See how former professional organizer Lela Burris organizes her own kitchen cabinets and drawers in this exclusive look inside her newly remodeled 1970s galley style kitchen.
It took me three years and two phases of kitchen remodeling to get this space the way I want it, and I can safely say that it is now the most functional kitchen I’ve ever owned. Sure, it’s a galley layout, so it’s long and narrow. And sure, the cabinets are still fifty years old since we only refaced them. But I am more than in love with the way it turned out, and I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. Ready for the full reveal of my kitchen remodel and a look inside every cabinet and drawer? Come on over to Cardinal Hill and join me for a cup of tea in the kitchen.
Our Galley Kitchen Layout
When we started Phase One of the remodel, we decided not to change the layout and just reface the cabinets while leaving all the appliances and cabinets in place. This was partly due to budget constraints, but also because it seemed to flow as well as a galley layout could.
The left side of the kitchen houses the laundry closet turned pantry, along with the wine fridge, range, sink, and dishwasher. Those are across from our utility closet, drink station, refrigerator, and freestanding island. I really wanted to add extra cabinetry where the island is, but the only air return vent in the whole house is there, and moving it would have been really difficult. So the island gave me extra storage and prep space without blocking the vent’s airflow.
Watch The Full Tour On Youtube
The Four Zones Of My Galley Kitchen
During my career as a professional organizer, the most important part of putting together a kitchen for a client was to create clear zones. Zones can make or break your kitchen’s functionality, and it’s as important as the layout. In my kitchen, I have the following four zones:
- Food Prep & Dining Zone
- Cooking Zone
- Beverage Zone
- Family Hub Zone
The Food Prep & Dining Zone
The space where my dishwasher and sink are located is my Food Prep and Dining Zone. It’s the storage space that is closest to the dining room, so it’s the optimal place to keep our dishes and eating utensils. In this space, there are two upper cabinets, one standard lower cabinet, one under-sink cabinet, and one drawer.
Our dishes are stored in the larger upper cabinet closest to the dining room and conveniently right beside the dishwasher. This makes emptying it really fast and easy. Our plates and pasta bowls are stacked on the lowest shelf, standard bowls and snack bowls in the middle, and serving dishes are on the top shelf. This little shelf riser helps everything fit on the top shelf without having to downstack it all to get to what we need.
The upper cabinet next door holds our food storage containers. In an effort to cut down on clutter, I ditched my mismatched containers for these two sets and vowed to make sure the lids never got lost again. On the bottom shelf are the plastic container sets, and the next two shelves are the glass food storage dishes. We use the glass ones for leftovers we plan on eating at home, and the plastic ones get used when my husband takes leftovers to work.
Under the upper cabinets is this extra wide drawer we use for our silverware and knives. I decided to save space by buying this three piece set of utensils instead of the standard five piece set. We didn’t really need two sizes of forks, and we already have a set of teaspoons in our tea drawer, so this smaller set made sense for us. I used an expandable bamboo organizer for the utensils and this bamboo knife block for all our prep knives.
The cabinet under the silverware drawer holds all our lunch prep items. Plastic baggies are stored in these bamboo organizers for easy access, and lunch boxes are stored below. Since the tupperware containers are right above this cabinet, we can prep lunches and leftovers all in one place. These pull-out drawers make accessing the lower cabinets so much easier on our backs, too.
Under the sink, I added more pull-out drawer options since this space is so hard to get to. The pull-out trash can is one of my favorite features, and these stackable drawers work well for holding supplies. Our kitchen cleaning supplies are stored in this high-wall turntable, and dish spray and sponges live on the cabinet door in these adhesive caddies.
The Cooking Zone
The next zone in my kitchen layout is the cooking zone. This space consists of one upper cabinet, one base cabinet, one standard drawer, one large tower cabinet, and one large drawer. The tower used to be a large opening for two wall ovens, but we added cabinet doors to the top and framed out a small wine fridge in the bottom half of the opening. There’s also a cabinet door above the hood vent, but the only thing inside is the exhaust vent.
The upper cabinet to the right of the stove holds our oils, vinegars, other baking supplies, mixing bowls, and measuring cups. The liquid bottles are stored on a small turntable and the mixing bowls are separated by a large shelf riser. The gold measuring cups are stored inside the cabinet door on adhesive hooks.
The wide drawer beside the stove holds all our cooking utensils and gadgets. Instead of trying to find drawer trays large enough to fit the long spoons and spatulas, I used these bamboo dividers to customize the drawer exactly how I needed it. And by replacing our mismatched cooking utensils with this matching set, they all are the same size so they fit perfectly together.
The cabinet below holds glass baking dishes and additional baking supplies that don’t have a home anywhere else in the kitchen. I added pull out drawers to this cabinet, too, because the glass dishes are pretty heavy when they’re stacked, so this makes them easier to get to without having to squat down and pull them all out.
And to the right of the stove is the storage tower cabinet. The upper cabinet holds my cookware stacked on shelf risers for quick-grabbing. I hate having pots and pans nested because it’s always a hassle to get them out. Baking sheets and cutting boards are divided and stored vertically in this organizer, so taking just one out at a time is a breeze.
The Beverage Zone
The next zone in my galley-style kitchen layout is the beverage zone. This area is kind of tucked in a nook between a closet and the refrigerator, so it’s not very functional for food prep. We decided to turn it into our coffee and tea nook, and we used the extra cabinets below for overflow kitchen storage.
The upper cabinet closest to the refrigerator holds our drinking glasses and mugs. We like to have a fun variety of mugs, so in order to make them all fit I added a smaller version of the shelf risers used on the other side of the kitchen. My son is taller than both me and my husband, so his mugs go on the top shelf. No stepladder needed for him!
The other upper cabinet in this zone holds our pet treats and medicines. We keep pet treats in these airtight containers, and they always come running when they hear that ‘pop’ sound of the lid. Medicine and vitamins are kept in a turntable on the bottom shelf. And a clipboard is hung on the inside of the door with an adhesive hook to hold pet medication schedules and canned food lids.
We drink coffee every morning and have tea every afternoon, so our stash is always loaded. The three drawers in the beverage zone hold all our teas and coffees. This bamboo pod organizer keeps coffee easily accessible, and these expandable dividers allow us to divide up tea bags by type and category. We also keep teaspoons here so we don’t have to go to the other side of the kitchen just to stir in some honey.
Under the drawers is one large base cabinet that we store all our extra kitchen supplies like specialty pans, additional cutting boards, charcuterie boards, and travel containers for entertaining. This is really just overflow, so I didn’t add the pull out drawers here. I just stood all the items vertically inside various dividers like these so they’re easy to get to and it doesn’t become an avalanche of stuff over time.
The Family Hub Zone
The final zone in our kitchen is the Family Hub Zone. I added this island with an open bottom to allow air to still flow to the return vent behind it, and I leave about a foot of a gap between the island and the wall just to be safe.
The island drawers are currently empty, but they will eventually be our mail station and “junk drawer” stuff. Our main source of entry is through this garage door, so shoes are typically lined up underneath the island shelf. And inside those big baskets are all my cookbooks.
Since this is our main entry point, we keep a family command center here, too. A calendar, to-do lists, and file folders for each family member keeps us on track and up to date on everything we have going on for the month. We also hang keys, purses, and wallets on the hooks so nothing gets forgotten on our way in or out the door.
Want A Look Inside The Pantry & Utility Closet?
I recently posted a full tour of my kitchen on YouTube and included the first look at my almost-organized utility closet and pantry. Take a firsthand look around the entire room and inside every drawer, cabinet, closet, and even the secondary storage spaces in my dining room for the items that wouldn’t fit in the kitchen. And if you need help planning your own organized kitchen, check out my Kitchen Organization Planner in the Organized-ish Shop.
Where do you keep your small appliances and food? Is there a pantry as well?
Brad Gandy says
Hi Ashley, we keep small appliances other than the microwave and coffee maker (like a food processor) in a separate pantry right off the kitchen. It’s a converted unused laundry closet that we built to better organize allergen-free foods before the remodel, and it’s still serving us well. Thanks for stopping by!
Tim Yakich says
And the spice rack/drawer? How did that get left out of this article?
Brad Gandy says
Hi Tim, spices are stored in a separate pantry, which was an unused laundry closet before. Happy to help!