Galley-style kitchen can be user-friendly Design: Open shelving provides easy access and helps create casual atmosphere.

March 02, 1997|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

My long and narrow kitchen is definitely in need of renovation. I'm hoping to create a totally different look: less galley-like and more friendly to both the user and guests. One thing I have got to change is the layout. I do a great deal of walking when preparing a meal, because of the distance between the sink, the cook-top and the pots-and-pans storage unit. Can you suggest a possible design?

I can't be too specific in the absence of a dimensioned floor plan. But I can provide you with some general ideas, many of which are illustrated in the photo.

For starters, the sink and stove should be located directly opposite each other in a galley-style kitchen.

You should also be aware that pots and pans don't have to be stored behind closed doors. Open shelving below a counter top or cook-top affords easy access to everyday items while also contributing to the casual atmosphere that you want to create. The same applies for spoons, stirrers and miscellaneous cooking equipment, which can be hung from rods or a peg board above the cook-top.

As for materials and colors, I recommend a combination of warm wood tones and glass doors for the cabinetwork. A patterned wall covering might look good, too -- provided the kitchen isn't completely crammed and cluttered.

Lighting is an important component of any renovation project, especially in the case of a highly functional area such as a kitchen. I suggest you install fixtures above the counters and cook-top and put flood lamps on the ceiling to direct lighting onto the floor. With this arrangement, you won't be working in your own shadow, and you'll also make the kitchen appear somewhat wider.

The flooring highlighted in the photo is another space-enhancing feature. Do keep in mind that in a long and narrow room, the floor inevitably becomes a major design element.

The manufacturer, Armstrong Floors, calls this design Vios. It's a combination of various patterns and colors chosen individually to produce a one-of-a-kind look. In this instance, bold geometric shapes serve to create a visually expansive effect -- just what's needed in a kitchen that may otherwise appear cramped and confining.

Pub Date: 3/02/97

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