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Art Museum Galley Kitchen

Location: Fairmount, Philadelphia

Building type: Rowhome

Renovation style: Contemporary

These clients came to Bellweather Design-Build in need of a kitchen “facelift” after living in their home in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia for 5 years. The old fixtures and finishes were tired and outdated and the existing layout was awkward. Our design-build team presented selections for updating the cabinets, counters, appliances, lighting and flooring while also addressing the galley kitchen layout which had a poor working triangle. Weworked to identify 2 options for improved work flow and helped our client make some great decisions.

The Importance of a Working Triangle

Due to the inherent size and dimensions of Philadelphia rowhomes, we find a large number of galley kitchens. You may feel that galley kitchen spaces are lacking in creative layout options, but the truth is that a galley is the most common and the most efficient design layout to work with. Galley kitchens tend to be more compact with extruded walls of conventional base and wall cabinet storage. Electrical improvements include better task lighting, including under cabinet dimmable lights which should be controlled at the backsplash, near the point of use. Interruptions in the galley need to be carefully considered. Building in flush storage around refrigerators can be helpful as well as integrating windows without crowding the trim with cabinetry or backsplash elements. Adequate aisle spaces need to accommodate both work activities and non-work passage functions, so the typical 36-42" spacing between counters should be adjusted up to a higher bracket for spacing; 40-48" may be more functional, especially with a larger household.

When updating a galley kitchen, it's important to take into account you and your families needs in the kitchen. Do you prefer more counter and cabinet space or larger appliances? Creating your dream kitchen is not a one size fits all, especially with galley kitchens. Addressing your needs early on in the design process is imperative when remodeling your galley kitchen in Philadelphia

The goal for this kitchen renovation was to create a better flow and add more counter space. We rearranged the working triangle and added more lower cabinets to create much needed counter space. In order to make the space feel larger, our team also proposed to relocate the refrigerator for better access to the basement stairs. While only a minor detail, moving the refrigerator opened up the space in the kitchen and automatically made it feel bigger.

Updating A Galley Kitchen in Philadelphia 

In Philly rowhomes you will have access to the yard in the back of the rowhome, and that is where the galley kitchen typically resides. If that is the case, the windows and doors that lead to the backyard will generously more natural light in your kitchen, which is a huge bonus. Yet, if that's not the case you will need to get creative...

Unfortunately, these homeowners only had access to the rear yard through the alley because of a newer powder room that was added in the back of the house. Without a window or door in the back of the house to increase natural lighting, our design team proposed a white shaker-style cabinet option and a soft gray paint on the wall to lighten up the space. An added bonus in this kitchen was a window above the sink, which makes for a beautiful view when doing the boring chore of dishes. 

Our design professionals recommend creating or maintaining as much natural light as possible in your galley kitchen. Sometimes that would include adding windows or doors, reducing the number of upper cabinets. If natural light is not an option, you can simply add more light fixtures. Making your galley kitchen brighter will make the space feel larger and don't forget to use dimmers on your fixtures.

Looking for more design recommendations for a galley kitchen? Check out our design advice for your galley kitchen!

Working with Bellweather Design-Build

The Bellweather team went above and beyond to modernize this "contractor flip" kitchen the homeowners inherited after purchase. At Bellweather Design-Build, we are invested in providing each client with a unique and positive home remodeling experience in Philadelphia and the Main Line area. Our refined design-build method not only promotes productive builder/client collaboration, it also encourages other design and remodeling specialists to contribute solutions during the planning process. 

Allow us to support you through one of the most rewarding investments of your life by contacting us today


  • White, Shaker-style cabinets
  • “River White” granite countertops
  • New recessed lighting
  • 12X24 floor tile; 3X6 subway tile backsplash
  • New stainless steel appliances