Tips for Your Galley

July 2018 Multimedia Jane Willow Web Exclusive


It is often said that the kitchen is the heart of the home because it’s not only the place where meals are lovingly prepared but also the room that contributes the most to the value of a house. The very same sentiment applies to the galley of a houseboat.

A well-designed and tastefully equipped galley will not only be an absolute joy to work in but will also add substantial value to your houseboat should you ever want to sell it or rent it out. According to the NADA Marine Appraisal Guide, the appraised value of a houseboat can increase by as much as 25 percent if the galley is upgraded, depending on the size and model of your boat of course.

While there are a number of reputable companies across the USA that specialize in galley design, you can save yourself a lot of money by doing some research and doing as much of the work as possible. A few basic guidelines can help you turn your drab galley into one you can be proud of.

Quality over quantity

Due to the limited available space in your standard houseboat galley, you cannot kit it out with countless appliances and utensils regardless of how much you would like to. Invest in two or three quality pots and a frying pan that you know you will use often and leave the rest at home.

A good combination to have includes a wok, a pressure cooker, a cast iron griddle pan and a medium-sized saucepan. Most people are of the opinion that they will never use a pressure cooker—until they have used one. Not only can it be used as a regular pot when the steam vent is open but it works wonders when cooking brisket, pot roast and even fish chowder.

Design a functional workflow

Although it is often suggested that you cook most of your food outside on the deck so that your home doesn’t smell like fish for a week, you still need your galley to be functional. Utilize as much natural light as you can or opt for power saving LED lights for a natural, low-energy lighting solution. 

Another very important consideration when designing your houseboat galley is the proper counter height. Nothing is quite as exasperating as trying to prepare food on counters that are either too high or too low. Make sure that the door to your galley can open fully and that all large appliances are spaced safe distances from one another.  It is always useful to have an unobstructed work surface next to the basin and don’t forget a garbage bin so that you can dispose of any food packaging and remains immediately.

Make it feel like home

While you want your galley to be practical, you also want it to feel like home.  Adding personal touches to your galley will make you feel more comfortable in it, making it feel like an extension of the rest of the houseboat instead of an entirely separate entity. 

Allowing yourself to have one or two luxury appliances amidst all the practicality can go a long way in transforming your galley into a homely kitchen. These appliances can include anything from a yoghurt maker which swiftly whips up delicious, healthy yoghurt to smoothie makers, cappuccino machines and automatic bread makers. Just remember that you don’t want your galley to become too cluttered and to opt for appliances and decorations that won’t take up too much space. 

If you plan to spend extended periods of time on your houseboat it is absolutely imperative that your galley is both practical and comfortable. Even if you do end up grilling out on the deck or getting takeout most of the time instead, you still want a galley that you can be as proud of.

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