1940s Galley Kitchen Update

This cute, little gem of a 1940s cottage had a narrow, double-galley kitchen. Original cabinetry was modest and failing after nearly 80s years of use. The challenge was to re-make the kitchen…only better! Both homeowners like to cook and be in the kitchen together but it is a fairly small space. The refrigerator was placed right at the doorway and of course stuck out, as refrigerators do. The end wall was shallower than standard cabinetry/counter depth so storage there was not great. The corner sink means that anyone standing there is blocking the aisle and the kitchen is also a through-way to the side door and to the basement. We looked at whether expanding the footprint would work but we also wanted to keep the project to a specific budget (and we were doing other remodeling work in the home at the same time). So, how to leverage the space to be as functional as possible?

Here’s a couple “before” pictures and the floorplan showing our proposed demolition work.

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The major moves became: 

  • New window location
  • New refrigerator location
  • Widen the doorway between the kitchen and living/dining area
  • Extend cabinetry into the dining area

We filled in the corner windows and installed a new, wide window toward the middle of the room. This straightened out the sink, allowed us to maximize the storage space at the end wall and bring daylight right to the heart of the kitchen. This also shifted the sightline from a neighbor’s garage to the front lawn and a pretty tree view. The new window orientation also affords more privacy as the corner windows allowed views right into the main living space. 

For the refrigerator, my clients shopped for the best counter-depth refrigerator they could find that would meet their needs. They love the Fisher Paykel model they settled on and it has a great, sleek look.

The big move was to widen the doorway between kitchen and dining area. We played with a few options here for the doorway but decided we liked the look of an archway – it creates a sense of enclosure for the kitchen and helped to preserve some trim and coffer elements in the dining area. We did extend the cabinetry into the archway and fully into the dining area on one side to create a buffet and more storage. 

The kitchen works better, it feels lighter, and more open. An unexpected but, in my opinion, huge plus to this kitchen is how beautiful and calming and amazing it looks from the dining room and living room. It’s just such a pleasure to look into and is inviting in a way the old kitchen just wasn’t. I love it when the whole house has a benefit when we make a change like this.

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Completed: 2019
Designer: Amanda Erickson, PDX Additions, LLC
Contractor & Cabinetry: Weitzer Company
Photos: supplied by Weitzer Company