Galley Kitchen Remodel

By Kate Riley March 7, 2017

This is kitchen renovation #2 completed in partnership with the Committee on the Shelterless (COTS), a local non-profit that services homeless people in my community. This home is used as a transitional home for our veterans. (I featured the first home’s kitchen makeover and family room in January.)

This galley kitchen was challenging in its design because it is a pass through space and doesn’t hold its own corner in the house. Just beyond is a bedroom and the exit to the backyard and people will be constantly walking through it when others are cooking so I kept the design as clean and simple as possible.



When we started it was one of the worst “before” kitchens I’ve seen, not only was it dated but falling apart too. Warren, my project partner over at COTS declared it was a gut job and I could have my way with it. Music to my ears!

We were on a super tight budget supplemented by a grant for veterans donated by Home Depot. Given their generosity, we purchased everything from Home Depot from the flooring to the light fixtures. (Links to products below). Here’s the right side of the kitchen before demo, you can see the cabinets were broken and old and it was a mess.


I was tempted to try something really different in this kitchen since I had free rein with style choices but then came back to a modern yet classic look as I always seem to do :) after all, it’s a kitchen and therefore needs finishes that will look good for decades. I chose a combination of dark cabinets below and white above for contrast.


Before in the entrance there was just a strange shelf, so I substituted a chunky dark wood bench and petite tulip table for dining or for visiting with a cook. The window was a hint too low to continue the lower cabinetry to the other wall so a small breakfast corner with a bench and table made sense.

Sending a huge thank you to World Market for donating this table and bench, they’re perfect in size and style for the space!



The design began with the black appliances that I had to work with, specifically two black refrigerators necessary to service the large household. They had to stay. To work with them I chose dark java wood tone cabinets below to ground the space and opted for white above. Here’s a look at the left side of this galley kitchen before and after the remodel:






The flooring is new, it’s the Allure luxury vinyl plank in a weathered wood finish, very easy to install. (source below)


The cabinets are all budget friendly shaker cabinets from Home Depot chosen for their simple style and affordability. The wall cabinets are the white versions and the lower cabinets are the java color, a dark espresso wood tone.

When placing the cabinet order we also ordered toe kick for the bases, and 3” filler pieces for in between the upper cabinets and refridgerator where there would be gaps since these cabinets only come in standard widths. For me an all white kitchen would have been too stark for this pass through space which is another reason I went with java base cabinets.



Though it cost a little bit more, I insisted on a white hood to fit in seamlessly with the white upper cabinets and backsplash. I love it! Let’s start a white range hood trend, shall we?



The backsplash is a raised prism hexagon. I love that it’s a geometric pattern yet a modern alternative to subway tile and that the subtle raised shape of each tile catches the light with its glossy sheen.




The cabinet knobs are rectangular raised prism style to mimic the backsplash and the pulls are from the same collection. (I can’t find the link on HD for this hardware but I’ll look at the order forms and find out.)






The white granite sink is paired with a polished nickel faucet.








Last but not least, this countertop. You guys, it’s so good!  It’s Formica’s Calacatta Marble pattern in Etchings finish, it was generously donated by the company for this non-profit kitchen remodel. This is a bolder pattern than the Carrara Bianco featured in this kitchen and I’m so crazy about it! It looks like the real thing, I’m so impressed with this pattern.




I chose all the finishes and helped install the backsplash, however I must applaud Warren and his partner Jimmy from COTS and give them so much credit for doing most of the labor in this space, well done! It was a great group effort and a transformation to be proud of! The veteran tenants move in soon so I was happy to see it completed in time.


Hope you enjoyed the tour of this budget kitchen renovation!

Sources for products used below (with the exception of hardware):

flooring / cabinets / sink / faucet / range hood / backsplash tile / countertop



  1. Another great job, Kate! I love seeing the generosity of Home Depot, again! And, World Market! I’m sure the Vets that will be using that kitchen will appreciate everyone’s help with the project and the beautiful result! Thank you from this “sister of a veteran”! ???

  2. Kate you nailed this space! From the grounded dark cabinets to that beautiful countertop which unites those dark lowers to the white uppers – perfection! What a wonderful cause too! Our veterans deserve it. Thank you for being such a wonderful example and for sharing your impeccable design style with us all!

  3. It is a beautiful kitchen! I’m planning new Formica countertops soon – what is the name of the edge you used here? I love how it doesn’t have that black seam laminate counters are know for. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • It was one of the rounded edges Sarah, there are several choices, I’ll look it up!

  4. Hi Kate, I also have a galley kitchen and installed subway tile for the backsplash in white marble. Would using this countertop both make my countertop look less real next to the backsplash, and would it be too busy of a look? Thanks for any insight. Sara

    • I think you’d be just fine Sara but order samples first and take a peek at the more subtle carrara bianco pattern too.

  5. Kate, this is just perfect! I really appreciate your ability to make black refrigerators look attractive! ☺️ I look forward to seeing your backsplash choices because they are always both classic and a little edgy. The reflected light from this one is beautiful. And that countertop is gorgeous! It’s so nice that you combine the upscale hood and hardware with the less expensive larger items and the total effect is a kitchen anyone would be happy to work in.

  6. It looks like there was a dishwasher previously. That’s one feature I would like in a kitchen.

    • I agree Monica, a dishwasher is customary in most kitchens, but for this household the rule is to wash up by hand immediately after cooking and eating so it was eliminated for that reason. I’d also include a pantry in a residential remodel but the purpose of this kitchen is different therefore it required two refrigerators to share among residents instead of a pantry and single refrigerator. Good observation!

  7. Love that you volunteer your talents! The kitchen looks great and the backsplash is awesome and fun!

  8. So beautiful, great job! Can you put a link to the lights in the ceiling please, just love them! Thank you!

  9. That cabinet line has pretty dreadful reviews on the Home Depot site, did you have any problems with them?

    • Hi Jane, I saw the mixed reviews too, it depends on the cabinet you click on some reviews are great some not so great. We inspected each one and had no problems with either, they were easy to install and look great. You should know the doors are not wood they’re wrapped particle board. They were all we could afford given our budget so our hope is that they hold up to wear and tear over the years. Fingers crossed.

  10. We are a retired military family – I appreciate your thoughtfulness in design and making it beautiful for our vets. They deserve it.

  11. Thank you so much for your work for so many in need, Kate. You have such a generous spirit. And you have so much talent for creating beauty on a budget. I’m with Kim about the black appliances. I would never CHOOSE black but you just proved how possible it is to create drama and high style using what you already have. So many people would feel they had to have stainless and a whopping portion of their limited budget would go there. Black (and white appliances which I have and like) used creatively as you have can speak volumes in a quiet voice versus the sometimes loud and cold “look at me” voice of stainless steel. Another super great job!

  12. This is magnificent! Using the dark lower cabinets to tie in the two massive black refrigerators was genius. I have a small, galley-ish, 54-year-old kitchen (with the original, 54-year-old metal cabinets with faux-wood fronts), and I’ve been struggling for 17 years (!) to come up with a plan. I’m going to think through how to adapt what you’ve done here for my space. Love your blog!

  13. Nailed it, Kate! I just picked up the Calacatta Marble sample and I absolutely love it! Where are the blinds from?

  14. Hi there! Beautiful kitchen! Can you please share the manufacturer of the lights in kitchen? Also from Home Depot? Thank you!

  15. This turned out so well. Working on a project that is for the greater good always holds a special place to me, I hope it does for you as well. My favorite parts of this renovation are both the fun tile and the adorable seating area. I love the table that you chose. When people are walking in and out you need to space, so the small round table you chose is the perfect size.

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