Remodel Galley Kitchens In Split Level Homes

Galley kitchens tucked into split level homes present unique challenges. The confined layouts, disjointed floors, and often inadequate lighting make these spaces feel cramped and disconnected. However, with smart planning and strategic renovations, we can transform these outdated kitchens into stunning showpieces.

The inherent structure of a split level house allows creative possibilities not feasible in traditional homes. By taking advantage of the multi-tiered floors and reworking existing architecture, we can remodel galley kitchens to feel open, modern and uniquely customized for split level living.

Assessing Your Existing Galley Kitchen

Before finalizing kitchen remodel plans, we need to thoroughly evaluate the existing galley space. This allows us to identify limitations to address and opportunities to capitalize on during renovations.

Take Measurements and Create Floorplans

The first step entails meticulously measuring the kitchen including all walls, windows, doorways, and existing cabinets and appliances. Be sure to note sloped ceilings, soffits, or other unique structural elements. After compiling measurements, create detailed floorplans mapping out the current kitchen layout.

In addition to standard floorplans, develop diagrams tracing walkways and work triangles between cabinets, appliances and countertops. This illuminates disruptions in the space curtailing efficiency.

Identify Traffic Flow Issues and Work Triangles

Galley kitchens inherently struggle with limited pathways and cramped work areas. Common issues in split level homes include:

  • Bottlenecks near the top or bottom of stairs
  • Appliances that require excessive reaching over counters
  • Poor alignment between the refrigerator, stove and sink dictating too many extra steps

Note obstacles on the floorplans to address in remodels through revised layouts and appliance relocations.

split level home kitchen remodel

Look for Wasted Spaces and Storage Shortfalls

Next, analyze the existing kitchen for unused spaces that could transform into storage areas or additional counter space. Consider knocking down walls, replacing cabinets with shelving, or adding islands or peninsulas to unlock wasted square footage.

Further assess current storage solutions and determine if expanded capacity could benefit the new kitchen. With split levels, we must strategize storage to minimize repeatedly transporting items up and down stairs.

Consider Lighting, Ventilation, Plumbing Limitations

Finally, evaluate practical elements impacting the enjoyment of the renovated kitchen including:

  • Lighting : Many split level kitchens have minimal natural light. Check for opportunities to add skylights or custom windows.
  • Ventilation : Note outdated hood systems, small ductwork inhibiting air flow.
  • Plumbing : Assess water flow limitations, outdated drain piping, insufficient hot water delivery.

Planning and Budgeting Your Remodel

With existing conditions fully documented, we can strategize an improved layout and develop realistic budgets.

Develop Must-Have List and Prioritize Dreams

First, detail every upgrade you hoped to complete. Don’t hold back on far-fetched dreams! Then review the list through a split level lens to identify ideas that seamlessly align with your architecture.

For example, a wine station could replace unused stairs while a prep sink tucked near the entryway avoids regular trips downstairs. Finally, note absolute must-haves vs. nice-to-have elements.

Calculate Costs for Demo, Construction, Finishes

Now tally projected price tags for the remodel including necessary structural changes, chosen finishes and desired amenities. Be sure quotes encompass the multi-floor scope of work. Depending on the customization, costs typically range from $30,000 to $120,000.

Get Quotes From Contractors and Suppliers

Solicit itemized quotes from multiple general contractors outlining all projected remodel costs. We also recommend pricing installation fees and materials from cabinet suppliers, countertop fabricators and flooring companies.

Apply for Permits and Secure Financing

With budget targets set, finalize required building permits for the remodel scope. Moreover, secure financing now, so funds are ready when needed.

Optimizing the Layout

When renovating a split level kitchen, layout modifications establish the foundation for functionality and style.

Knock Down Walls to Open Concept If Feasible

We maximize perceived space by incorporating sightlines between rooms. So if structurally possible, let’s knock down walls enclosing the kitchen. This seamlessly blends living areas and fosters flexibility.

Install an Island, Peninsula or Both

Islands or peninsulas architecturally bridge kitchens with adjoining spaces. Plus, they notably expand counter space and storage. To choose between them, weigh existing floorplans and traffic flow. Typically, galley kitchens have room for one or the other unless we significantly expand square footage.

Strategize Cabinet Configurations

Arranging cabinetry in a split level requires balancing function and form. Review intended appliance locations and typical kitchen work triangles to align cabinets conveniently. Also map where expanded storage makes sense, allowing you to stash everything from pots and pans to cleaning supplies out of sight.

Note ceiling height limitations and awkward soffits that could impact cabinet depths. Finally, incorporate specialty organizers as needed from spice pull-outs to vertical knife blocks.

Determine Best Appliance Placements

Appliance placement depends on kitchen shape, entranceways and venting routes. Galley kitchens often allow lining up most appliances along one wall. But double check stove and hood alignments so exhaust pipes route directly outdoors.

Also consider rerouting plumbing and electrical beforehand to avoid appliances crammed into corners. This prevents strained necks and makes appliances fully accessible.

Include Banquette Seating, Bar Stools Etc.

To further connect the kitchen with living areas, incorporate customized seating. Banquettes lining walls save space while providing additional storage. Or add a small bar area for quick meals and casual mingling. Seating arrangements make the space multifunctional.

Selecting Finishes and Materials

Strategic design choices help kitchen upgrades align with the home’s existing architecture and decor.

Choose Durable, Low-Maintenance Countertops

Countertops endure daily wear-and-tear in kitchens. So select durable, low-maintenance materials like quartz that easily wipe clean. Quartz also fits most budgets, with the look of natural stone without the maintenance.

Pick Backsplashes and Flooring That Withstands Daily Wear

Similarly, backsplashes and floors must withstand stains, spills and heavy activity. Water-resistant porcelain or ceramic tile works well for both. Just avoid slick tiles with glossy finishes–opt for textures adding traction.

Decide on Cabinet Door Styles and Hardware

The style of cabinetry dramatically impacts kitchen aesthetics. Determine your preferred decorative door look from simple Shaker to ornate cathedral. Additionally, pull handles and knobs introduce eye-catching metals like black iron, brass or brushed nickel.

Compare Brands for Appliances, Sinks, Faucets

Research brands offering appliance suites to coordinate metals, handles and finishes for a cohesive look. Additionally, select sink and faucet styles aligning with your preferred design aesthetics from modern and sleek to traditionally ornate.

Order Coordinating Fixtures and Accessories

Tie everything together with complementary light fixtures, pendant lamps, bar stools and hardware. Mixing metal finishes adds depth, so combine bronze fixtures with silver cabinet knobs. But adhere to an overarching style for cohesion.

Overcoming Split Level Challenges

Kitchens tucked into staggered split levels need unique solutions to limited space, tricky architecture, and disconnected floors. Careful planning addresses common pitfalls.

Adjust Ceiling Heights and Soffits If Needed

Split level blueprints often incorporate slanted ceilings and solid soffits that limit cabinetry options. But with some renovations, we can modify architecture opening up the space. Consult structural engineers about safely leveling ceiling lines, eliminating soffits, or raising lowered segments.

Repair or Replace Worn Staircases

We must rework cramped, narrow or winding stairs between kitchen tiers impeding movement. Open up staircases by removing walls alongside flights. Or reconfigure stairs to straight, smooth runs allowing better traffic flow between floors.

Improve Lighting and Ventilation

Strategically placed lighting keeps dark kitchen crannies illuminated. Add accents like under cabinet lighting for prepping and decorative fixtures over islands. Similarly, update ventilation routing hood exhaust outside without lingering odors.

Streamline Work Triangles and Storage Despite Stairs

When distributing appliances and cabinets, ensure efficient work triangles minimizing repetitive stair trips. Also incorporate specialized pull-outs, lazy susans and vertical storage so everything necessary resides conveniently together on each separate floor.

Embracing Open Shelving and Glass Railings

Visually connecting disjointed floors makes small split level kitchens appear more expansive and unified.

Install Glass Railings Along Staircases

Swap dated spindles for glass panels or plexiglass on staircase railings. This maintains safety standards while allowing natural light to permeate from adjoining rooms. The transparent barrier makes the space feel brighter and less disconnected.

Incorporate Transparent Cabinet Doors

Similarly, glass-front cabinet doors seamlessly blend rooms together even when walking between floors. Displaying dishes, glassware and decorative items offers glimpses into adjoining spaces fracturing the kitchen boundaries.

Use Metal Mesh or Glass for Upper Cabinets

Further dissolve visual barriers with metal mesh or glass replacing existing upper cabinet doors. Open shelving also connects rooms, so swap a few enclosed cabinets for handy display ledges.

Display Collections on Open Shelving

Finally, make good use of open shelves lining staircases or walls to exhibit treasured dish sets, pans and personalized knickknacks. This draws the eye upward, making rooms feel bigger.

Incorporating On-Trend Elements

Alongside renovating layout, lighting and architecture, update finishes for a fresh, modern split level kitchen.

Mix Metals, Two-Tone Cabinetry for Modern Edge

Two-tone kitchens with light and dark contrasting cabinets make compact rooms appear more expansive. For contemporary edge, choose Shaker-style cabinetry and blend metal finishes on hardware and fixtures.

Include Smart Home Tech and Voice Assistance

Consider incorporating smart home conveniences allowing mobile control of lighting, thermostats and appliances. Budget permitting, integrate voice command capabilities for hands-free adjustments.

Add Pops of Color with Appliances or Tiles

Bold paint colors or brightly colored tiles provide an easy affordable way to introduce vibrant accents. Alternatively make a statement with an exotic range hood or brightly colored refrigerator. This adds personality without overpowering space.

Embrace Industrial Touches Like Exposed Ductwork

Finally, expose existing architectural elements like joists, brick walls or ductwork for distressed styling. Mix with propagated plants, pendant lighting and reclaimed wood accents to complete the industrial edge.

Choosing Contractors and Finalizing Plans

With the perfect design formulated and finances secured, selecting qualified contractors provides peace of mind during renovations.

Vet and Hire General Contractor

A general contractor serves as the project manager, overseeing the entire remodel scope, timeline and crew coordination. Vet references, licensing status and examples of previous split level remodels to choose the best fit. Clearly detail all expectations in a contract before signing.

Confirm Timelines and Communication Expectations

Map out a complete remodel schedule with projected demolition, construction and finishing dates built into the signed contract. Establish regular progress meetings plus protocols for addressing unexpected delays or change orders.

Pre-Order Cabinets, Appliances and Materials

Pre-order all necessary materials like cabinetry and appliances 8-12 weeks out from targeted delivery dates. This avoidsbottlenecks waiting on backordered items to finalize renovations.

Finally, confirm work crews are secured to start demolition or adjustments to load-bearing structures on schedule. Only once framework modifications complete do finishing crews begin constructing the gorgeous, reimagined kitchen.

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