Oh, the Galley Kitchen! One of us at Interior Canvas lived with a Galley Kitchen for 10 years! Even though the space was tight with babies and pets always blocking her narrow path, she grew to love this little space. You too can survive a Galley Kitchen by learning tricks from pros such as Charleston’s very own, Karoline Kable.

BACKGROUND: Karoline‘s roots run deep in design. Growing up around beautiful antiques and a mother who’s eye for design was unmatched, Karoline’s love for all things design came naturally. Kable’s career began in 2000 working as an intern for an incredible mentor and friend, Lynn Moran, ASID, whose projects span all over Texas. Kable received her Bachelors in Interior Design and moved to Charleston in 2005 to follow her love of design. She is an Accredited Interior Designer through the National Council for Interior Design Qualification, as well as, a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers. Karoline worked for Amelia T. Handegan, Inc. and Cortney Bishop Design, LLC while in Charleston, which along with her work under Moran gave her the experience and knowledge necessary to open her own firm.

 The Galley Kitchen

Some of the best spaces in the world are also the smallest! I know shocking for us here in America; we always think bigger is better. I’m originally from Texas so I am all too familiar with this idea! It sometimes seems amazing and even crazy how Europeans have been living and thriving in small spaces forever. Why would they do this? Well a great small space that can rival any big space of its kind is the Galley Kitchen. It is one of the most efficient and if designed correctly the most aesthetically pleasing of any small space.

When planning for a galley kitchen be sure and think about your layout, materials, and storage closely. These three things can make or break this space.


The way a galley kitchen is set up the work triangle comes together perfectly and simply. For the best configuration place the stove on one side and the refrigerator and sink on the opposite side. This layout can be set up to allow for prep and cooking on one end of the kitchen and clean up on the other to give plenty of space no matter what the stage of your cooking. A “U” shaped kitchen is a close cousin of the galley. It will allow you to place the sink or stove at one end depending on what you want your focal point to be. A “U” kitchen is also easy to configure for a good working triangle.


The materials in a galley kitchen should be cohesive. Clean lines and elegant materials will create depth and spaciousness in a small area. Too many accents or areas of ornamental detailing will break up the space and make it seem smaller. If you want to do something fun try using a neutral material like 3×6 marble tiles in a different or unique pattern like a herringbone pattern for your backsplash, repeat the marble on your countertop and run your wood flooring lengthwise parallel to the base of the cabinets not perpendicular.

Another fun thing to do in a small kitchen is use a mirrored backsplash or use mirrored front in your cabinets to create depth. To make your kitchen as seamless as possible will make it seem larger and to do this one trick you can try is to panel the front of your refrigerator and dishwasher so they just look like an extension of the cabinetry. You can create a very traditional look all by the materials you use.

The cabinetry is a beautiful dark mahogany stain but it is a simple flat front piece of cabinetry, and the pulls are traditional polished brass. Use your materials to create the feel of the space. If you can take your cabinetry all the way to the ceiling. I know people disagree on this in the design world but it is seamless cuts down on cleaning and does give you extra storage. Whether you are suing cabinetry or open shelving try to make at least one side of your kitchen as open as possible by using glass fronts in your cabinetry or making sure to keep your items on the shelving neatly staked so your eye does not get lost in the mess.

Pay attention to the way you lay your tile on your backsplash, your flooring, and any other materials you use. You should give plenty of thought not only to the materials laid but how they should be installed to add depth, spaciousness, and layers to your kitchen.


Storage! Oh if we only had a dollar for every time we have cursed our cabinetry in our kitchen for not having enough storage. Well the true secret to having enough storage is not just more space, it’s knowing what you have before you start and making sure you make every inch work for you. Some great ideas are pull out pantries because you can use the whole depth of the cabinet and see everything that you have.

Another is baskets on a blank wall to place produce in to keep counters free from clutter and more usable.

Of course there is the tried and true butcher block that slides out where a drawer would normally go which also free’s us counter space because you use the board right where it is.

Lastly one of my new favorites is a spice wrack that is in the back of your top cabinet but when you are ready to cook you simply push a release and it slides down so you can see and use all your spices easily.

There are so many wonderful storage ideas for the kitchen now and these are just a few.

Thank you, Karoline, for giving us solutions to living in small spaces! If only we had read this 10 years ago…

For more information on Karoline Kable, see below:

Karoline Kable


82 Anson St.
Charleston, SC 29401
p : 843.814.8113
F : 843. 628.7723


Images: 1) traditionalhome.com 2) architecturaldigest.com 3) greigedesign.blogspot.com 4) thisoldhouse.com 5) greigedesign.blogspot.com 6) bhg.com 7-8) housebeautiful.com 9) southernliving.com 10) marthastewart.com 11) southernliving.com 12)  remodelista.com 13) cultivate.com 14) Karoline Kable’s own

Charleston Interior Design Blog