Time Your Remodel for Outdoor Living
Family Grilling outside

When planning your remodel, you will be shopping for cabinets, hiring a contractor, and selecting appliances. And, you will want to develop a plan for a temporary kitchen during construction. If you time the project to take place during prime outdoor living weather, your patio and grill will greatly enhance your options.

Consider your budget—will you have to add a line item for restaurant meals? How long will you be able to eat out of a microwave before you crave a grilled hot dog or steak? You will appreciate a place to sit and eat that is out of the central construction zone. Are you going to be doing some of the work yourself? Then you want to be able to take a meal break without taking a shower.

Try …

Is There Room for an Island? Do You Have a Sledgehammer?
Remodeled kitchen with island where walls were

Our grandparents surrounded the kitchen with solid walls, isolating food preparation (and the cook) from the attention of family and guests. Today, in response to more informal lifestyles, there is an overwhelming demand for open kitchens and center islands. Across America, walls are coming down as kitchens overtake formal dining rooms, living rooms, and mud rooms to provide multi-functional spaces.

Is your home ready for the change? Before taking a sledge hammer to the house in a quest for open space, take a careful look at the wall. If it is supporting the roof or contains a chimney, plumbing, or a vent, proceed with care!

I’ve worked with contractor Don Huggins on a number of remodeling projects, all presenting special challenges. Our most recent project required Don to take out …

Kitchen Math: Designer Angela Shows 4th-Graders How She Uses Math in Her Studio

4th grade math class in Minnetonka Minnesota

portrait of designer Angela Nguyen I am a kitchen designer and my husband, Nate Nguyen, is a 4th-grade teacher at Greenwood Elementary in Wayzata, Minnesota. For several years, I’ve helped him develop math lessons that use kitchen designs as teaching tools.

At CliqStudios, I use screen-sharing technology to help customers design their kitchens. I used the same tools to participate in the lesson. I shared floor plans and renderings with the class, projected by Nate on a smart board, and talked with the students via speaker phone.

I discussed the importance of the work triangle (range, refrigerator, sink), and what is required for the space to meet efficiency standards. I showed them a kitchen design I had started and talked them through development of the work triangle. I then showed them renderings (3-D design images) …

Celebrate Spring with Flowers—Or a Kitchen Remodel

After a particularly long and brutal winter, the sun is finally rising in the sky. Celebrate spring! Treat your kitchen to some fresh flowers for the island or dining table.
You say it will take more than flowers to make your kitchen happy? Drastic measures? Then it may be time get started on a remodel. Whether you are replacing cabinets and countertop or tearing down walls, it is probably best to avoid winter weather and August heat.
You will need to receive and store kitchen cabinets and other materials during construction. If you are used to parking in a garage, be prepared to give it up. Contractors, by necessity, track in and create dust and dirt. Remodel when an installer can set up a saw outside and make multiple in-and-out …

When the Rehab Expert Takes On Her Own House


Editor’s note: I took the liberty of interviewing the customer, Diane Martin, and inserting some of her comments in Karla’s article.

(Karla)  Diane Martin, a home rehab and resale professional, is a repeat customer with CliqStudios.  She always challenges me to create a distinctive focal point in her spaces, something that marks the kitchen as unique.  It definitely challenges me to be creative and think outside the box.  Diane always has a clear vision of what she likes and makes decisions quickly.  Sometime I have to slow her down a bit to make sure we have covered all the bases.

(Diane) I really like the CliqStudios design service. I can do aesthetics, but I need an expert in space management to help me know where things need to be.

Cabinets to go With Your Lifestyle

So, you’re going to invest in new kitchen cabinets. You may have begun research on door styles that will complement your home’s architecture, and thought about how much of your remodel budget will go to cabinets. Style and cost, however, are not the only factors to consider.

Your kitchen is a workspace, and design glitches can present real hazards and hair-pulling inefficiencies. Start with the safety basics. There are standard best practices for adequate landing spaces by cooktops, microwaves and ovens. Next are slip-resistant flooring, adequate task lighting, and safe storage for knives. Efficient kitchen design includes elements you may have never considered. For example, if you are right-handed, which side of the sink is the ideal place for your dishwasher? How do you accommodate counter heights when one …

Designer Spotlight: A Baker’s Dream Kitchen

There is not one kitchen that I have helped create that is cookie cutter. Each client has their own story, their own vision, and their own inspiration when it comes to remodeling their kitchen. While working with a client, my favorite part is learning what their unique needs are for their space and challenging myself to make their dreams come true within their budget.

The Client

I really enjoyed working with Sandi, a baking enthusiast from Northern Virginia. Sandi knew exactly what she was looking for to transform the kitchen in her 1830’s farmhouse to maintain the character of the home, add some Mediterranean flavor, and create a space she could easily bake in. She was very sweet and knew exactly what she wanted, which made me feel confident that …

Designer Spotlight: A Unique Kitchen Layout Gets A Major Red Update

There’s nothing that excites me more about a design than stepping out of the norm. By adding decorative details and mixing the finishes of the cabinetry, I truly enjoyed working on this project. It’s the largest kitchen design I’ve ever done!

The Client

From my first phone call with Heather, I knew this was going to be a fun and challenging project for me. Heather’s Connecticut home has a very large kitchen but was struggling with outdated white cabinetry and lack of pizzazz when it came to cooking and entertaining. Heather had a lot of ideas about what she was looking for in her new kitchen and made sure there were elements of the color red in my design.

The Assignment

Since this was the largest space I had ever …

Do I Need a Designer for a Kitchen Remodel?

You know your style, your kitchen space, and what you want from a kitchen remodel. So, what can a professional designer add to the mix? Our CliqStudios.com designers are there to help you achieve your custom look as economically as possible and with optimal function. They suggest solutions; you make the decisions. Although our products are cabinetry, our designers are a great source of information on appliances, lighting, flooring, countertops, backsplash, and related issues, such as hiring contractors.

CliqStudios.com Kitchen Cabinetry Floor Plan

In addition to formal training, your designer will have a broad perspective on kitchen design. If you have lived in your home for a while, it may be hard for you to imagine all possible uses for each space. And if this is your first kitchen remodel, it will be hard for …

Home Flooring Replacement: 4 Important Considerations

If you’re part of the 66.1 percent of the American population the U.S. Census Bureau identifies as homeowners, you may considering some upgrades in the coming year, including replacing your worn-out flooring. The process begins with budgeting and choosing your new flooring, but process doesn’t end after you’ve called a contractor. Read on for important considerations that include everything from discarding old materials to potential safety hazards if you tackle the project yourself.

Home improvement - installing laminate flooring

Flooring Types and Home Value

Metropolitan Research Center Director Arthur Nelson tells The Atlantic that, in spite of the housing slump, Americans remain as eager as ever to sell their homes. Whether your prospective sale is sparked by Baby Boomer downgrading, Gen X upgrading or a job-related move, tread lightly. Flooring considerations should be determined by the …