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smaloney_gw

Galley kitchen remodel

smaloney
10 years ago

We're remodeling our galley kitchen (7.5ft x 12ft) and I'd love some feedback on specific dilemmas I'm facing at the moment.

Background details: Our budget is low by GW standards (under $20k), and we'd like to avoid months of disarray in the house if possible. I'm leaning toward Ikea based on cost as well as the continuing headaches of trying to deal with Home Depot for American Woodmark. Goals for the remodel are to have a kitchen that is more updated, more functional, more clean (reference to awful rusting appliances). I'd love it if it also had some charm/character and if it resulted in the breakfast room getting more use for eating and homework etc. (We have a formal living room as well, but right now the living room takes the brunt of our activities.) We have 2 active boys and the rest of the house is somewhat eclectic: lots of Persian rugs, Pottery Barn-style decor and furniture from various sources, lots of books.

Questions:

1) I'd love white cabinets but for various reasons (mostly budget related) I think I'm stuck with wood. If we go with Ikea, I've narrowed it down to either the Tidaholm or the Liljestad. I lean toward the Tidaholm, but it has a kind of modern vibe which is precisely the opposite of my style and the rest of hte house.

{{gwi:1847585}}

{{gwi:1847587}}

Any preferences? Any ideas on softening the 'modern' look of the Tidaholm door so that it is more vintagey looking?

2) The galley is a corridor that connects the breakfast room (where the front door is located) to the living room (where the back door is located.) I'm probably going to put one or two high pantry cabinets in that breakfast room just to keep up with my kids' appetites. I've considered extending them into a small peninsula-style eating area with a spot for a computer as well. Right now we have a kitchen table in the breakfast room that no one uses ever. I suspect I'd have better luck getting my kids to eat their meals in here with counter-style seating. But here's the question - is it worthwhile/advisable to build this in via a peninsula-ish run of cabinets or should I simply opt for a counter-height table that I can always change out?

3) My instinct (and that of the two KDs I've utilized via our Ikea install company and Home Depot) is to stuff as much cabinetry into the galley as possible. Right now we literally only have 7 cabinets, with no uppers at all on more than half the kitchen. That may be nice aesthetically in larger kitchens but it means I have to shop daily and store pans on top of my washer and dryer. On the other hand, maybe I'm overcompensating and will regret it??

I've tried to post a layout, but my technical skills are lousy. Plus it seems that aren't that many alternatives - both KDs as well as me on my own have come up with almost the exact same plan. But here's the basic idea:

{{gwi:1847589}}

{{gwi:1847591}}

4) Finally, can anyone offer tips on how to appraise contractor estimates? Our first estimate had a lot of surprises, including relatively high costs to demo the current kitchen ($5k) vs. install 2 or 3 times as many new cabinets ($2k). This was the contractor that our local Home Depot uses, and they seem awful for other reasons. But I don't know what typical costs for basic work looks like. Obviously getting multiple estimates will help this, but I'm just trying to educate myself on the cost end of things in the same way that this board has helped me get a bit smarter on the design end of things.

Thanks for any and all bits of wisdom! I love so many kitchens on here.

Comments (24)

  • Fori
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Can you give us an overhead view?

    As far as cabinet style, what exactly IS the rest of your house like? Tidaholm is a classic Shaker shape and is about as vintage as you can get, although the light color does say modern. It can be vintaged up easily though. Bin pulls, porcelain knobs, wall mount faucet...

    Or you could paint them or use a gel stain on them. It's a good door!

  • harrimann
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Where's the fridge, and what's the little wall in the middle of your run?

    I have a 9x15 galley, and never considered the possibility of a peninsula. Are you sure that'll work? I love having a big long straight run of counters along one wall.

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  • smaloney
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Thanks! Here's an overhead version but I don't think it's much clearer.

    {{gwi:1847593}}

    The house is a hodgepodge of 1980s remodeling - I'm guessing what we use as a breakfast room was originally the dining or living room of a very small house, but the previous owners added two rooms at the back which we use as a living room and dining room. We could never "open" the gally width-wise because the laundry/utility room sits next to it, and if we have to move the furnace we may as well knock the house down (we probably should have, but that's another story.) On the other side of the first floor, taking up essentially the same space as the breakfast/kitchen are a small office and a small playroom. There are no hallways - all the rooms sort of connect to one another in a way that lets the kids run laps around the first floor.

    The Tidaholm only worries me because all the real life kitchens I see with it have a very budget-modern look. I definitely would try to use vintagey pulls and knobs, and other decor including lighting.

  • kayceefl
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    1) Since I am drawn to darker cabinets, door two is my pick. But your kitchen looks a bit on the small side and if you don't have a lot of natural light, door one may be better. Maybe ORB pulls/knobs for a more vintage look?

    2) Personally, I don't like losing an "eat-in" area for counter seating. But some do and it sounds as though counter seating may be more utilized in your case. Not sure how big that eat in area is, but the layout as its shown now seems to show a lot of empty space in the room with the peninsula eating.

    3) Have you considered open shelving as an option on a wall? Could save you some money too. On the other hand, you have a nice window on one wall and have incorporated some glass doors, so I think it looks fine with the wall cabinets.

    4) Can you do the demo yourself? We saved quite a bit doing that and it was super easy. We used HD (Thomasville cabitets) and although we have heard of many horror stories, so far we are quite pleased. We had probably a dozen estimates from local shops before deciding on HD (which we were actually trying to avoid). If you aren't happy with their contractor, though, don't use them. You can still order your cabinets through them if you want and have someone else install. We got about 16 cabinets (including 1 96" tall pantry), upraged to all plywood, lots of extras, for right at $11k with install. Not sure what you quote was for American Woodmark, but I was surprised by the price of Thomasville.

    Regardless, you should definately get some more quotes.

    Good luck to you!

  • harrimann
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Could you extend the counter all the way down the window wall, and extend the counter on the other side into the breakfast room so it can have counter seating. I've attached a basic image. Of course, you'd need to reorganize the appliances.

  • northcarolina
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I saw a Liljestad kitchen in IKEA a couple of days ago and really liked it. You're right that it's more traditional-looking than some of their other door styles. One thing I did notice, and it didn't bother me looking at it but it might you, is that if you look at the lower cabs from just the right (wrong) angle, you can see the light-colored "birch" cabinets peeking out from behind the dark-colored doors by the hinge. I bet the people at the IKEA fans website have figured out how to get around that. The uppers in the show kitchen had glass Liljestad doors, and the upper cabs were the same dark color (very nice) so there was no problem there and maybe they will make lowers the same color as well.

    All that said, I think Tidaholm is a classic style too and I wouldn't hesitate to use it in a traditional kitchen. I think it all depends on your hardware/countertops/backsplash, as you mentioned. Besides, light colored oak will go great with your other 1980s remodeling. *ducking and running now* :)

  • smaloney
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    This might be a little bit better. Sorry that I'm such an idiot with getting these images online.

    {{gwi:1847596}}

    View from front door:
    {{gwi:1847597}}

    View from living room (galley - fridge side):
    {{gwi:1847598}}

    View from living room (galley - range side):
    {{gwi:1847599}}

  • jddar
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    ^^ Is there a door on the left most wall in the above floor plan? If not, you could arrange the cabinetry in a 'U' shaped formation. I had a kitchen with this layout and it was quite functional. The range was located at the bottom of the 'U' shape with the sink on one long side and the fridge on the other. Also, as Kaycee sugested, if you did away with the peninsula you could seat more people at a small table.

  • jddar
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Sorry, I just looked at your plan descriptions a little closer and see that there is indeed a door. Disregard my above post.

  • kayceefl
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Ideally, if you are doing away with the breakfast area and going with counter seating, I would try to get rid of the walls separating the kitchen and breakfast room to make the kitchen feel larger. You would then have continual cabinets down to your peninsula cabinets and maybe get more seating at your counter by doing a extending the peninsula down a bit and rounding the countertop? Removing the walls yourself would be easy.

  • Fori
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Oh, North Carolina, that was mean! :)

    For inspiration on traditional decor with the Tidaholm, look for shaker MAPLE. Light oak is pretty uncommon currently, but maple is often light and will give you the same look from a distance (in photos). Then you can see if there really are ways to make it work for you, stylewise. Seeded glass panels instead of the stock ones perhaps?

    Liljestad though--there's nothing like it out there. I like it but it is very dark. And yes, ikeafans have methods to cover up the birch that peeks through (but I'm a brown Sharpie kinda person). You seem to have a bright space so it might work. Small kitchens really do look good in dark woods.

    Not sure about the layout. Can you lose the wall on the peninsula side? I don't want to see the stove from the front door, but if that other wall isn't holding up the roof, it's in the way!

  • formerlyflorantha
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Ways to cut the modern look of the first cab door: lighting fixtures, window treatments, fabrics, stools, flooring color and material, glass in uppers, art pieces, backspash material, paint on doors, more elaborate mouldings at crown and windows and doors, turned legs on corners, natural materials, non-primary and non-intense colors, avoiding plastics and some metals, hiding or displaying objects depending on how they help or hinder the look you're cultivating.

    I strongly suggest you conjure up a personalized look that is just "you" and try to avoid the current rage(s) in decor so that the new kitchen is really attractive to your family and so that you enjoy using it. As long as you avoid extremes you can do this.

    You haven't exactly explained what non-mod style is "you." Help us know more as to what you have in mind and what the house looks like.

    I congratulate you on trying to keep the cost down. Ikea is a good way to start and we've seen some very non-mod kitchens that use them.

  • doraville
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I have a galley kitchen too and used a shaker door.
    My before and after pictures are here

    From Kitchen

    I recommend changing your stove position if possible because having it up against a wall limits handle position.

    Also if your house is older you might want to reconsider "to the ceiling" cabs. The ceiling might be too uneven. My ceilings were uneven and you can see that the extra molding allowed adjustment.

    Like some others I think I would go for an eating area rather than an L countertop.

    Good Luck with your project!

  • momtofour
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Our kitchen has similar dimensions with similar layout restrictions. We brought the cabinets all the way to the end of the refrigerator wall as mcmjilly suggested (but ended them at the wall on the other side as you currently have it) and then wrapped around the window wall with a window seat. We currently have a small table there for two or three to sit. You would still have the same amount of seating and would gain a lot more counter and storage space. The added storage space would make up for what you might lose if you have to remove the tall cabinet (pantry) you currently show around the corner from the stove.

    Sorry, I have no program to let me display what I mean! Even with the window seat and table you'll have ample walk-through space given that you have almost 12 feet there.

  • smaloney
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Thanks everyone for the feedback. I guess it just reinforces for me that the problem I have is how to configure the "breakfast room."

    I'm half tempted just to forget it, and focus my efforts and limited money on getting the most out of the galley. I hate this option, though, if only because it's probably not possible for me to squeeze sufficient food storage into the galley. Plus I really want to get better use out of the breakfast room space - with a small house it's particularly problematic to have wasted space. My last effort to make the room more user friendly involved putting in banquette style seating (a Home Decorators marked down version of the Ballard Designs corner benches)... it seems like it was never as convenient as it looked. Because of the proliferation of doors (entry door, closet door, staircase opening, opening to the playroom on the other side of the entry), it's hard to float a table in the center of the room without it basically feeling like you're sitting in the entryway or at the foot of the stairs.

    So after that long defense I've given a shot at a slightly different layout which satisfies my hopes for future Costco runs. Because of the stub wall on the fridge side, the high cabinets would be the slimmer depth models that Ikea has - only about 13 inches deep. I've stuck with what seems like an unpopular idea of a peninsula, which looks very strange because the Ikea software is quirky. I'd love any more critiques, feedback, ideas, whatever!

    {{gwi:1847601}}

    {{gwi:1847602}}

    I've tried to make it more symmetrical A couple of suggestions centered on eliminating the wall between the galley and the breakfast room - unfortunately it's just not an option. It would cost me about $5k to widen the opening so that the two rooms were better connected, and that's just not worth it to me - in part because it would create new problems (like the fact that you'd see all the appliances from the front door, which just seems wrong to everyone I ask.)

    @momtofour: is your kitchen on the FKB? If you have any pictures online, I'd love to see them. I think the idea of a super long run of base cabinets sounds great; in practice I'd worry that the countertops would just become a dumping ground for clutter. I currently have a 9 foot stretch of counterspace on the opposite side from the range, and I don't use it all that much, perhaps because I'm not a great cook. The other issue is simply that the wall stub is 19 inches (23 with molding) so I'd need to have reduced depth cabinets on either side of it.

    @doraville: Unfortunately I can't really move the stove without running a new gas line, which I ruled out at the start to keep costs and drama as low as possible. But maybe I'm overestimating what a big deal that would be?

    BTW I've almost settled on going with the lighter wood doors. What I like best about the darker wood model from Ikea is the glass door version, which has divided lites. But I don't need display space - I need storage space.

  • holligator
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    If I were you, I'd hold off on decisions about colors and finishes until you solve your layout problems. At this point in the process, focusing on getting a functional layout is far more important, and you still have a long way to go in that department.

    I could be wrong, but I think you're seriously overestimating some costs, and that is seriously limiting your possibilities. You may want to look into these costs more before writing off these options as out of your budget.

    I can't imagine how removing that tiny wall on the fridge side could possibly cost $5,000--even if it's a load-bearing wall, which it likely isn't. Given that most of the patching would be covered by cabinetry and wouldn't have to be pristine, we're probably talking about a very simple demo and patch job. I probably wouldn't move the wall on the stove side, because it does serve a purpose, but the one on the fridge side is causing nothing but problems for your design. Removing it really opens up the possibilities (literally and figuratively!).

    Extending the gas line so that you can get the stove a foot or two away from the wall shouldn't be much, either. I moved my stove about 10 feet and around a corner, and the cost of running the new gas line was about only $250.

    Even moving your plumbing so that your sink could be on the opposite wall might cost far less than you'd expect. My house is on a slab, so I assumed that putting a prep sink in my island would be impossible or prohibitive, but it was neither, and the added function was worth every penny.

    Look into these costs more and get more than one estimate. Also consider what you might be able to DIY. I'd hate for you to settle for something you don't have to just because you think the alternative is out of your price range--especially if it's really not.

    Finally, I think you're overestimating the appeal of counter seating. If you want your kids to use the breakfast room more, I don't think replacing the table with a counter will accomplish that. Counter seating is great for short-term sitting, but it's not as comfortable as sitting at a table for longer periods. So, although it may increase their snacking there, it's unlikely to increase their meals and homework time. I think you'd be better off extending the kitchen counter along that wall, as others have suggested, to make items they want/need during homework or meals more accessible from the table.

  • sabjimata
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I agree with Holli about the demo cost, but then again, I guess it depends where you are located in the country.

    I really like MCM's suggestion about running the cabinetry the full length of the wall. You could even do a small round table for the eating. On the long wall you could use full depth lowers and just wrap your counter around the bit of wall jutting out.

  • smaloney
    Original Author
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Hmm. Thanks for the feedback. The wall separating the two rooms is a load-bearing wall, and I was told that any widening of the doorway would require the installation of a beam, which would cost anywhere from $2500 to $5000. If this was going to transform my layout, I'd find a way to swing that cost, but simply to remove a stub doesn't seem worth it. And while I can understand the aesthetic appeal of an uninterrupted 18 foot run of cabinets, honestly it would be totally absurd - I don't do anywhere near 18ft worth of preparation, and it would stick the table literally at the bottom of the staircase.

    Here are a few photos of the way the room currently looks. Vaguely horrifying to post such mess, but here goes:

    {{gwi:1847603}}
    {{gwi:1847604}}
    {{gwi:1847605}}
    {{gwi:1847606}}

  • edmasbetsy
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Just finished our galley kitchen remodel, have 2 posts with pics, one called first pics, search by betsy29 and u can pull up the other. I love dark cabs, but in a galley kit, I think lighter ones work better. Our design took almost 4 months, it changed drastically 3 times and each time it got better, so be patient. We interviewed 5 contractors, and that gave us a variety of ideas, which inc wrapping the cabs around to get away from galley look.

  • edmasbetsy
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    FYI, our remodel was under 20K, which inc moving a non load bearing wall, and relocating plumbing in powder room. We used Kraftmaid cabs and inc some upgrades, such as soft close drawers, glass cabs, bookshelves, cutlery drawer, and pull out shelves. Our kit is about the same size as yours. Shop around. We were not impressed w/Home Depot.

  • momtofour
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Smaloney

    I just took my first 'after' pictures. Not cleaned up. Just finished dishes. Finished except for the backsplash and crown molding. We JUST BUILT our custom kitchen table today and I'll be finishing it this week. But took the pictures anyway just for you, lol!

    I tried to show the back area from every angle. If you have any questions about dimensions, ask away! You still have the wall at what would be to the left of our sink (looking at it head-on). We had a beam put in when we added on and were able to take that part of the wall out. We still have it on the other side, next to our refrigerator. Our length is just 8 feet from the wall next to our refrigerator to the back wall where the window seat is. The window seat is very long at 7 feet. You have even more room so should be able to handle a seat and table just fine! You might even have room for the cabinet on the other side of that bearing wall (around the corner as you have it in your plans near the top of this page). It looks as if you have Lshaped seating in that area. Make it just on the one wall and have cabinets on the other wall. We love it and you might too!

    Btw, I actually DO have 18 feet of cabinet on that long wall. The first 3' (not in the pictures) is right by our side door and hallway doorway. This is the place for our things (our dumping ground, lol). Stove next, then 6' of work space, sink, corner area that holds trash can and coffee area. Not too much space at all!

  • shelayne
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Hi smaloney~

    I was just at IKEA yesterday, and I noticed that the Tidaholm Oak had a "last chance" tag, which probably means that it is being discontinued. Sorry. :^( August is usually the month IKEA sends out their new catalog, but the folks at Ikeafans generally have the scoop a little earlier, so you can check over there to see if they have any heads-up on new doors.

    I would wait on any doorstyle decisions from IKEA until the new catalog comes out. Fagerland also had the "last chance" sticker.

    I love the brown/black Ramsjo doors. Have you checked those out? They can be really sleek and sophisticated or a bit more traditional looking, depending on the rest of the finishes. And the Lilje is always very nice.

    About the cabinet edges, some on Ikeafans have used the iron-on veneer strips on those edges with great success. Ikeafans is a great resource for all things IKEA. :^)

  • holligator
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Well, your photos clear up a lot that I wasn't getting from your layout sketches. That wall didn't come across as part of a doorway, and now it's clear how it could be load bearing. Sorry for misunderstanding!

    Now that I see the photos, though, I have to say that the extension into the breakfast room with the peninsula seems to make even less sense. In fact, now I'd actually suggest making the door opening a bit smaller. With a slightly smaller doorway, you could have a straight run off cabinet and counter. And, if the end of your counter run didn't have to taper off to accommodate the doorway, I think your kitchen would actually feel bigger.

    Have you looked into moving the sink to the other side and putting it under the window? That would allow you to more or less center the stove on the inside wall, which would make cooking a much more pleasant affair. Standing at the sink in front of a window is generally more pleasant, as well. Again, even on a slab, moving plumbing across the room was not nearly as expensive as I anticipated.

    Finally, I think that the reason nobody sits at your breakfast table may be that it is difficult to get in and out of. It looks like a comfy and inviting place to sit, once you're there, but it looks like getting there would be hard. Most banqette-style setups use trestle or pedestal tables to make getting in and out easier. Tables with legs cause problems. Perhaps a different table or different seating for that table would make it a more welcoming place to sit.

    You might want to look at the remodeling of your kitchen and breakfast room as two separate projects. I worry that trying to force the kitchen into the breakfast room without really making it all one big room will just feel odd and disjointed. I now understand the problem with removing that wall, but since you can't do that, I think you should keep the kitchen in the kitchen.

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    10 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I had a wall almost exactly like the little one you show, between the gallery area of my kitchen area and the seating area.it was load bearing and I paid 5k to take it out 8 yrs ago in the nyc area.

    It seemed like a lot for such a lil' wall, but it makes all the difference in the world because it becomes one room. You'd be surprised at the difference in light, too. I would not remodel without opening the rooms up, imho