For many years galley-style kitchens have been found on ships and trains, Philadelphia row houses, and in any home with limited space where constrained square footage necessitated an ultra-efficient use of workspace.
Typical galley kitchens feature parallel runs of cabinets with a central corridor between. In recent years, innovations in kitchen design have elevated the galley kitchen to new levels of elegance and functionality. If you have been searching for ways to improve your galley kitchen, read on for our expert advice on how to remodel your space for optimal functionality.More than half of our complete kitchen renovations include a galley concept similar to the open kitchen shown above. More information on this featured project in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia - can be found here.
A drawback of old galley kitchens was the tendency for these spaces to be utility oriented with walls of looming overhead storage, poor task lighting and few windows. This created dark and inefficient work areas, making meal preparation a challenge. One method we employ to improve the light in galley kitchens is to find opportunities to reduce upper cabinets and make more efficient use of the storage options below counters. Moving more cabinet storage to the lower level improves the lines of sight throughout the room, and allows more natural light to flood the space during daylight hours. To replace lost storage, floating shelves present as more open and can be installed above the backsplash for fast access to frequently used glassware, plates, bowls or decorative items.
Reducing crowding by opening walls to adjacent rooms
Another common complaint in galley kitchens is the cramped and crowded feel of the space. This is particularly problematic when there is any kind of a dead-end (a dead end galley kitchen design layout is sometimes referred to as a "U shape"). We do our best to avoid this situation, because it's hard to achieve proper flow in a dead end. There are a number of ways we can solve for this problem, including removing walls to open the space to adjacent areas and widening the pathways to those adjoining rooms. With some design ingenuity and the right design input “open concept” can be achieved in a galley kitchen.
Traffic congestion is a common problem in a galley kitchen. The typical galley was designed for only one person with an occasional second working within the space, leaving no room for family to navigate the area. This traffic congestion can be reduced by opening up the counter-to-counter distance to 42" apart and placing the meal prep triangle in the middle of the kitchen, rather than at the end of the corridor. Adhering to the basic rules of the work triangle (minimum 13 feet, maximum 26 feet total length) opens up options for better flow. Placing these elements at the mid-way point allows for an alternate path - an “escape route” - around the cook to avoid task disruptions. Fine Homebuilding has a helpful article on work triangle theory.
One of the most effective ways to increase storage and workspace is with the addition of a center island. These islands can also be helpful in managing traffic flow throughout the space by creating designated work zones for certain activities along the countertop. The storage beneath can also be used to reduce counter clutter associated with commonly used appliances, including heavy, hard to move appliances like stand mixers. Islands can also be designed to include a microwave drawer, or a beverage refrigerator.
Working with the professional designers from Bellweather Design Build, you will be able to strategically design your galley kitchen to meet the unique needs of your family. No two homes or families are the same. For this reason, cookie cutter kitchen designs are unlikely to meet your needs. To get the optimal results for your investment, hire kitchen design professionals with the tools and expertise to create your ideal galley kitchen.
Ready to get started on your project? Contact Bellweather Design Build today.
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