All the Right Decisions for a Galley Kitchen

Making design choices for this galley kitchen remodel wasn’t easy, but the end result was worth it

Kitchen with two-tone cabinets and marble counters

  • Homeowners: New homeowners posted their galley kitchen renovation on Sweeten
  • Where: Forest Hills in Queens, New York
  • Primary renovation: Create a new built-in bar, repurposed closets, and an urban vibe for a 704-square-foot condo
  • Homeowner’s quote: “I had no idea where to start. Sweeten made that process so much easier by providing reviews, success stories, matching you with contractors, etc. I don’t know how I would’ve known where to start without them.”
  • Sweeten’s role: Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering guidance, tools, and support—for free..  

Written in partnership with Sweeten homeowner. “After” photos by Miao Jiaxin for Sweeten.

Buy the rental and turn it into a home

After renting an apartment in Forest Hills, Queens, the homeowner purchased it and officially made it her own. It was a fortuitous find. Years earlier, a move from Chicago to New York left her little time to search apartment listings. She landed in a quiet, yet bustling neighborhood with walkable shops, stores, and restaurants.

The kitchen before the remodel
The kitchen before the remodel
The kitchen during the renovation
The kitchen during the remodel
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Galley kitchen with two tone cabinets

She saved up for a renovation to replace the dark kitchen cabinets, countertops, and smaller-than-standard appliances. Her Sweeten general contractor helped give the space a facelift without changing the galley floor plan.

Overcoming a hurdle: choosing materials

Choosing materials for her kitchen galley renovation turned out to be the most difficult during the process. She spent a lot of time researching countertop materials (and understanding the difference between them) to finding the right appliances that would last.

A large pantry cabinet was replaced with two separated cabinets (upper and lower) to extend countertop space. The bar countertop was lowered and the pass-through window was enlarged. Both design ideas would successfully connect the living and kitchen areas.

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She opted for a two-tone cabinet finish that makes the kitchen feel so much more open thanks to the white upper cabinets. “I had a hard time deciding what color cabinets (white or greyish-blue) I wanted, so I went with both! I thought adding in a touch of color on the bottom would be a fun way to add a bit of character,” the homeowner shared. Open shelves above the sink in lieu of upper cabinet also contribute to a more spacious feel.

Large white kitchen sink with gold faucet

Bar counter built into the serving nook

First-time renovator finds the right renovation team

Her general contractor provided assurance from the beginning, sharing ideas and material options in their initial consultation, and responding quickly to texts and emails throughout. “He made me the most comfortable right off the bat and I felt like I could trust him with my project and home. I would recommend him in a heartbeat,” the homeowner shared.

As a first-time renovator, Sweeten was a vital resource for her in finding the right contractor for the job. “I had no idea where to start. Sweeten made that process so much easier by providing reviews, success stories, matching you with contractors, etc. I don’t know how I would’ve known where to start without them,” the homeowner continued.

Galley kitchen with wooden open shelving

View into the kitchen from the hallway

Tip: Being flexible with her kitchen galley renovation

The homeowner offers her words of advice: “Things are not always as they appear. Pinterest, Instagram, and blogs inundate you with so many options that you search and search and finally feel like you know exactly what you want. Well, I felt like I had a good idea of what I wanted, but when I saw certain samples in my space I realized that they were not the right fit or was told reasons why a design wouldn’t be functional.”

All-in-all the kitchen came together without a hitch and transformed the feel of the home. “It’s the first thing I see when I walk in the door and every night when I turn on the light I get excited to see it all over again. Having my vision come to life is amazing. I’ve been so excited to show off the space to my family and friends. I’ve been cooking a lot more that’s for sure,” she shared.

Kitchen with blue cabinets and white countertop

Renovation materials

KITCHEN RESOURCES:  Maple cabinets in Juniper Berry (bottom) and white (upper), floating shelves in Whiskey Black stain: Kemper Cabinets. Countertops and backsplash in Swanbridge quartz: Cambria. Conga pulls in warm brass: Atlas Homewares. Delta sink faucet in Champagne Bronze: Home Depot. Fisher & Paykel gas range: Fisher Paykel. Haier microwave, Blomberg dishwasher, #DWS55100SS, and 24” counter-depth refrigerator, #BRFB1312SS: AJ Madison. Nantucket farmhouse sink, T-FCFS27 27″ L x 19″: Wayfair.

A note on fixture and appliance deliveries: If you’re on a tight timeline, Appliances Connection has over 50,000 items in stock and ready to ship nationally. If you’re in the NY/NJ metro area, in-stock items typically deliver within 2-3 days.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog, Sweeten Storiesfor renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

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“I liked using Sweeten! It gave me a great place to start, since I had no idea how to begin my renovation projects. I will be using them again.”

— Mary C. from Philadelphia, PA

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