Stylish Moroccan Galley Kitchen

A Spanish-style home gains a kitchen with a big dose of Moroccan flavor.

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A variety of tiles, colorful pillows, and open and glass storage to display collectibles all add up to a workable kitchen, despite its narrow dimensions, which also exudes great personality and style.

What were the main items on the family’s wish list?

The homeowners have a beautiful Spanish-style home with a lot of character and charm. The rest of the home, including the landscaping and outdoor living areas, tie together aesthetically. They have kept some of the original hand-painted doors and hardware and have added traditional Moorish-style lighting to complete the design. The clients’ kitchen did not have the same richness as the rest of their Spanish-style home; it didn’t function well, and its appliances were outdated. Their goal was to update the kitchen within the same footprint, add more storage and give it the same beautiful character as the rest of the house.


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What was the single-largest issue you wanted to address for the owner?

Making the 8-foot by 11-foot kitchen area more inviting was a major goal. Whereas before the adjacent 8-foot by 8-foot seating area was not a place you would want to pass time, the addition of built-in seating, soft cushions and colorful pillows made it a great place to read the paper, work, watch TV and hang out. A full-height cabinet across from the seating area now acts as a media and storage unit.

What surprised you the most about this project?

It wasn’t really a surprise, but more of an affirmation. I’m not a designer who is afraid of color and I really encouraged the client to put a darker color on the wall versus staying light and neutral. I knew it would make the space cozy and inviting at the same time instead of dark and cave-like, which was the clients' fear. When all was said and done, the client was as thrilled as I was.

What was your biggest obstacle in this space?

To make the kitchen appear larger and become more functional without increasing its size. The designer created open shelving and cabinets with glass faces to display ceramic serving dishes and baskets; painted the adjoining rooms the same color as the kitchen to create one large space versus three smaller spaces; painted the ceilings the same earthy subdued green color to create a more warm, comforting atmosphere; raised the ceiling to add more storage space; turned the unused kick-space below the cabinets into hidden drawers for placemats and takeout menus; and added storage to the benches.

What are the hidden gems in your plan?

The inspiration came from the clients’ beautiful, rustic Moroccan-style courtyard off of the entry. Another inspiration for the kitchen was the handmade and painted Moroccan-style tile that the designer selected as a prominent feature for the kitchen. We created an arched niche finished in the Moroccan tile above the stove area that mimics the arches that serve as the entries to the kitchen. It creates a dramatic focal point and creates a nice little shelf for spices.

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