A Tiny Galley Kitchen Gets a Big Update

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

And just like that, it’s Fall. Where did the Summer go???  And where did I go??? No where. I went no where. But I wasn’t “here” either. I can’t believe it’s been two months since I’ve blogged!?! Well, despite the pandemic, I’ve been working on some fun interior design projects and I want to share a really fun one! A tiny galley kitchen that gets a big update!

A local professional woman bought this cute fixer-upper that is in need of a lot of TLC and updating. A single gentleman owned the house for many years prior to his passing. The house is a small single story Cape Cod style and my client has already done a good amount of updating. For instance, the far wall by the fireplace has been painted a nice Chantilly Lace color and decorated with a fun collection of art and books. She called on my help to create a design plan to update and improve the tiny galley kitchen. While there is a front door, the main door that folks enter the house is closer to the driveway, through an enclosed breezeway and directly into the kitchen. The photo is taken from that door. So, a pretty space that is welcoming is super important.

Kitchen before

My client has already purchased new stainless appliances and she’s looking to incorporate a large piece of reclaimed wood into the counters and to have open shelving and decent storage utilizing drawers versus cabinets with doors and shelves.

We’re still working out some of the details, but here is the initial plan.

Linda Merrill Small Kitchen 1

I’ve recommended two big changes. One is to push the run of counter and cabinets on the left side of the sink about 18″ which obviously significantly increases storage and counter space and provides a nice symmetrical balance on the sink/window wall. The open shelving is flanked by small wall cabinets.

Linda Merrill Small Kitchen 2

The other change is to swap the pantry cabinet and refrigerator. Her new fridge is counter depth and it should tuck nicely into the corner and feel less overwhelming in the small space. And a nicely done pantry cabinet will be much more attractive to look at from the living side of the space. While it’s not idea to locate the range right next to to the refrigerator, there’s not a lot of choice in this tiny galley kitchen without losing the pantry cabinet.

Linda Merrill Small Kitchen 3


The piece of reclaimed wood that my client has is 7′ Long x 25″ D x 1.5″ thick. So, it’s perfect for a counter top – but not enough for even this tiny galley kitchen.

So I am recommending incorporating it on the ends and island with a stone/quartz or marble surface closer to the sink and on the small counter next to the stove. My client bakes, so having a cold surface to roll out dough is a big bonus as well.

Linda Merrill Small Kitchen 4

As I mentioned, this project is still in the planning/design phase but it’s always fun to take a challenging space and try to pack in as much function and form as possible!

What do you think of the mix of wood and stone counters? I love a rough/luxe mix so it works for me!

I’ve put together a collection of Fall inspired items that will dress up any space – tiny or big!

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19 thoughts on “A Tiny Galley Kitchen Gets a Big Update”

  1. I really like it all, but I would make one suggestion. IF this is still in the planning stage, how about moving that countertop set of drawers next to the pantry to the left, positioning it between the range and refrigerator? It might alleviate the issue of a lot of built up heat between the two appliances. Just a thought. The wood and marble together is wonderful!

  2. Your new design plan is so much better! Light and open and I do love the mixture of counter materials. I cannot wait to see if when it is finished. Fantastic job.

  3. Hello Linda, You have certainly achieved your objective of making the kitchen both welcoming and a good introduction to the rest of the house. I like the marble near the sink, and the contrast with the wood. Although wood can be waterproofed, it does not seem ideal for a counter that will get wet a lot. I think that white appliances would look even better than stainless steel, and keep more in character with both the kitchen and the house.

    • Thanks Jim! I agree about the wood near the sink, although there’s a lot of wood on a nice boat – so it can be done. But the marble or other stone is ultimately less maintenance! As for the appliances – at this point I feel like stainless just kind of blends in, though I agree white would look very nice as well. Unfortunately, my rendering software isn’t rendering the stainless well and I can’t figure out – just looks gray!

  4. This tiny galley kitchen makeover packs a big punch! You packed it with so much style, and opened it up at the same time. It feels much lighter with the open shelves by the window and reversing the pantry at the end of the run. The renovation looks likes its off to a great start!

  5. Much airier! I too have a galley and love it! (You’ve actually been here on the NBPT kitchen tour.). I’m with you on not liking the fridge beside the stove. Could the narrow lower cabinet move to the opposite side of the stove? I like a place to put things as I remove them from the fridge and I think it would look good.

    I enjoy your work and happy to see you back!

    • Thanks so much Ellen! I’ll have to re-check my photos to remind myself of your kitchen! I personally love a small kitchen – they can be very efficient. As for the placement of the small cabinet – I considered it, but decided the darker side of the fridge would be easier to clean that the white wood of the pantry cabinet. The counter across from the fridge is only basically an arms length away anyway!


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