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How Sara’s New Galley Kitchen ACTUALLY LOOKS In The Everyday And How It Functions For Their Needs

This post wouldn’t be possible without the support of a handful of amazing brands, who partnered with us. Thanks to KitchenAid, Caesarstone, Kokeena, and Rejuvenation for helping this kitchen come to life.

Two weeks ago I revealed my kitchen reno, and showed y’all the perfectly styled photos. Today I’m going to be sharing a bit more about how the kitchen functions, along with photos that show how the kitchen looks on a more normal day.

As always, I think we need to start with a floorplan review…

When we bought the house in 2018, the only way to get into the primary bedroom was through the kitchen. There was a small laundry-type room between the kitchen and the primary bedroom, where the previous owners had likely kept their washer and dryer, and also housed the entries into both the primary bedroom and primary bath. When we began renovating the house, we decided to close that space off from the kitchen (turning that small space into our walk-in closet), and create an entry into the primary bedroom through the adjacent bedroom (which we turned into our TV room). It’s not ideal to have a whole section of wall you can’t use for anything, in an already small kitchen, because it’s a door.

We also used to have a door to our side yard at the back of the kitchen, and an off-center window that the cabinets protruded into. We decided to close both of these as well, and instead install a single window in the center of the wall. 

I wrote so many more more posts about this kitchen than even I remembered. You can see how I went from a $3000 kitchen makeover, to a full-blown renovation, to a functional-but-unfinished space, to the final reveal. You can even check out my unused budget designs. But the post I’d like to direct your attention to right now is this cabinet layout post, where I went through the entire process of deciding how we were going to install our cabinets and plan the use of the space. It’s a meaty post, and included these kitchen renderings Julie helped me with (and by help I mean, did for me out of the unknown depths of her heart):

I had completely forgotten about these! And I have to say, I think the finished product is pretty spot on.

Alright, let’s get FUNCTIONAL.

Faucet | Soap Dispenser | Sink | Arched Cutting Board | Brass Rail System | Sconce | Runner Rug | Flushmount | Window Valance | Curtain Rod | Brass Outlet Cover | Rubber Mat

On the left, we’ve got the “picture day” version of my kitchen, and on the right the “everyday” version. I’m sure there were some of you who were expecting them to look WAY DIFFERENT from each other, but the truth is I really tried to keep the kitchen styling for the reveal as close to realistic as I could stand. When it comes to shoots, we usually tear a place apart to create one shot, and then have to put it all back together. I tried really hard not to do that for this shoot (and for my sanity). I wanted to style it using 99% of items I already had or knew I would keep after the shoot.

So let’s spot the differences – Normally, we keep our electric kettle out on the counter and use it throughout the day for coffee and tea day. We got a really pretty, fancy pour-over kettle as a wedding gift (which we asked for on our registry), but realized that while it was beautiful, it just poured water too… slowly? Apparently, you want that when you do a pour-over. And so, we went back to this kettle my mom got for me from Costco. Old faithful. Also, we feed our cats in the kitchen, right under the window. Their bowls are pretty (ceramics that I made), but they’re messy little monsters so we keep a simple rubber mat under their bowls at all times. The cabinets above the fridge are where we store less-used kitchen appliances (air fryer, crockpot, juicer, etc.).

KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Ninja Professional Blender | Brass Bookends | Seagrass Woven Hanging Baskets | Rattan Hanging Baskets | Black Garlic Keeper

KitchenAid Appliances

Our KitchenAid stand mixer is one of my all-time favorite kitchen appliances, and has a permanent home on the counter. But on a normal day, so does our blender, because I make smoothies just about every day. I also have a slightly more extensive cookbook collection, which was culled for aesthetic purposes on reveal shoot day. And I’ll admit, that basil was still alive for the everyday shoot, but it’s since been all used up.

While we’re only two people, I effectively make enough dishes in a day for a family of four. I make 2-3 meals a day in the kitchen, and I’m not conservative with getting pots, pans, plates, etc. dirty. We go through spoons the fastest. So oftentimes our KitchenAid 44dBA Dishwasher with Panel-Ready Design (wonderfully bestowed upon us by KitchenAid) is working hard. Not having a sink piled with dishes is such a game-changer for my clutter-body, especially when I don’t have the time or energy to cook and then clean. Because I work at the dining table with a perfect view of the sink, it makes my skin itchy to try and focus when the sink and counter are cluttered. You can find additional game-changers by exploring KitchenAid(R) Suite Collections here.

Clear Deep Drawer Organizers

Here’s a quick peek into our “junk” drawer – which is actually fairly organized, no thanks to me. Macauley runs this drawer and is constantly upkeeping it. We’ve got common household repair items (screwdriver, caulk, level, measuring tape, box cutter, etc.), batteries, and first aid. We’ve been taking the drawer organizing game pretty seriously in our house, and you can find us at The Container Store or Target on a Sunday laying out drawer inserts into a measured square on the floor figuring out what layout would work the best. Apparently, there are people you can hire to do this for you if you’re super serious about it, but we prefer to drive ourselves slowly insane instead. 

Brass Switchplate | Rattan Tray | Honey Jar | French Press | Countertop

Here’s a closer look at our everyday coffee corner. We’ve usually got the french press out next to the kettle or drying in the sink. And I hang another dishtowel on this side of the sink for easy grabbing. Our counters (from Caesarstone) really shine here, because they’re super easy to clean up, and this area does get a lot of action. They’ve also proven super durable so far.

Having the hanging towel on an eye-level hook next to the sink is a super small change that has really made a difference in my paper towel consumption. My brain doesn’t have to do the mental gymnastics of trying to locate a nearby dish towel and instead just reaching for a paper towel. We keep our paper towels up on the top shelf, where we can reach them in case of cat vomit situations, but otherwise keep them pretty out-of-sight-out-of-mind. 

Under the coffee corner is where our pull-out trash cans are, with a little drawer on top to store our aluminum foil, parchment paper, etc. This double drawer and trashcan setup is an amazing way to sneak just a little bit more storage into the space.

Cabinet Fronts | Brass Hardware | 12 Cup Food Storage Container | 2.7qt Food Storage Container | 4.3qt Food Storage Container

Heading over to the other side of the kitchen, let’s see what’s behind each of these beautiful cabinet doors (from Kokeena’s Townsend collection).

At the tippy-top of the tall cabinet is where I store my pantry overflow (bags of flour that had too much flour to fully decant, or items that I use less frequently like coconut flour). Next shelf down is snack foods – cereal, ramen, cookies…

The top shelf of the lower cabinet contains vitamins/coffee/tea/supplements (in a lazy susan type spinner that keeps it all contained), next is the microwave, then a thin drawer for more specialized cooking utensils we don’t reach for as often (meat thermometer, mandolin, etc.), a deeper drawer for mixing bowls and large measuring cups, and then a super deep bottom drawer where we keep all the cat supplies. Having the cat food tucked away in a pull-out drawer right next to the cat food bowls makes for a pretty easy feeding routine.

Next up, our “everyday” pantry items mostly live in the wall-hung cabinet to the left of the oven. We’ll take a closer look at that further down. Moving onto the lower drawers – first is spices, next is baking supplies (pans, racks, etc.), and lastly – my favorite drawer – our dry goods pantry, where I store different kinds of flours, sugars, and the like.

Because our kitchen is a galley shape, we didn’t have space for a walk-in pantry, so I had to get creative with the storage. I reach for pantry items a lot, so I wanted them in easy-to-access spaces. OXO’s biggest containers just happen to perfectly fit into Ikea’s deepest drawers – a match made in kitchen organization heaven. 

Black Top 16oz Food Storage Container | Rice Cooker | In-Drawer Spice Rack | White Lid Food Storage Container | Large Expand-A-Shelf | Turn Table (similar)

Here’s how our upper cabinets are organized. We’ve got a lazy susan in there for all the oils and vinegars, some leveled risers from The Container Store to make space for canned goods and the like, and some bigger containers for everyday grains and starches.

Our spice drawer makes it super easy to access any type of spice or bullion we’d need during cooking, and the lay-flat design makes it easy to identify each bottle. And as promised, here’s where our Zojirushi lives. We pull it forward when we use it, so the steam doesn’t get trapped under the cabinet, but it stays there full time.

Knife Block | Cutting Board

Left – perfectly styled. Right – slightly more chaotic. We always have this large cutting board out on the counter (linking to our new Boos cutting board that we’ve replaced the cutting boards in the photo with since the shoot!), because it’s where I butter toast, chop veggies, prep sandwiches, all of it every day. Right next to our knife block, and a crock filled with a lot more cooking utensils than seen on reveal day.

The floating cabinet on this side houses all our cups, plates (most of our bigger serving ware lives out in the bar cabinet you can see in the dining room). Top drawer is additional cooking utensils and flatware, the middle drawer is cooking pans, and the bottom drawer is stock pots and dutch ovens. And the tall cabinet on the right side is where we keep all our cleaning supplies (you can’t see them but our broom and Swiffer live on the inner left wall). The cleaning supplies rack pulls out of the cabinet, making it super easy to access all of the supplies.

So that’s it – that’s what our kitchen looks like on a normal day versus a styled day. I tried my best to create a space that not only looks nice, but I’m actually able to keep looking clean and organized because the storage is super functional. So far, it’s been working really well, and the streamlining of working in the kitchen is great. I don’t know if we have the “golden” triangle ratio that everyone raves about for kitchens, but having the range and sink directly across from one another is *chefs kiss*, we’ve got plenty of counter space due to the brass rails (from Rejuvenation) and the floating shelf, and almost all of our pantry, dishware, and appliances are stored behind our pretty cabinetry. Admittedly we’re only two people and don’t have kids, so we may have less “stuff” than a larger family.

But this is what works for our family right now, and I’m pretty proud of how functional it is.

*Design and Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp
**Styled by Emily Bowser

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2 years ago

Sara this was so fun, thank you!! Your kitchen is gorgeous every day.
EHD I would love for this to be a regular feature for every reveal – a followup “…and here’s how it is every day” post. From a production perspective, this could be two back-to-back photo shoots where your team arrives and shoots the space “as-is” and THEN styles it and shoots it for the first reveal.
Of course many spaces won’t be as gorgeous every day as Sara’s but that’s totally okay! It would be so interesting.
Again, thank you Sara and EHD, this was lovely!

2 years ago
Reply to  Vera

Totally agree! I personally kind of side eye a lot of the organization posts here because they come across as styled product placement to me, particularly the ones shot in the mountain house where no one is living full-time. But this seemed very authentic, and I was actually able to take some ideas away, put a few products in my shopping cart, and enjoy the backdrop of Sara’s beautiful kitchen – wins all around!

2 years ago
Reply to  BW

Also would love updates to see how people like their makeovers. Like 2 years later. Also it would give info to how things hold up

I like seeing how you make this functional. Very helpful as I think about how to make our kitchen more functional. i want a spice drawer!

2 years ago

This is great! Please share the source for the pullout organizer for the cleaning supplies. I have been looking for this very thing for months! Thanks!

2 years ago
Reply to  Kristi

IKEA had one. Not sure it’s the exact one used here, but it’s very similar – google UTRUSTA 😊

2 years ago
Reply to  Amy

Thank you!!

2 years ago

What a beauty, whether styled or not. I am someone who uses my kitchen all day, every day so I appreciate this kind of post that focuses on function. That’s what home is about – how we use it.

2 years ago

The color is so calm and vintage. I have to try that.

2 years ago

I love peeking inside people’s cabinets! This is so very beautiful and functional. Just curious, Sara, do you regularly use a toaster and where do you keep it? We keep ours out all the time since we use near daily.

2 years ago
Reply to  Ali

Our toaster is used daily and we keep it in a drawer or cabinet right near the outlet. Less clutter to pick up and clean and less visual clutter. My kids and husband even put it up after every use bc it is so easy to do

Lisa H
2 years ago

What a functional and beautiful small kitchen!
I too cook and prepare food all day long, and run the dishwasher everyday…for two people. I am fine with that since I learned how little water modern dishwashers use.
The one thing I’d recommend is buying several of these cutting boards.
I have three sizes, in two different colors. I lean them up against the backsplash, and prop them with a walnut bookend. They are light weight and the two smaller ones fit right into the dishwasher. They also have this brand, that are Frank Lloyd Wright designs, only at Crate and Barrel.
That junk drawer is a thing of beauty!

2 years ago

Yes, I expected the “real life” version to be different. 🙂 You keep things so neat.

It doesn’t look like you have much room in the kitchen for food storage. How often do you have to grocery shop?

My galley kitchen is smaller than yours, and early in the pandemic, where to keep all of the dry/canned goods became a game of tetris. Even storing food in out of sight places out of the kitchen, I don’t have enough room to store all of the emergency food/water I would like to have in case of earthquakes.

2 years ago

Thanks for sharing your floor plan! Love how this kitchen uses the space so efficiently. Do you mind sharing where you have laundry set up now?

2 years ago

LOVE this “reveal”!!!

2 years ago

I LOVE seeing how people organize their kitchens for functionality! And even your “not shoot-ready” daily version is extremely curated and beautiful. I also adore seeing how you’ve hung some artwork above the cat feeding station! We have our cats’ dishes set up against this weird sort of half-wall in our house, and I’ve been thinking about hanging a mini gallery wall for them (mostly for my own amusement, of course.) Ours are both terribly messy eaters too, so we put down a vinyl mat I found on Etsy. It adds some pretty pattern and color and it’s super easy to wipe up.

2 years ago
Reply to  michaela

I love the gallery idea for our cat! That would be hilarious 😂 Personally I use a cork placemat under her bowls – I like the look of the material and that it’s biodegradable, and it’s done the job, but a vinyl one would last longer.

Honestly it might just be time when the latest one starts to warp too much – been working through a $7 pack of placemats from ikea for years. (desktop/mousepad? Cut up on the windowsills under plant pots? Outside? At the bottom of a drawer to stop slipping? All cut up cork placemats everywhere…)

2 years ago

This is lovely! The everyday version is just as nice as the styled-for-reveal version, maybe better. It is a wonderful place, very thoughtfully designed and executed. Just wondering — I also have a sink across from the range, but I do all my chopping next to the sink for easy cleanup; I am a very messy chopper. The cutting board I use is not too heavy to just pick up and swivel, then take a step to the range top.

2 years ago

Love seeing how real people live! More posts like this, please!

2 years ago

I really enjoyed this reveal beyond the reveal. It is so interesting to how an everyday (yet designed) kitchen looks, and what appliances are left in on the counters, etc. Plus I loved seeing inside the cabinets – I am always curious how others organize their cupboards, especially since I have a small galley kitchen as well. Like another commenter said, I would love to see more of these behind the scenes following reveals as well. Or even six or twelve months down the line – to see what has changed, what has stayed the same.

Sarah Lovinger, MD
2 years ago

Grammar police here. The title of this post mixes two subjects ‘Sara’s new kitchen’ and ‘their,’ which is confusing to the reader. You should be consistent with use of singular or plural subjects. Hope this is helpful.

2 years ago

Former professional proofreader here. 🙂 Good news: it’s fine to use “they / them / theirs” to refer to just one person, especially if that person prefers it!

2 years ago

I am HERE for all the organized drawers and cabinets. This is beautiful, Sara!

2 years ago

This is super useful, as I also have a small galley kitchen (with FOUR doors) and a barfy cat. Beautiful space and great organization.

2 years ago

These details are so helpful & practical! Thank you for creating this informative & inspiring post! Also: we love all your posts, Sara! Hope to see more of your parents’ home, too!

2 years ago

To be really very very honest I am always amazed when I actually look at you that despite being yourself so very knowledgeable how come you just keep benefitting others as well as helping others with it. Thanksgivings for the very knowledge sharing that you actually do for others.

2 years ago

I like seeing how you make this functional. Very helpful as I think about how to make our kitchen more functional.

2 years ago

LOVE this post. Not only because I swoon over this kitchen, but highly styled design content is so… unliveable. Seeing how these spaces work and work for the people that live there, and admitting we all have a non-Pinterest/insta life is refreshing and so valuable. Please do more of this!

2 years ago

Wow!You are showing excellent understanding!
Thank you so much for sharing all this wonderful info. You always have good humor in your posts/blogs. So much fun and easy to read!

2 years ago

You should be proud! This is amazing. Great tip on the towels too!