Before & After: The Galley


So, this was the galley in Chance when we bought her. Complete with a single sink, an alcohol stove with a hole it didn’t fit in and a giant cooler set just far enough behind it that my 5’3″ frame could hardly get in to. The original space was approximately 50 inches wide by 40 inches deep – not exactly what galley dreams are made of. Basically, we hated it. Following the advice of some seasoned cruisers, we decided to make big changes.


Having never lived on a boat before I did a lot of research and compared my findings with what living in a 244 ft Brooklyn studio had taught me. I knew I could deal with a condensed space,  but I did need it bigger than 40″ x 50″. We decided to change the shape of the galley into a U-shape. I’m just a wee little person and this way I could stand in the middle to easily access all areas of the galley. In the “before” picture we basically cut the space where the sink was in about a foot. We also added counter space by cutting down the starboard settee (we really didn’t need all six sleeping bunks Chance came with) so we could make room for the double sink Jason just had to have.


{A nice size double sink complete with pull out faucet and built in soap dispenser. Bonus that our dish rack fits perfectly in the smaller basin.}

Next we upgraded the alcohol stove the boat came with to a gimbled 3-burner Hillerange stove/oven that we got a killer deal on. For those of you who don’t know a lot about boats I’ll clue you in to something. Marine stove/ovens are insanely expensive, so expensive they should be doing the cooking for you. In fact, anytime you add the word “marine” in front of something the price skyrockets. It is crazy. I had settled on the idea that we’d solely be cooking stovetop and had given up on baking for a while. Much to my surprise Jason surprised me with a fancy new to us stove/oven combo. I think he bought it so I could always make us brownies for long crossings.

Another big issue for us was the cooler. It had to go. This is our home, we didn’t want to feel like we were camping as we traveled. Most boat fridge/freezers are custom built to the specific size available on your boat. We didn’t have the money for that so we found a pre-made DC fridge/freezer on Amazon. The thing can be set as a fridge or freezer and is plenty big to store food for a couple weeks for us. We’re pretty sure it will crap out on us in a year or two, but we’ll deal with that then. For now we’re happily drinking iced coffees and eating ice cream.


{The bars easily lift off for access to the goodies behind.}


{We replaced the original ladder with a sturdier set of stairs that our dogs could easily get up and down. The whole stair case lifts up so we can gain access to the engine. The original galley drawers were cut down and put into the top stair, while one of the bigger drawers was taken from the port side bunk. The bottom stair has a lift up top with a cubbie inside.}

We added a ton of storage for all our pots, pans, wine and snacks. Behind the freezer, behind the stove, under the stove, behind the sink, below the sink and in the stairs are all stuffed to the max with our galley crap. We repurposed some of the original drawers and put them in the stairs which I really love. For our on the counter storage I came up with a removable bar to keep items in place. The bar sits on metal pegs to stay in place, but when you want to get something out, you just pull the bar up over the pegs. No more trying to twist and tilt the coffee creamer to get it over the bar. So far I’m loving this system.


A couple other fun things we added were a new faucet with a hose, a salt water foot pump, a built in soap dispenser, a beautifully designed spice rack, an anchor pull on top of the freezer panel and an over the stove countertop. The countertop is one of my favorite pieces. When you are using the stove, you can simply lift it up with the conveniently placed handle and slide it back behind the stove where it rests perfectly on a set of catches that keep it out harm’s way. Alternatively you can place it to the left of the sink and rest it on supports giving you some extra prep space! People may not be able to get in and out of the cabin, but who cares, I have room to chop my onions.



We have a few more finishing touches, but we’re both incredibly happy with how well everything has turned out and think our new galley will be perfect as we sail. What adjustments have you made? Or, want to make to your galley?

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Posted on by Kelley Gudahl in Boat Living, Boat Stuff, Repairs and Maintenance, The Blog 19 Comments

19 Responses to Before & After: The Galley

  1. Carolyn Shearlock - The Boat Galley

    Fantastic refit! You did a great job . . . love it!

    • Kelley Gudahl

      Thanks Carolyn! I got a LOT of the ideas from your site. You’ve played a huge role in our design.

  2. Laura

    You guys have done a really nice job here. The storage area in the steps was a great idea. The steps that go from our salon down into our berths have lids in them too. I keep my make up and hair products in one and my laundry supplies in the other. I love seeing how other cruisers find creative ways to store things.

    • Kelley Gudahl

      Hi Laura – I just read about these cool containers that you can mount from SV Estrellita 5.10b. I think they may be my next buy:

  3. Allan and Ellie Smith

    Great gallery of your galley. One question; What material did you use for you counter tops?

    • Kelley Gudahl

      Hi Allan and Ellie –

      We used cork (cork underlayment for wood floors specifically) for our countertops sealed with epoxy. We wrote a whole post on why we selected it over the alternatives.

  4. Randi

    Wow!!! It’s coming along so nicely!!! Love this!!!!

  5. Joanna Blatter Minn

    I am so impressed with your new kitchen! Congratulations! By the way, where did you find your dish rack?

    • Kelley Gudahl

      Thanks Joanna! We picked ours up at the Annapolis Boat Show this year, but I saw the exact same one at Walmart in their rv section – for less than I paid. I do wish it folded up when not in use though.

  6. Deborah

    Kelley, what an impressive transformation! I love how much thought obviously went into the design. Looks great and seems like it would be real easy to work in. You added so much well placed storage to the space- So efficient. I expect you will be making a lot of delicious meals in there!

  7. Yu & Frank

    Very nicely done! This is a much better layout than what the boat originally started with. Well thought out and executed!

  8. danielle

    Great job! this is well thought out…

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  11. Jennifer

    Thanks for sharing! I love all the storage ideas – I may steal some. I’m about to work on a spice rack as well… :)

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  13. Freddie

    WOW! Very nice and creative! I have a Tartan 34 I just bought with same intentions as you guys…A lot of work to do but priority is always sail first for me…So I will work on what’s important and work on the rest later…

    We are both still young but we figure we want to pay off debt first then head out…I am really intrigued by this blog now knowing you guys are doing it on a cousin of our boat!

  14. Sophie

    Wow, your refit is just great! Would like to know, did you start with a white sheet? Did you had some structure to start with? Did you made all the work yourselves? The countertop are great! Did you put something over it or it is just natural like that???

    • Kelley Gudahl

      Hi Sophie –

      We did start with a general galley but we ripped it all out and redesigned it ourselves. For the cork, it is sealed in epoxy.


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