in praise of the galley kitchen

I love my galley kitchen.  My sincere apologies in advance if I offend some of you, but it really is my preferred kitchen layout.  

I recently hosted a party in my home and everyone gravitated to the kitchen.  I have a beautiful open-plan entertaining space that includes a bar area, living room, dining room, and a small sitting area, yet everyone wants to hang out in my tiny galley!  Naturally, the bonus of the galley kitchen is that you can shut it off and divert your guests to the living room/sitting room.

Most of you are probably thinking to yourselves that “duh… that’s why you have an open kitchen, so your guests can talk to you while you are working in the kitchen,” but here comes my biggest point.  I don’t want you in my kitchen.  

If it’s a dinner party {whether I cooked or “ordered-in” extremely well} odds are that my kitchen is an unmitigated disaster.  My primary focus as a hostess is to make sure that my guests are enjoying themselves, not whether or not the take-out container from the moo-shu is properly disposed of, or that the stovetop is wiped down.

 I want to close the doors to the kitchen and behave as a proper hostess, making sure that everyone’s drink is topped off, that there are good conversations going on and that the hors d’ouevres are plentiful (not to mention keeping an eagle eye on the pooch to make sure her tail doesn’t clear the coffee table with one fell swish).

I am not alone.  Marian McEvoy, former editor of Elle Decor and House Beautiful had this to say ::

I do not like an open kitchen. My new one is closed off with a curtain. I don’t want people to watch me. Cooking is very private and cathartic. You’re not there to see me work hard, or freak out if the sauce doesn’t take. Let’s just keep you drinking wine and chatting at the table. I won’t be in the kitchen long. I prepare in advance and have everything in the oven before guests arrive. I just have to pull things out and serve.

In fact, Ms. McEvoy wrote a great piece in praise of the separate kitchen in her column for Domino {RIP}, but as my office is still completely deconstructed, the odds of me finding it are slim to none. {If by chance you have a copy, would you share it with me?  I would be eternally grateful!}

What other benefits are there to the galley kitchen, besides keeping guests out from underfoot?  The layout is a big reason.  Everything is literally at your fingertips, you can’t find a more compact work triangle, my friends.  

Another reason I love it is that you need to be super smart when doing the shopping — buy only what you need because you certainly don’t have room for that Costco sized container of Circus Peanuts {seriously, who eats those things?  Well, I know my Grandfather did, but beside that… who eats those things!?}

Okay.  Stepping off my soap box now.  Please enjoy the below slideshow of some of my favorite galley kitchens! ::


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What’s your favorite style of kitchen layout?  Why?  Do you eat Circus Peanuts too?