Galley Kitchen Design – A Blessing or a Curse?

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for all of your kind words and well-wishes! And, especially for all of you Bostonians who’ve reached out privately with THE best information!

Well, I just got off the phone with my attorney. Plus, the inspection was this morning and went well.

So, it’s full steam ahead. The purchase agreement gets signed by Friday.

 

Naturally, the new place is occupying much of my time.

 

Now, I’d love to be in by December, but I’m not sure if that’s possible.

It depends. It depends on how much I can do upfront.

One thing the inspector put in his report is: “The kitchen is dated.”

Yes, we know. And, it’s small. Remember, I recently did a post about small kitchens, so please check it out. And another good post is this one on kitchen pantries.

The reason for that, is not only is the kitchen small; it’s a galley kitchen. And galley kitchens are similar to Butler’s pantries sometimes.

 

However, it’s not the smallest galley kitchen. It measures 11′-7″ in length x 7′-10″ width.

 

So, not counting my little eating area in my current kitchen, it’s really about the same size.

The width is very good. The minimum for a galley kitchen with cabinetry on both sides is 7 feet.
So, having that extra 10″ is very helpful. However, the doorway is not centered, so we have to lose

3 feet on one side. Coincidentally, I have a similar situation in my kitchen in Bronxville.

Galley kitchens are terrific if you are working alone. Otherwise, I find them to be efficient and a lot less walking around. This will be the 5ththe galley kitchen that I’ve lived with.

 

So, let’s look at the current floor plan of this small galley kitchen. And, I’ll go over any other issues or restrictions.

 

galley kitchen boston apartment

One thing I was hoping for is to be able to create a u-shaped galley kitchen. I adore them. But, I don’t think I’ll be able to do that. And, here’s why.

You,, kitchen designers, will probably see it immediately.

It’s the wet wall. The sink and dishwasher have to be on that wall. Or, maybe the sink could go on the back wall. But, then, the dishwasher has to go on the perpendicular wall and would be where the sink is, currently.

 

What’s wrong with that, you ask?

 

Well, my current dishwasher door is either open or closed. So, in order for the dishes to dry completely, I need to leave the door empty. Now, that option to leave it open enough for the dishes to dry could be because it’s a piece of crap dishwasher. I am always crashing into it when the door is available; it is only an inch away from the range!

But, in any case, it’s not a good design to have the dishwasher door perpendicular to the sink, only inches away, in a small galley kitchen.

 

Another option would be to opt for dishwasher drawers.

 

I love those because most of the time it’ll be just me and I can run the dishwasher every day if it’s only half a dishwasher. The Bosch dishwasher drawers that have one taller drawer are super nice and have great reviews. I’m sure there are other terrific brands as well.

However, I don’t see how I can have a u-shaped galley kitchen.

That should be my worst problem in life. haha

 

Still, I think we can do better than what’s there.

 

Also, I would like to do some other alterations to the place that I think will be better for me. One of them is that there are two entrances into the guest bedroom/den. One entrance is off the living room. And the other entrance is not really necessary, and that 4-foot x 5.5-foot space could be used to make two additional closets!

But, I am going to save all of that for Sunday.

 

And, I’m not going to get too specific for the design I have in mind for the galley kitchen.

 

However, I already know that I want it to reflect the rest of the apartment’s style. (please check out Sunday’s post for a photo of the living room.) By the way, when I say, “apartment,” yes it’s a condominium. I feel that condo implies a modern high-rise building. Of course, not all condos are, but I kind of can’t quite get that word out of my mouth when describing an architectural gem built-in 1880. lol

Please note that I once lived in a modern-high-rise condo in the early years of my engagement and marriage.

The only other thing is that I am hoping to create a pantry in a nearby closet.

 

For now, I’d like to share some galley kitchen inspiration. And, while doing so, I’ll interject some thoughts.

 

Wahoo Designs

I love this French bistro shelving idea. And, I also adore the marble subway tile backsplash behind it. Actually, I love everything in this photo. :]

via the kitchn 6 x 16 ft galley kitchen

Philip Mitchell

This one is a bit fancier than I am thinking of; but, close. I like the way they maximized the tight space.

 

galley-kitchen-photo - Cody Guilfoyle via Domino

galley-kitchen-photo – Cody Guilfoyle via Domino

I believe this is by Meg Braff. I love the design and wish to incorporate some of the floor-to-ceiling elements. While I think the color is cool, I want a white kitchen.

 

Were kitchens white in 1880?

Ummm… no way!

1914_kitchen - via archiveprojectThis was taken in 1914. 

 

This article shares some photos from a couple in Houston who worked very hard to re-create an authentic Victorian kitchen.

 

I think it’s probably as close as one can get. But, the real photos I’ve seen show something grittier; at least it’s not full of faux-Victorian curly-cues.

featured-in-gentry-magazine--floor-to-ceiling-cabinets-white-kitchen-danenberg-designI love the drama of these super tall cabinets. I believe my ceiling height is about 10 feet. This was featured in Gentry magazine. However, I don’t have a direct link.

galley-kitchen-tray-ceiling-apple-green-cabinets-difficult-ceilingsI’ve posted this charming galley kitchen before. I won’t do the apple green. But, the feeling is close to what I’m thinking of. I love the soffit that creates a tray ceiling.

 

This is the thing with these old apartments.

 

My new place is in a four-story brownstone. It used to be a single-family home. And now it belongs to five families. So, my living room used to be the formal dining room! What is now the kitchen, I’m not sure what it was. It would be wonderful to see the original floor plan. The building was converted into condos on February 13, 1979.

Interestingly to me, that was my late brother’s 30th birthday, and ten days before I moved to New York.

photo - Jill Slater - via apartment therapy
photo – Jill Slater – via apartment therapy

There are some nice ideas here too. Yes, this is more contemporary. I love the window on the back wall. Wouldn’t it be fun to do a very well-done faux window? It would mean losing at least six inches of space. However, underneath the faux window could be some real storage.

 

Well, I think this is a good place to end for today.

 

What I’m going to do with these posts is use them as scrapbooks of sorts. So, I may add photos to them of my ideas. Or if the topic is different, like say countertop and backsplash combinations, I’ll start a new post as an example.

I’m still on a fireplace mantel kick. And I’ve added some new inspiration photos to that post, as well.

And, for more posts on kitchens go here.

xo,

 

 

PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES!

 

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Thea Jackson - October 14, 2020 - 1:02 AM

    I like the white galley kitchen, my kitchen is a gallery kitchen as well so small i think the design could be better for more room.ReplyCancel

  • Kristen - October 12, 2020 - 4:30 PM

    Hi Laurel, I’m sure you’re overwhelmed with comments. Congratulations on your new home – those mouldings are simply gorgeous! Your posts reminded me of a kitchen in an old House Beautiful, with the tiniest New York kitchen…. 50 square feet! https://www.housebeautiful.com/room-decorating/kitchens/g7/kitchen-otm-new-york-0708/
    I love all the ideas you’ve posted!
    I don’t know if I missed it somewhere but is there a window in the kitchen or not?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 13, 2020 - 12:16 AM

      Thank you, Kristen. I love that kitchen, too and have included it for years. You can see it here.

      No, there’s no window in the kitchen. This is almost always the case in these converted brownstones.ReplyCancel

  • Leslie Stevens - October 12, 2020 - 12:58 PM

    I agree with comments here and in your related blogs that you have plenty of space for a U and the DW, and make the counters continuous, you need more of that. I would forego a faux window, use glass uppers there as creates a similar effect, echoes the LR windows and is a focal point in the sight line from the LR also (you may also want glass uppers in other parts of the kitchen as well). Agree with others that open shelves collect too much dust. And yes go high on the uppers and use crown molding on them. See my post on your Old House Details blog re tying in the kitchen, particularly the flooring, to updating the fireplace with similar materials where the glazed tile and brown tile are now. Also, I recommend a single sink, and something in the 20-some inches+ is plenty wide, will fit oversized pans better than a double sink’s separate sides, and frees up more counter space, and also allows a smaller sink cab, so that you get more usable storage next to it in the boxes for cabs that you put there. I would consider paneling the fridge and DW to match the cabinetry, and possibly using a counter-depth fridge if you have to replace the one that is there, to get things more flush. Also re remarks in one of your posts that you’d paint and do floors before moving in: I think the real eyesores are the kitchen, the fireplace and the stair railing, and the paint and floors look passable enough to move in and do later, even though less convenient. That allocates the $ differently, and gets you faster to living in something more resembling your vision and getting on with your new life and settling in sooner after so much change.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 13, 2020 - 12:32 AM

      Hi Leslie,

      Many great ideas that I totally concur with. However, one thing I learned here, especially regarding the floors is to do them before moving in. It makes a bloody mess. Painting in this case, requires a lot of prep work and it’s the same deal.ReplyCancel

  • Merrilyn - October 12, 2020 - 10:48 AM

    Honed white marble! I second that emotion! I’m a messy, no creative, cook and babied my new marble, until, well, I just DIDN’T and it’s no worse for the wear. Beautiful and light!ReplyCancel

  • Alice - October 11, 2020 - 10:18 PM

    Boston City Archives has old blueprints. They also have Building Inspectors Reports that usually have the floor plan for at least 1 floor. Contact them and they can do a search for you.ReplyCancel

  • Maureen - October 11, 2020 - 6:29 PM

    Hi Laurel,
    I am totally on same page as you.Get this. I own a a Hi-End condo rental in a fancy ski resort. My condo is lovely…rather European antique looking kitchen. The new look here is LA modern…rip out crown molding, plain cabinets, plain furniture, grey walls..still..take all architectural elements out…Cover plank vaulted ceiling..and beams… I refuse, refuse, refuse. So my condo will get rated below top because it looks”dated” as they call it. I constantly update lamps, furnishings, artwork..etc. It’s just interesting to me that this is the “Look”
    Thought you’d like to know

    Hanging on to my classic taste (not old dated)ReplyCancel

  • JoeD - October 11, 2020 - 4:15 PM

    Oh Laurel, I’m a longtime follower and you’re one of my main sources for design advice. But we’re gonna have to disagree about galley kitchens. They have their place in small urban apartments, boats and submarines. Or if you enjoy cooking alone, in a closet. They might also do well in zero gravity where things can float in midair to compensate for the limited workspace. Otherwise they are a grim reminder that one’s station in life is still on the launchpad, either yet to acquire or failed to acquire a normal kitchen with adequate room and a prep table, a place where people can work together or just congregate.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - October 11, 2020 - 10:08 AM

    Congratulations on your new home. I am excited and happy for you. As to the kitchen, I prefer a dead-end kitchen to one designed for through traffic, even if that means a smaller galley style.

    I seem to be the only Bosch DW non-fan here. We had a short-lived pair. We now have our second ASKO; both have had real problems, but I will say that after the first round, they gave us this second new one with a long warranty. I am sure you’ve mentioned this in another post, but pull-out shelves are a must for lowers as they have saved me a lot of time on my knees. Regarding very high cabinets, I just saw a ladder, the rear half of which was shorter and rested on the counter in order to take up less floor space. Best to you.ReplyCancel

  • Heather R - October 10, 2020 - 10:41 PM

    I’m so excited for you and your new home and am thrilled that you’ve invited us along for the ride! Such fun! Congratulations!ReplyCancel

  • Judy - October 10, 2020 - 7:33 PM

    So happy to hear everything is progressing nicely towards the purchase of your new home. I know you will have fun and some work getting it just the way you want.
    I have to agree with another comment that mentioned taking out the pocket door and pocket wall to the kitchen. Use a finished panel on the side of the fridge where the pocket door wall is now. After taking that wall and door out, I believe you’d have room to extend the lower cabinets and counter where the sink is now. Just a thought.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 10, 2020 - 9:17 PM

      Hi Judy,

      While that’s a good idea, the situation renders taking that wall out or moving it over, impossible. Or at least, fixing one problem, but making a worse one and at a big expense. To explain, briefly, there are two pocket doors as that is a double doorway and the opposing wall on the other side matches the wall you’re suggesting should be removed. It would destroy the incredible symmetry and architectural integrity. But, I’ll be talking about that more in just a bit.ReplyCancel

  • cyd - October 10, 2020 - 7:13 PM

    WE all work differently and have different needs so only you know what’s essential for you. I LOVE counter space so extending the counter from side to side (making a U shape) would be essential to me. You could simply have counter and no cabinets, thus keeping good access into the cabinets on left and right; no blind cabinet spots. Or have quite shallow cabinets so that you can still access your end spots easily. If it was me, I’d have a shallow cabinet and counter on the bottom and some shallow glass shelves or a mirror on the top. So anxious to see what you decide that will make it perfect for you and beautiful besides.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 10, 2020 - 9:20 PM

      Hi Cyd,

      Oh, I’m definitely going to do a U-shape and for many reasons, too. The issue is that there are four elements that require a depth of two feet. The fridge, range, dishwasher, and sink. However, the sink and dishwasher can only go on the back wall or the left wall.ReplyCancel

  • Pamela - October 8, 2020 - 12:46 PM

    Galley kitchens? I grew up on houseboats, that’s what we lived with (only smaller!) Boats have an advantage that, depending on your construction, you may be able to copy. Under the floor. Just a little storage area about 18 in deep, 24 in w & l, but we packed a lot of stuff in there.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 10, 2020 - 9:22 PM

      Hi Pamela,

      Don’t think I’d be able to do that. This is a condo, an old brownstone that I share with 4 other people. I don’t have a shortage of storage spaces, just an off-center doorway making using all of the available space, not possible. Still, yes, there are much smaller kitchens than this one.ReplyCancel

  • Karen W - October 8, 2020 - 11:50 AM

    Love your adventure and your new home looks like something out of a movie! Would a faux window also be a window from with frosted glass which lights softly from behind? Too cheesy?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 10, 2020 - 9:24 PM

      Yes, to the frosted glass. And no, if it were a real window and properly lit, from behind, I think it could be quite beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Christine - October 8, 2020 - 11:39 AM

    Is there any way that you can enlarge the doorway opening to the kitchen, or eliminate that wall? A built-in refrigerator with cabinet panels would look beautiful. Floor to ceiling cabinets are striking, but I prefer not to have glass doors or open shelving because in a small kitchen you need storage and an uncluttered look. I’m envious that you are making this “condo” your own. How much fun to design your own space.ReplyCancel

  • Carol - October 8, 2020 - 11:04 AM

    So love your new apartment! The architectural elements are gorgeous. Addressing the short wall in the kitchen, why not hang a large mirror? Ballard Designs sells a large palladian style that would look like a window, suit your architecture and add the illusion of more space. I’m sure whatever you decide will end up being fabulous!ReplyCancel

  • Mary E - October 8, 2020 - 10:25 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    Congratulations on the progress being made on your next home. I don’t know how you’re sleeping. Your mind must be swirling!
    I’m enjoying reading all the comments & suggestions your readers are leaving. You have a helpful audience.
    I’m very jealous of your purchase. I think about having my own place & fixing it up every day. But divorces are expensive so I’m staying put.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 10, 2020 - 9:28 PM

      Well, Mary, I’m jealous of the fact that you have a lovely husband. My consolation is that I’ll get to snuggle up with my new kitchen and believe me, he’s going to be forking HOT!!! hahaReplyCancel

  • Pamela Dunn - October 8, 2020 - 9:24 AM

    How exciting for you and how much fun to take time and make it your own!
    FYI: I love my Fisher Paykel double dishwasher (cabinet covered). Now that it is just my husband and I, one level is perfect for everyday and then every weekend when the family comes for dinner, we run them both!
    I have had the dishwashers for 15 years and never had an issue.ReplyCancel

  • JENNIFER L JOHNSON - October 7, 2020 - 11:35 PM

    Lovely. I second the induction cooktop. Super fast boiling water, steady temps, highest energy efficiency. You can even set a timer that will automatically turn off your burner at a certain time for each individual burner so you don’t forget to turn them off if you get distracted. Mine was Thermador but many brands offer them.ReplyCancel

  • Beth Webb - October 7, 2020 - 10:30 PM

    Laurel, I look forward to every one of your posts and like reading everyone’s comments. Congratulations on your new home in Boston! I LOVE my Bosch dishwasher with 3rd rack–that’s my tip for you. Whatever you do, maximize your countertop area and storage space. A small galley kitchen will be a work room, not an entertaining space as all of the young people think kitchens are today!ReplyCancel

  • SM - October 7, 2020 - 10:29 PM

    My kitchen in Back Bay is a galley kitchen just like yours, maybe a bit longer as it is U-shaped, and I absolutely love it, much easier to cook in, less mess and running around! But the cabinets on the wall at the end of the kitchen are very, very shallow, glass door cabinets for fine china display only, no storage really, and some tiny drawers under the counter top. We kept the cabinets as they were custom mahogany and going all the way up to the ceiling (I’m small and actually cannot reach beyond the 2nd shelf in the cabinets, so it’s really all about looks, as I need my husband to get me things, so I generally just keep the topmost shelves mostly empty). We wanted to paint the cabinets white, but I’m glad we didn’t because once the honed white Carrara marble went on (from Louis W. Mian in Charlestown, they also refinished our marble fireplace, they are very good) with the new sink, polished nickel faucet, hardware, it looked very classic and in line with the rest of the apartment. I really recommend Fisher & Paykel drawer dishwasher, we also have their shallow fridge, but foremost do check out the Bertazzoni range, absolutely stunning Italian design, just perfect, I think also perhaps a bit less expensive. All from Yale Appliance, they’re very good and are used to carrying things up and down these narrow stairs. Bertazzoni also has a 24 inch range I think. The honed marble is a bit of a challenge, but if you are careful it works. Would love to show it to you, but I am out of town for a while. Maureen (the realtor) has seen it though.I’ll be needing new curtains though, so if you come across a good company while renovating who does drapes for these tall bay windows please let me know. I very much look forward to see the end result of your renovations. What an exciting project for you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 10, 2020 - 9:36 PM

      We’re going to be neighbors, Sylvia!!! Also, love the Bertazzoni ranges and agree that their design is gorgeous. I am considering the 24″ range, but do have room for a 30″. I’m definitely doing a 24″ counter-depth fridge. And, probably an 18″ dishwasher. Fortunately, I’m on the first floor. They only need to walk up the short flight of wide steps and through the front door. Or, there’s a back way too.ReplyCancel

  • Kristine C. - October 7, 2020 - 10:06 PM

    Congrats on your new house! Just want to say that your layout is nice for 2 people to work in – each having prep space with one at oven and one at sink. And that tray ceiling you showed is gorgeous! Can’t wait to see what brilliant plans you come up with for your new space.ReplyCancel

  • Ani - October 7, 2020 - 9:38 PM

    I second Valerie’s recommendation about Yale appliance. They are excellent plus know how to navigate deliveries to Boston buildings.

    Marble and granite in Westwood is excellent for stone. Though you need your installer first since that person buys the stone on your behalf. Not sure if that’s a done this way in other parts of the country.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 7, 2020 - 9:37 PM

    btw Laurel, Darryl Carter has used the floor to ceiling narrow open shelf idea which I stole from him. Super inexpensive and efficient in holding a lot of stuff. And it doesn’t even have to look gorgeous in a galley kitchen because it is on a side wall that no one will be staring at from a distance.ReplyCancel

  • Sandra Lincoln - October 7, 2020 - 8:47 PM

    What the heck is a faux window, Laurel?ReplyCancel

  • Mary L - October 7, 2020 - 8:42 PM

    My input on your wonderful kitchen potential. In my last kitchen remodel, we chose to have a finished shelf for the microwave since our counter top micro still had a lot of life, intending to replace with a built in model later. After 18 years, we never got a built in micro. It was very convenient. My current house has a built in micro. Both options worked wonderfully because they were at a convenient height. Being in California and experiencing multiple electric shut offs, I missed the microwave more than the range so consider how much of a priority it is.

    I am not sure if you can “borrow” space from the wall at the end of the kitchen but I would put in a 4 door shallow pantry with the top doors mirrored. It would sort of be a window but really useful. Also, you might consider if you would ever really close the pocket door and build in a shallow cabinet on the side of the refrigerator. I had one years ago that was two soup cans deep and it was the best cabinet ever. It could have glass doors to show off your beautiful things in the adjacent room.

    So happy for you. You will have so much fun and so will we as we follow along.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 9:12 PM

      Thanks, I won’t close the pocket door, but that doorway is the only way into the room.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Cunningham - October 7, 2020 - 7:16 PM

    Hi, Laurel: I have remodeled 3 kitchens, all small, all in mid 20th century buildings. Lessons: no open shelving. They gather grease and dust overnight. Glass doors way better. New D/Ws are quiet and dry the dishes. Load until full (and that might be a day or three) and run last thing at night. Dishes will be clean and dry the next morning. Unload while your coffee drips. Bosch full size, or 18 inches wide if you want to save space rather than drawers. In my experience of owning condos in what was built (1946) as a co-op, “apartment” is the usage for co-ops, and condo can mean a flat or a townhouse, or a duplex, but the ownership is “condo”. Don’t do a false window. Artful tile backsplashes would be much more attractive. A seating area for a breakfast bar can be done in the dimensions you show. It would be an L-counter height. Love your blog, have learned many useful design tips. Congratulations on your new home/adventure.

    nancy in Savannah GAReplyCancel

  • Caryn - October 7, 2020 - 6:23 PM

    Pykel makes dishwasher drawers. They are a sponsor of Americas Test Kitchen. My cousin has one and it takes very little space.ReplyCancel

  • MINTO THORSEN - October 7, 2020 - 5:00 PM

    My thoughts, on the fly: I’d continue the counter all the way across short wall, from wet to dry, putting the dishwasher on (or very near) that short wall (w/interior-lit glass uppers.) Seems like that’d be a relatively straight-forward plumbing adjustment & make it a pleasure (well, much better anyway!) to put away dishes, straight overhead. I’d adjust the sink & range so they are not opposite/butt-bumping issues, moving the range up against the frig. This would give you a beautiful long stretch of workspace, from sink to stove. The space allows for counter space to open side of sink-so plenty of room to set down groceries, add comfortable under counter stools, built in bookshelf, articulated sconce or lamp (never too much ambiance, lol.) Cooking, yakking friends, catching a bite or cuppa, jotting recipes, manning a bar, this could totally be a full-service kitchen.’Twer it me, it’d be carrera or light, natural quartzite, elongated, elegant hardware, tons of light, a bit of a cross between photos 1 & 2, after the floorplan. Timeless, gorgeous, very Boston & hugely user-friendly.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 9:18 PM

      yes, to honed white marble!!! I probably didn’t explain things well in the post dishwasher wise. Verrrry tired last night. My Kitchenaid dishwasher from Home Depot is a total piece of shit. But, I like your ideas, Minto!ReplyCancel

  • Valerie - October 7, 2020 - 4:58 PM

    So glad the inspection went well, and things are moving smoothly for you. What a gem-secret garden and all!
    I no longer live in the Boston area, but I cannot say a strong enough YES to Yale appliance, the best people to work with! Their website has articles with the pros and cons of practically every brand & model for every appliance.
    A couple of people have mentioned an induction cooktop; you might consider it. Wolf, Bosc, and a few other brands make a 24″ 3 burner style. If you don’t cook much, that will free up counter space. They are pricey but fast and safe. I thought I’d miss gas, but I’ll never go back!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 9:20 PM

      I used to read the Yale appliance blog and maybe have linked to it somewhere on here.ReplyCancel

  • Becky in Fairborn - October 7, 2020 - 3:05 PM

    Laurel, your new home is so exciting for your readers…I look forward to every post!
    I love the galley syle for a kitchen and it’s something I look for in a home. Out of 13 homes, I had the galley style in 7 of them! You don’t have any corners for items to get shoved way back. The apple green kitchen is very unique even if you don’t use green. If you can do that you will have a great kitchen!ReplyCancel

  • suzanne - October 7, 2020 - 2:06 PM

    If anyone wants to see a serious botox. It’s amazing what a skilled handyman/woman can do.
    Enjoy your exciting new journey Laurel.

    https://manhattan-nest.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/corner1.jpgReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 7, 2020 - 2:01 PM

    I have 2 houses – one has a microwave built into the wall which I HATE – a very expensive big black box. I also hate those microwave drawers – they are super expensive, imo awkward to pull things out of, and take a lot of space. In my weekend house, I put a really cheap microwave inside a small pantry on a shelf and it works great – it is eye level, hidden and doesn’t take away from counter or drawer space.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 9:22 PM

      I love the pantry idea too. I have two designs I’m working and both include a pantry with pull-out shelves.ReplyCancel

  • Liz C. - October 7, 2020 - 1:56 PM

    No one has mentioned a microwave. Do you use one? I do and it was the biggest pain (where to put it) when I designed my kitchen, mainly because I didn’t want it on the counter. So, you have to worry then about the electricity, size etc. I should have got one that is in a drawer but didn’t feel I could afford it at the time.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 7, 2020 - 1:38 PM

    I am a big fan of having a floor to ceiling open shelf (think a foot wide and counter depth) that can house pots/bowls/equipment you don’t use everyday and want to keep off the counters – these hold a lot but don’t take up much space in the kitchen. For utinsils I don’t use everyday, I have a large basket I keep in a pantry and just pull out when I need it. There is very little I need access to on a daily basis, and it is good to separate that from items you use only occasionally and house accordingly.ReplyCancel

  • Brenda Lakin - October 7, 2020 - 1:18 PM

    I absolutely LOVE all of the kitchens you posted. But I wonder just how practical they are. I just moved and now have a much smaller kitchen. As I unpack all my kitchen items, I am getting rid of a lot of items but still I require space for some large items and additional dessert dishes, cooking utensils, etc. I do not cook much anymore but still have trouble getting rid of things that are still useful on occasion. All of those beautiful kitchens did not look like they were great for storage yet alone cooking and prep surfaces. I have to make my kitchen work as I do not have any other choice .ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 9:26 PM

      Absolutely agree that it needs to function well. Of course, in the photos we’re only seeing two walls, usually. And, maybe not even the entire wall.ReplyCancel

  • Sandra - October 7, 2020 - 12:57 PM

    Congratulations! Pullout shelves and lazy susans are a must. An 18″ dishwasher is worth checking out – go to Yale Appliances in Boston – their blog is very informative . Many new dishwashers pop open after the cycle is done… and yes – please consider a gorgeous La Cornue … have a wonderful time with this exciting journey.ReplyCancel

  • Brenda Wale - October 7, 2020 - 12:32 PM

    One space saving idea would be to have a two burner stove, inversion if you like. How often do you use more than two burners even for a dinner party?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 9:30 PM

      So true. But, not so great for resale, I believe. Even though people don’t use them, they think that’s what they need.ReplyCancel

  • George Lennon - October 7, 2020 - 12:27 PM

    I endorse this approach. Lazy Susans work and provide much needed storage with access. Use a Bosch dishwasher with a small top rack. You will not need to leave the door open. We fired our two Miele dishwashers after multiple failures of a valve in both. Get rid of the pocket door and wall for it. You probably never use it anyway. That may free some additional working room. Consider an induction cooktop with storage under and a wall oven combination unit. Good luck!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 9:33 PM

      Sorry, I am not removing that wall! That’s what’s keeping the kitchen from being IN the living room. Can’t stand that trend.ReplyCancel

  • Kristin - October 7, 2020 - 11:42 AM

    I just came here to mention this. We have the Miele version of this and I LOVE it. We actually have two dishwashers and only sprung for it on the main one, and I’m kicking myself for not just upgrading both. The European dishwashers with the pop-open feature are the best – much better drying than our old one with heated dry. And it also means you can put plastic anywhere, as there’s no risk of melting it.ReplyCancel

  • Ramona - October 7, 2020 - 11:41 AM

    My lazy susan cabinets are a godsend. Not only do they store a lot, it is easy to see what is where.ReplyCancel

  • Ramona - October 7, 2020 - 11:39 AM

    Wonderful news! I wish you many happy years in your new/old place. I will be very busy for the next month, so no comments from me unless I just can’t resist.

    I am fascinated by the process you are about to share.

    We only have this life, so do it up the way you wish.

    p.s. Boston is way to cold for me, but ironically, I am stuck in another place which is way too cold for me; however, I love my home so that is a saving grace.ReplyCancel

  • courtney - October 7, 2020 - 11:19 AM

    I’m so happy for you, and beyond excited to follow your adventure. I am entirely a failure at interior design, hence why I follow you, but that secret garden… oh my, the magic I could work there. When you mentioned the secret garden my heart went pitter pat. Every room in my house is near impossible to decorate, architecturly, and it’s a train wreck inside, but my 5 acres of land are heaven. Blessings as you make this big step, and know we are rooting for your success. Love!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 9:35 PM

      Yes, I’m so excited about that because it’ll give me a chance to learn about that, as well.ReplyCancel

  • Linda - October 7, 2020 - 11:17 AM

    I did the math and I think you can do a U shaped kitchen. Start with a 36″ square corner base with lazy susans on the shelves in both corners, you will still have enough room for another cabinet in between them. On the sink wall if we leave 36″ open for the door we still have 103″ to work with, take 36″ off of that for the corner cabinet and you still have 67″ for your dishwasher and sink base. More than enough space. Perhaps use the cabinet on the back wall between the two corner cabinets for a trash pull out.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 9:44 PM

      There are so many options. I’m exploring many. But, thanks for your input, Linda! I have one that I like that does have the sink on the back wall. And, I moved the fridge too. There’s also a six-foot bar/counter.I love that idea because if ever wish to have a buffet, I can. And there are still a lot of cabinets, and a pantry. However, I like my other design too. And, I’ll probably come up with another two or three!ReplyCancel

  • Susan - October 7, 2020 - 11:14 AM

    I had a Bosch bought in 2016. It did not have a heating element but dried dishes very well without needingto open the door. The only water was where it pooled in depressions on top of some dishes. The Samsungs at that time popped the door open an inch at drying time.ReplyCancel

  • Katy - October 7, 2020 - 11:02 AM

    Hey Kathy,

    I’m with you about doing a tall wide storage piece at the end of the kitchen. It could be solid doors from counter height down and then some type of glass fronts from the counter up.

    If you incorporated a good amount of hidden/closed storage you might not even need another pantry for a single person. All of the upper section could be mirrored glass, or maybe just the central section could be glass for the upper segment. The shallow lower section could be good for tall bottles like oil/vinegar or beverages.

    If you bump out the upper segment above the cabinets then you should be able to fit wider things like cereal boxes.

    And, I’m fairly sure I saw it here, I was wondering if you could squeeze in a shallow cabinet on that little bit of blank wall for mops/brooms/spray bottles?

    https://i.imgur.com/7rLWlXv.jpg

    In this sketch I was seeing the lower cabinets that abut the storage wall as open to that side on the inside so you can access all the available space.

    Seems you could maximize the visual width of the space then, maybe with the bistro shelving/subway tile? Go for the tray ceiling? Leave a little spot to hang some art?

    I’m sure whatever Laurel decides on will be lovely and I’m looking forward to enjoying my seat in the peanut gallery.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 9:46 PM

      That’s very sweet of you to draw that, Katy. I will probably have one closet that’s a utility closet and also a place for paper towels and stuff like that.ReplyCancel

  • T - October 7, 2020 - 10:57 AM

    Your new home is going to be beautiful. There is nothing wrong with living in the space for a while and waiting to get a true feel for the space and how you want to live in it. No hurry! Enjoy and take your time. You found a great one.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 9:51 PM

      Well, it would be better for me if I can do it earlier. If not then it’ll have to be later. This is a stretch for me, physically and emotionally. I so wish I had a loving man in my life. Hopefully, that will happen one day soon.ReplyCancel

  • Judy - October 7, 2020 - 10:54 AM

    Bosch and other European manufacturers use an evaporation system because of less energy use. I learned through my research and through my salesperson, that all U S manufacturers will have to go to this system in a few years because of less energy use. I do use the sanitizing cycle and my dishes are the cleanest I have ever seen and my unit is very quiet. Because there isn’t a heating element in the bottom, I can put plastics on lower level and they won’t melt. I can leave the door closed and it will dry MOST items, but a little water may stay on a piece if it has a depression in the base. I simply run my dishwasher 2 hours before going to bed. I open the door slightly just before heading upstairs.ReplyCancel

  • Dianne Otis - October 7, 2020 - 10:54 AM

    Congratulations !

    I have an 18″ Bosch dishwasher and love it – as it’s just the 2 of us we run it daily and it saves a ton of spaceReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 9:53 PM

      six inches. But, sometimes that can make a big difference!ReplyCancel

  • susie - October 7, 2020 - 10:49 AM

    Yay black and white checkboard floor!! I just bought myself the Furlow Gatewood book for Christmas!!ReplyCancel

  • Laura from Birmingham - October 7, 2020 - 10:37 AM

    About your fireplace mantel kick. Guess what? Jean Stoffer, the designer you featured on Mother’s Day, has the exact same mantel in her new (but very old) home. She removed the mirror. Her mantel has two columns on each side making the firebox look properly proportioned. Perhaps yours has been altered? You can see it in the story titled “Madison 5” at the top of her instagram. Thought you would enjoy it. So happy for you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 9:55 PM

      I did find it, but it took me a few. It is quite similar. Very handsome room!ReplyCancel

  • Ellen Witko - October 7, 2020 - 10:36 AM

    I cannot imagine having a dishwasher that doesn’t fully dry the dishes! I have a Jennair dishwasher that’s 5-6 years old that does a great job and is practically silent. I also second Kitchenaid appliances in general.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 9:57 PM

      It does dry them if I turn on that feature. It’s too difficult to explain the issues with that thing. And, it is a kitchenaid. I think something died in it. Never mind. It was horrible the day I got it about 2.5 years ago and still is.ReplyCancel

  • Martha B. - October 7, 2020 - 10:11 AM

    Love the idea of a mirror at the end of the kitchen, it would really expand the feel of the space. Perhaps shallow shelves in front of the mirror, as shown in the green kitchen?ReplyCancel

  • Judy - October 7, 2020 - 10:09 AM

    When you were discussing the dilemma with having to leave your dishwasher open to dry your dishes…I have to do the same with my NEW Bosch also. It has to do with the drying system Bosch uses which is being incorporated in many brands now. They no longer use a heating coil for drying. Unfortunately I think the drawers use the same drying system.ReplyCancel

  • Martha B. - October 7, 2020 - 9:59 AM

    Fisher-Paykel dishwasher
    perhaps?ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - October 7, 2020 - 9:56 AM

    How about a shallow floor-to-ceiling lighted glass-doored cabinet at the far end instead of a faux window? Or cabinet below, glass shelves above?ReplyCancel

  • Shaune - October 7, 2020 - 9:56 AM

    The beautiful white kitchen you featured with the source unknown was done by Canadian designer, Philip Mitchell. You can see it on his web site. My designer used it as inspiration for my small kitchen in Toronto.ReplyCancel

  • April Soncrant - October 7, 2020 - 9:48 AM

    Laurel, Your kitchen is almost the blueprint that mine was 5 years ago. We removed the counter/bar at the end and brought the cupboards all the way down on the stove side, and all the way to the door/opening on the sink side. It’s amazing how much more storage and counter space I gained, and how the space feels more open, less closed in.ReplyCancel

  • Martha B. - October 7, 2020 - 9:46 AM

    My first house had a galley kitchen, also 7’x11′ with three doors, one to the outside, one to the dining room, and one to the hall. It was by far the most efficient kitchen I have ever had! There wasn’t a lot of storage space, but it forced me to pare my utensils and foodstuffs down to the essentials. I am still trying to replicate that efficiency, but with more storage, three houses later! I’m getting ready to build a new home and the kitchen will be small but with a separate storage pantry.ReplyCancel

  • GB - October 7, 2020 - 9:22 AM

    Congratulations on your soon-to-be new home! I love all these pictures, but most of all, the furniture style legs on the apple green cabinets…. there’s something about a smaller space where you can appreciate all the details better. Good luck to you!ReplyCancel

  • Maggie S - October 7, 2020 - 9:21 AM

    I second the Bosch dishwasher -I just got one a few months ago and I use the sanitizing rinse and everything comes out dry!!ReplyCancel

  • Morgana - October 7, 2020 - 9:10 AM

    Your dishwasher is the hardest working appliance in your house…it’s also one of the least expensive even if you spend $2k on it. I always replace the dishwasher in all of my houses (move every 4 years) with a top end appliance. I was impressed by the Kitchenaid DW in my last house, though. Super silent and cleaned well.ReplyCancel

  • DanaNewsom - October 7, 2020 - 9:02 AM

    Laurel, Bosch makes a dishwasher that automatically opens about 3 inches after the cycle is complete so that dishes can air dry completely. You would still have issues with space while loading and unloading the dishes, so I’m not sure if this is a solution to your issue, but I thought I should mention it. All my best to you! I look forward to following your remodeling and decorating adventures.
    DanaReplyCancel

  • Tres McKinney - October 7, 2020 - 9:01 AM

    I am so happy for you! Your inspiration images for a jewel box kitchen are spot on to harmonize with the elegant gracious LR. What about a beautiful large mirror instead of a faux window on the back wall of the kitchen?
    I know you have a lot of expenses with refinishing the floors and prep and painting, but I encourage you to do the kitchen sooner than later if budget permits. I look forward to your sharing this journey with us readers and am cheering you on!ReplyCancel

  • Jackie - October 7, 2020 - 8:51 AM

    Laurel, I love your blog . Boston is great and I wish you a wonderful life there. I have a Fisher Patel drawer dishwasher. Expensive for a dw but excellent. Drying dishes with the door open. Oh my too dated girl . I’d love to see more examples of open shelving for small kitchens. Enjoy these momentsReplyCancel

  • LILLIAN GRANT - October 7, 2020 - 8:47 AM

    I like the gallery photo of the one where you stated {you did not know the source}. We remodeled our kitchen and I love the white. We use subway marble because I like the classic style of subway. (personal preference) The kitchen you showed packs alot of style and makes a grand stmt. A pantry is a must -convert any closet you have to making one!!ReplyCancel

  • Sara Mattes - October 7, 2020 - 8:30 AM

    Welcome to Boston!
    For great inspiration for efficient use of space, visit Gropius House in Lincoln.
    I was introduced to his work when my first job, upon arrival in 1976, was at Design Research.
    While not your style, his use of space is spot on.
    It also is a lovely drive.
    In addition, a visit to Codman House shows you Ogden Codman’s work…Ogden, of Edith Wharton and The Mount fame!
    Contact me privately for all sorts of tips for visiting Lincoln and Concord, esp Lincoln.
    I have been here and active in civic & cultural life for 40+ years.
    Again, welcome to Boston!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 10:02 PM

      Thank you Sara! We studied all of those designers in design school.ReplyCancel

  • Pat - October 7, 2020 - 7:50 AM

    Love the kitchen with the green cabinets.great design and styleReplyCancel

  • Mary - October 7, 2020 - 7:48 AM

    Looking forward to seeing all of your changes in your new condo. But about the dishwasher – I have a wonderful Bosch dishwasher that dries the dishes thoroughly. It heats the rinse water enough to completely dry everything – so you wouldn’t have to leave the door open.ReplyCancel

  • Deb Carey - October 7, 2020 - 7:43 AM

    Hey Laurel, Congratulations and thanks for all your lovely inspiration. Since you won’t be taking your crappy DW with you, your dream kitchen is absolutely within reach. DWs do close tight and dry. Anyway my Bosch does. You even show your solution in the lime green kitchen, a beautiful range at the end! I am in love with my LaCornue cornufe. Williams and Sonoma will deliver too! Since this will be a dream jewel box eliminate the end walls and install those rounded base cabinets so you glide into your jewel box from the living room. Yes, I saw the door placement throws the living off but not if it is so beautiful it becomes part of the living room! Maybe, wild idea here, the cabinets could wrap into the living room? Float them and hang art above. Instant buffet and marrys the spaces. Think over the top wet bar area. Which totally goes with a fabulous living room. Come on Laurel, you can’t give up on your dream! You are our Leader. Go for it!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 10:06 PM

      Well, I need to keep saying this. No kitchens in the living room. It is adjacent which is fine. You can see a little sliver of it through the doorway. That is also fine. But, I have seen hundreds of apartments where it’s like a studio apartment with the kitchen IN the LR. I have one plan which does include a buffet. I do love that idea.ReplyCancel

  • kim - October 7, 2020 - 6:38 AM

    Hi again Laurel – I know you are not into cooking that much, so probably don’t need a ton of storage in there… If you could go without any closed uppers – i.e. no uppers and possibly an open shelf and/or a narrow open floor to ceiling shelf, you could save a ton of money and have a real sense of openness in the space. I just took down all my uppers, a huge improvement, but realize not everyone can do that.ReplyCancel

  • GL - October 7, 2020 - 5:15 AM

    More congratulations are in order here!
    As for the kitchen, the constraints on the sink/dishwasher placement are a pain. It does look as though a faux window would be a good solution, with full-height units on the RH wall and lowers on the LH.
    But all depends on whether you cook or not. The pics you show are of attractive kitchens. But I know I couldn’t cook in any of them! And what shall I say of the faux-French menu in the first photo?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 10:09 PM

      sorry about the faux French menu. The rest is pretty, though, I think. I’m actually okay now with the sink and dishwasher perpendicular to each other. It’s mostly just me. I think there’s enough room. I do love the u-shaped design.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 7, 2020 - 3:46 AM

    Hey Laurel – glad your inspection went well! Cool post. Love the idea of the faux window… I actually think not having the U shape is good because with a U shape you lose storage in the corners. Could you center the doorway to pickup that 3 feet of lost space? That doesn’t seem like a big deal but I guess you have to see the specifics. Look forward to seeing more of the new place as your move happens!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 7, 2020 - 4:07 AM

      No, unfortunately, the doorway has to stay as is. When I show the view from the other direction, you’ll see why. Plus, there’s a pocket door. I’ll most likely never use it, but changing the doorway would throw off the balance from the living room side.ReplyCancel

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