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Old May 16th, 08, 11:06 am   #1
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Galley kitchen: How narrow is too narrow?

In a separate post, I asked for comments regarding my first design plan. From it arose the suggestion to reconsider my decision to have full-depth cabs. on one wall and 12" deep cabs. on the opposite wall.

After rethinking things, I remeasured and realized that if I had full-depth cabinets on both sides, I'd have clearance of about 39". This is, according to kitchen planing geometrists, the minimum. Ideally, for 2 cooks, the minimum would be 47".

At the moment, I'm the primary (read: only) cook, but I like to think I'll be joined by my daughters (my 4 y.o. is already becoming my sous chef). And at holiday time there's always somebody joining me in the kitchen.

How narrow's too narrow? Anybody out there happy with their decision to create a narrow galley? Anybody regret it? Advice? Hilarious anecdotes?

TIA !

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Old May 16th, 08, 11:59 am  
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Re: Galley kitchen: How narrow is too narrow?

I've certainly seen kitchens that narrow! Ours is about 50" between cabs and the nice thing is you can very comfortably open the oven door while bending over-- w /o bumping into anything behind! If you have a wall oven, this is not such a big consideration, but your dishwasher might pose similar issues. Only you can say whether you'll have enough storage and counter space if you go with the shallow cabs on one side. We are the sort of people who have multiple pots for every job and I have a thing for bowls, so we stole space from our living area for more storage! But that's us. What do YOU need, space, or storage?

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Old May 16th, 08, 1:14 pm  
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Re: Galley kitchen: How narrow is too narrow?

One thing to consider is that with 12" deep base cabs, you can access everything in them really easily. I think that they sometimes have a slightly more "custom" look to them as well. While a 39" aisle might be sufficient, the 51" aisle that you'd have with 12" cabs would be really spacious and luxurious looking. That's about what my parents have in their galley kitchen - they have 12" deep pantries along one wall instead of normal base cabs.

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Old May 16th, 08, 2:12 pm  
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Re: Galley kitchen: How narrow is too narrow?

With a space that narrow, my question is would you be able to stand in front of and open the oven door or dishwasher? I didn't open your plan, so I don't know where those things are... We have a narrow kitchen (now I can't recall the width) but we have 12" base cabinets on one side with a counter on it. I didn't think it would be very useful when we designed it, but it was our only option. To my surprise, that counter and storage space has been very useful.

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Old May 16th, 08, 2:24 pm  
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Re: Galley kitchen: How narrow is too narrow?

Our fridge and range are across from each other (not precisely in front of each other, one is a bit off the side of the other) and the aisle in our kitchen is 32" at the narrowest part. The oven door opens with enough space for me to use it, so I wouldn't say it's a problem. The rest of the kitchen aisle is about 38" and no problem at all.

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Old May 18th, 08, 1:01 pm  
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Re: Galley kitchen: How narrow is too narrow?

Below is a pic of a narrow galley kitchen in a Paris apartment with 12-inch deep cabs on one side.
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File Type: jpg narrow kitchen christian liagre.jpg (19.9 KB, 273 views)

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Old May 18th, 08, 5:51 pm  
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Re: Galley kitchen: How narrow is too narrow?

With careful planning, you should be able to get away with the narrower aisle space. Just really give thought to what is behind your butt where you will be standing. Are fridge doors going to open into your butt? Are dishwasher doors going to crash into fridge doors, etc. With a good design, it can work? And if you cook alone, it is fine. Just take the time to think about all your activities in the space and imagine what is going on behind you.

In fact aisles can get too wide (over 48") - that is what is wrong with mine. It wasn't wide enough for an island and is too wide for a galley. I can hardly wait for a new kitchen!

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Old May 18th, 08, 10:31 pm  
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Re: Galley kitchen: How narrow is too narrow?

39" is plenty of space. You may not be able open an oven and dishwasher across from each other at the same time. but you'd be surprised how rarely you need to do that. It's like any other tight space. You get used to navigating around them.

That said, let me add that our last house had a custom "pantry" wall of 12" cabinets, floor to ceiling, with adjustable shelves, not unlike a bookcase. They were very efficient storage for everything from groceries to small appliances.

So there is no wrong answer. Go with your gut!

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Old May 19th, 08, 8:33 am  
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Re: Galley kitchen: How narrow is too narrow?

My parents have a narrow galley kitchen, and bump bums passing each other sometimes! When they open the oven or the dishwasher, it interrupts the flow, but only while they load/unload.

I did have 12" deep cabinets in my old kitchen and hated them with a passion. They're just not very useful: you can't store much, and the countertop on top of them is so narrow that it became a junk countertop: full of the detritus of life that accumulates if you're not careful. I think I hated the junk countertop even more than the lack of storage in the cabinets.

Someone above posted about thinking about your needs: what is right for you may not be right for me. Zeuss gave me great insight on her galley kitchen when I was planning my (wider) one, but it's turned out great for me. Good luck! Think about the pros and cons for you of each approach (narrow cabinets wide aisle, wide cabinets narrow aisle).

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