Harrison asked me, "What would you like to have from my house someday?" The only thing I requested was the cookie jar that is on the shelf. 

"Che casino!" — What a mess!

The white beachy-beadboard was removed from the side of the counter that faces the keeping room (or, the "baton-twirling" room) and replaced with hickory. The marble is honed for a rougher, natural look. We decided to pretend to be European and not worry about scratches and stains. Italians live with their marble for hundreds of years and don't seem too stressed about it. So far, we haven't fallen apart. 

Kitchen tip: Keep your elf in a jar to eliminate shenanigans. 

With COVID, shipping issues, and work-force problems, we were fortunate to have a wonderful contractor who kept things going. Even with this in progress, I hosted company twice, once with 6 people. I had a temporary kitchen set up in the living room with a toaster oven. Gourmet sandwiches, anyone?

The kitchen project was a great distraction from this pandemic/stress/troubled world.  This Christmas, I'm celebrating the beauty of the  gift of Christ during this strange time in history. I hope all of you are well, and thank you for missing my column. It's a joy to hear from you and even though most of us have never met in person, you are all dear to my heart. 

Stay connected for more updates on weddings, books, and the occasional thought I may try out on you first for future story ideas. 

Merry Christmas! 

  • I have the same cookie jar from my grandma! We always got a delicious (homemade, of course) cookie or two from it whenever we’d stop by for a visit.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Did you know you can spot this same cookie jar in Steele Magnolias? I hope you still display yours!

      • I did not know that—I’ll have to look for it next time I watch that movie. And I do proudly display my cookie jar!

        • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

          Good for you! And you can’t ever watch Steele Magnolias too many times!

  • Karyn Tunks says:

    It was such a brave project to take on in the middle of {not} planning a wedding and rehearsal dinner. Kitchen looks beautiful and timeless!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thanks. Nothing like staying busy!

  • Having lived through several kitchen remodels myself, I know how challenging it is and so close to the holidays it must have been extra stressful! It looks fabulous and wow, that is quite a stove! I am sorry I am so late to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I feel like I just got an early Christmas present hearing that you’re writing a Christmas book~ I look forward to hearing your adventures being MOG {Mother of the Groom} Oh how I wish I was blogging those wedding days, I had so many stories I could tell! Best to you for 2022!

  • Julia G Crow says:

    Wishing you a beautiful new year filled with good health, lots of happiness and joy!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thank you Julia. And all good wishes sent to you as well.

  • Oh, Leslie Anne, I know you have to be tickled. It is glorious! That stove alone is a beauty. The pale green is somehow so you. I’m glad the renovation kept you distracted during these chaotic times. Wishing you many joyous gatherings and delicious meals in your new space!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thank Hope. My old wall mounted ovens weren’t accurate – one ran too cool and the other got hotter than the setting, so it’s nice to have one that’s on point. There’s still a kick-plate for the front of it that needs to be installed. – backorder. The story of shipping woes 2021. Happy New Year to you!

  • Ellen Shook says:

    Your new kitchen is quite wonderful! I kept looking for the old door you referenced but I guess it is not shown? I had noticed your column missing the two times I read a Sunday paper, and wondered if you had stopped. I have only seen you on IG because your blog doesn’t come in my email any more, so I thought maybe you had given that up too. So now I am going to catch up! Enjoy your new kitchen — that hood is just beyond.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Hi Ellen, the pantry door is behind the island – only the top 2/3 is showing. It’s beneath the colorful red painting hanging over it and to the right of the tall open shelving. I guess I should include a full photo because it’s really different and pretty. You’ll have to check out the blog post, “The end” to get the story of ending my column. 10 years is a long time to do anything, and I like to shake things up every now and then. Thank you for missing me!

  • The kitchen is just beautiful! I love the last photo where you are sitting and drinking a cup of coffee and it appears the hubby might be making bread. Happy New Year!

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thank you Pam. He’s actually rolling out the dough for a Timpano (From the movie The Big Night). We decided to go Italian this year for Christmas dinner. Non-traditional. I was closely supervising! Happy 2022 to you!

  • The kitchen is beautiful and so reflects your personality!
    Looking forward to reading anything you write, especially wedding prep stories. My younger daughter just got engaged so I will be in wedding prep mode soon.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thank you Leigh. The wedding stage of life is something I don’t think a mom is ever really ready for. Well, if he were 48 years old, I’d be ready! Ha! Happy New Year to you.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thanks, it’s the holiday glow! Merry Christmas to you!

  • The kitchen is gorgeous. I think it fits you to a T!
    Merry Christmas.

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thanks Sandy. So far, we love it!

  • Christine DeBraal says:

    I’m so excited. I love your books and column

    • Leslie Anne Tarabella says:

      Thanks for the excitement. I bounce between that and feeling overwhelmed. I’m sad to think that these days, you fall into the category of readers I don’t ever see! Let’s fix that soon. I’d love to see you sometime.

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