Opening Up A Galley Kitchen in a Rowhouse or Apartment

updated May 6, 2019
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For those of us with small kitchens, galley or otherwise, it’s always tempting to knock down a wall and open up the space. I have explored this option for my own home in Merging a Modern Kitchen With a Traditional Dining Room, and the advice I received from Apartment Therapy readers, while varied, was very helpful. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are a few examples of townhouses where the kitchen has been opened up with lovely results.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The upside to an open plan set-up is pretty clear: easier flow between rooms, and the feeling of more space and openness. The downside of such a renovation (apart from the cost!) is a potential loss of kitchen storage space, as well as the loss of the separate formal dining room. Moreover, in older townhouses like mine, the dining room is home to a lot of pretty period details, like intricate ceiling moldings and trim. It can be especially hard to merge a modern kitchen with a dining room if the dining room is formal and traditional in appearance. Check out some solutions from the projects below.

1. Shiela Bridges designed this stunning kitchen/dining room combo (via Coco Cozy). You can see how the kitchen used to be quite narrow and claustrophobic. In opening up the two rooms, the architect managed to preserve the beautiful historic details in the walls and ceilings. The old fashioned adjoining room merges so nicely with the modern kitchen, partly because of the warm rich wood tones on the island that separates the rooms. Moreover, the glass-fronted kitchen cabinets echo the old glass hutch in the dining area, and the crisp white walls unify the entire area. A superb renovation.

2 Wentworth Studio renovated this fantastic Capitol Hill kitchen, which was opened up to the dining room.(Via Hill Rag). Removing the wall between the dining room and kitchen added 6″ in width to the narrow galley kitchen. A wide, low-spring arch divides the two spaces. The formal dining room was sacrificed for a focus on storage and kitchen space. Instead of a large table, a new, smaller table with pull-out leaves was placed against the wall. It can be pulled to the center of the room when guests come for dinner.

3 I love this clean white kitchen in a Dupont Circle townhouse in Washington DC. (Via Washingtonian.) What may have been lost by opening up the kitchen has been made up in the cabinets, which reach all the way to the ceiling.

4 Here, dark wood and white dominate a renovated kitchen in a Woodley Park rowhouse in Washington DC. (Via Washingtonian.)

5 A nice, compact but open kitchen from Brooklyn Limestone.

(Images: As credited above.)