Design a Kitchen for the Long Term

maple cabinets with glass front doors above raised dishwasher

Simple features to make your kitchen safer and more efficient for everyone

If you plan on being in your home for some time, a carefully designed kitchen will help not only as you age, but when life challenges you with a back injury, broken leg or other limitation. Our designers have a host of strategies to make kitchens safer, more accessible and more efficient for every member of your household. Below are just a few examples.

Vary counter heights

Because we are all different. Tall or short, you deserve a correctly positioned workspace to prevent back strain and make your work easier. A blank space under one section of counter will let you work comfortably from a kitchen stool.

Raise the dishwasher

It can be that simple. By including a …

Creating a Fireplace Room Library with Cabinets

fireplace with ceiling height stone facing framed by white shaker display cabinets with glass doors
Design by Sammi Lindemann

The Sweeny family’s favorite spot is their “fireplace room,” a haven from Michigan’s cold autumn winds.

There Alecia, Rick, Owen and Sidney curl up to read a book, watch TV and do homework. Alecia and Rick planned to combine the room with another to make a more functional space. In addition to updating and extending the space, the remodel was a perfect opportunity to add much needed storage to the 1960s home.

Alecia did, in her words, “a ton of research,” before choosing CliqStudios for her cabinets. She found the design service an unexpected and high-value bonus. Working with Sammi Lindemann, she developed the beautiful design you see pictured to the left.

The brick on the fireplace, central feature in the updated space, had been painted …

Create a Locker Zone for Your Family

Trap coats, boots and backpacks at the point of entry

Jacket on the chair back, shoes in the middle of the entry room, backpack on the kitchen counter—it’s amazing how much house one family member can populate in the first minute home. Automate organization and eliminate clutter by creating a locker zone in your family entry.

What is the primary entrance path for your family members? A mudroom, laundry room, even a hallway to the garage may have unexploited potential for storage. Talk to your designer about ways to transform it into a natural landing place for incoming gear.

mud room with boot bench, cabinets, shelves and coat hooks finished with beadboard panels
Design by Nikki Schnitzler

A shoe bench is a natural invitation to stop, shed footwear and stash it. Cubbies, cabinets or shelves will provide storage for purses and backpacks. A drawer …

Beyond-the-Box: Personalizing Kitchen Design

Creating Extraordinary Kitchens from the Common Cabinet

Every day, our designers create spaces that are as unique as our customers. As one designer said, “I see every kitchen as a challenge to create something fresh and new, to personalize it for my client.”

A designer will achieve some effects by combining cabinet units in new ways, stacking shelves on drawers to create hutches, tucking appliances in unconventional corners, and adding decorative elements to upgrade ordinary to specialty best. Our factory helps out, modifying cabinets to fit non-standard spaces and supplying components to meet special style requests. We don’t take all the credit—the customer is an equal partner in creating any design. Below are just a few examples of what we can do.

kitchen cabinets with glass doors on both sides and ornate crown molding

Creating Elegance

The cabinets above feature glass doors …

Have a Seat: How to Build an Entryway Bench or Window Seat

Is there a space in your home just begging for a bench?

You can use kitchen cabinets to create a cozy snuggle spot in a bay window, a shoe bench for your entryway, toy storage in a kid’s room, or a breakfast nook. Build the bench from drawer and door units, or create a storage chest with a piano-hinge top. Add a matching beadboard seat back and some colorful cushions, and you have it—storage, seating and a focal point, all in one project. Our designers are masters at combining cabinet units to create custom benches.

The irresistible window seat bench

A natural landing place for guests and the after-school crowd, a kitchen window seat simply shouts, “Come in and stay a while.” Typically dominated by hard surfaces, a kitchen welcomes …

Trending: Color it Bold in 2015

2015 home décor will feature dramatic and bold pops of color. In furniture and cabinetry, designers and homeowners are moving away from monochromatic decorating schemes. In some designs, soft, neutral-toned grays and whites serve as backdrops for bright accessories and lively patterns. We are also seeing a return to cabinetry finished in rich wood tones, accented with black, white, metals and colors. Below are two very different examples of the use of color in the kitchen.

small kitchen with white cabinets, blue glass backsplash and window seat

Color in a Compact Kitchen

A small space can easily be overwhelmed with color. In the kitchen pictured above, that problem is resolved beautifully. A perimeter of white cabinets creates a light, bright space. Blue and aqua tones in the backsplash are subtly echoed in vases, pottery and pillows. The glossy surface of the …

Storing Your Wine: Rack, Cooler or Kitchen Counter?

Do not be intimidated by the traditional mystique of the wine culture.

Good wine is no longer the exclusive province of the elite. And only extraordinary vintages and the few wines that improve with age warrant an investment in a custom cellar.

wine bottle, glass and runlet with grapes in cellar

The average spend on a bottle of wine today is less than $20.

If you are a typical wine enthusiast, you will spend between $9 and $20 for a bottle of good table wine, and maybe as much as $100 for a special occasion. You will probably keep a few bottles on hand, and are younger than the traditional oenophile (wine connoisseur).

maple kitchen island with wine rack in endSo, for wine that will be consumed within a few weeks, storage requirements are simple. Keep it at a stable temperature between 50° and 70° to …

Tessa’s Remodel: Chapter 4: Cabinet Installation

The New Kitchen Takes Form

Designer Tessa and husband Jake work together, leveling a base cabinet in their kitchen

We have been following Tessa and Jake as they remodel their kitchen. In this post, see how Tessa, a creative and experienced designer, and Jake, a practical perfectionist, work together to create a beautiful space from semi-custom cabinetry.

Cabinet installation was a group project, keeping Tessa, Jake and Tessa’s dad busy for quite a while. Tessa helped Jake meet his high standards for construction as he and her dad fulfilled her unique design, knitting disjointed spaces together into a graceful whole.

Leveling Cabinets:
Take No Shortcuts!

As a team, they leveled, shimmed, then leveled again so the base cabinets would provide a strong and stable foundation for the countertop. Since their house was 50+ years old, they knew the floors would be irregular, but were …

Tessa’s Remodel Chapter 3: Delivery & Kitchen Tearout

The Transformation Begins

In this series, I am following one of our CliqStudios kitchen designers through her remodel project, from start to finish. This post describes the phase where Tessa and Jake’s cabinets were delivered and the old ones torn out.

An important rule of kitchen remodeling: do not tear out your cabinets until the new ones are delivered, inventoried and inspected, and you have a temporary kitchen in place. It was an exciting day when Tessa took this picture and knew she and Jake were ready for the transformation to begin!

Cabinets in boxes stacked in garage

Temporary Kitchen

Tessa and Jake kept their temporary kitchen plan to a minimum—a Pizzaz pizza cooker on a small living room c table. They would also leave the sink hooked up until the last minute, and the refrigerator …

Tessa’s Remodel, Chapter Two: Design

Personalizing Their Space

In this series, I am following one of our CliqStudios kitchen designers through her remodel project, from start to finish. This post describes how Tessa created a design that is both functional and personal.

When Tessa and Jake decided to go forward with a new kitchen, they knew it would be the one and only time they would remodel that space, so it was important to get it right. Tessa has a passion for cooking and feels strongly that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It was time to for her to apply her talents to her own design.

sable birch cabinets in beverage center, refrigerator and pantry cabinets

When laying out the design, Tessa began with fundamentals—landing spaces next to the cooktop and refrigerator, a good work triangle, and carefully planned storage. She chose …