Why I Love Galley Kitchens

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

Back when I was living in Denver, I hosted a party in my home and everyone gravitated to the kitchen.  I had a beautiful open-plan entertaining space that included a bar area, living room, dining room, and a small sitting area, yet everyone wanted to hang out in my tiny galley! One of the bonuses of the galley kitchen is 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.

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

Another reason I love the galley kitchen 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 besides that... who eats those things?}

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

carole radziwill's NYC kitchen/office

Carole Radziwill wanted to turn her galley kitchen into her office when she remodeled her apartment, but it looks like the functionality remained intact.  I’m particularly taken by the mirrored subway tiles and striped floors!

The dark charcoal grey cabinets, light-colored countertops and lighting give this kitchen a sophisticated feel.

The grey-green cabinets and walls create a warm feel in this kitchen and make it feel more spacious.  I also love that the flooring pattern carries all the way through the kitchen into the living room, it makes it feel like one continuous space instead of two distinct ones.

via apartment therapy

The architectural detailing in this kitchen makes it feel very special and unique.  The design has copious amounts of storage in clean-lined glass-front cabinets.

via apartment therapy

This kitchen has a feel of a greenhouse, doesn't it!?  The windows provide an abundance of natural light and the end wall of windows opening out onto a patio make the galley kitchen feel much larger than it is.

The open shelving over the sink makes the kitchen feel more open than traditional cabinets would and gives you a chance to show off your collection of glassware (or whatever you want to show off.)

via bob vila

This teeny-tiny kitchen uses strategically placed wall art on a chalkboard wall to make a statement.

via bob vila

A mirrored backsplash is a great way to visually enlarge the space, plus you can make sure you look your best while working in the kitchen <wink>

via la dolce vita blog

I love the combination of the cabinet color and the creamy marble and the cheeky brass porthole window in the door!

Design :: Mick De Giulio, seen in Traditional Home

The grasscloth wallpaper adds texture, while the patio door allows in an abundance of natural light.  The rug is a welcome departure from the ones you typically see in a kitchen.

Another galley with a greenhouse feel.  This kitchen really brings the outside in between the skylights in the roof and the doors opening out onto a charming patio.

via homedit

Lacquering the cabinets in the same deep blue hue as the walls makes the walls recede and the kitchen seem bigger (for more about decorating with dark walls see this post).

via alamodeus

The gallery wall(s) are an unexpected twist in this small galley kitchen.  The artwork on the doors obscure the storage cabinets.

via remodelista

This East Village apartment in NYC has Belgian bluestone countertops and white oak cabinets with a wire-brushed and hand-rubbed tung oil finish giving it a luxe rustic look.  The large window at one end of the kitchen supplies an abundance of natural light.

The ceiling height window wall makes small space seem airier, while curtains provide privacy in the bedroom.  I love the Edison lamps for a little bit of flair.

design :: project orange

The design is reminiscent of a restaurant kitchen design, down to the stainless steel cart-as-island that can move out of the way when needed.

vie remodelista

This Parisian kitchen makes ingenious use of the shallow space above the radiator, creating shallow open shelving that makes it easy to grab ingredients as you prepare a meal. The polished concrete floors give it a clean, urban-chic feel.

design :: Benedikte Ugland

Ugland refinished ikea cabinets and paired them with beveled subway tiles.  The lighting adds to the urban feeling of the design.

What are your thoughts on the galley kitchen?  Do you prefer a different style layout?  Leave your comments below!