Chaos is the Time to Start a Remodel Notebook

Stress Reveals a Kitchen’s Shortcomings

december calendar with post it notes on it
You may be thinking about remodeling your kitchen in the coming year. Maybe you will start planning after the busy holiday season, when you’ve made gift returns, stocked up on bargains, and worked off the holiday pounds.

That schedule is fine, with one exception. There is no time like the busy present to start a journal of what doesn’t work! First item: buy a spiral bound notebook. Enlist the entire family in recording every wish, want and horror story produced by the frantic activity.
You had ten minutes to get a healthy meal on before you left for the kids’ holiday program. What you learned: every family member, including the dog, has to walk between your sink and refrigerator on the way to the …


Pantone Names Color of the Year for 2015

by Becky Gamble on December 5, 2014 @ 2:23pm

in Newsletter

Pantone Names Color of the Year for 2015
Kitchen with white cabinets and Marsala burgundy backsplash and chairs

Meet Marsala, Pantone’s pick for the 2015 Color of the Year. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, describes the color in terms that immediately make us think of the kitchen: “Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness.”

At CliqStudios, we love this color. It is a perfect reason to add a little 2015 sparkle after the holiday decorations come down! We see it used on a wall or backsplash as a partner to a brick wall, a complement to maple or cherry cabinets, or to warm and ground a white kitchen. If you don’t plan any major updates in your kitchen’s future, try …


How to Install Kitchen Cabinets

by Becky Gamble on December 4, 2014 @ 1:43pm

in Newsletter

How to Install Kitchen Cabinets

A Challenging Project for the Committed Do-It-Selfer

Are you thinking of installing your kitchen cabinets yourself? This is a project where you want to make sure you get it right! Know where to start, how to level, and when to tighten the screws.
video play image of cabinet installation tutorial

cover of cabinet installation guide pdfCabinets that are not level or not properly attached present a host of problems. There is the countertop that appears level, but eggs and apples roll right off the edge. There are the well-built cabinets, installed a few degrees off straight, which appear to have crooked doors. There is the wall cabinet that, after a few months or years, starts to separate from the wall, looming ominously over those working underneath.

Whether the videos provide you with the information you need to do the work yourself, or …


Make Your Small Kitchen Feel Big(ger)

by Becky Gamble on December 4, 2014 @ 10:09am

in Newsletter

Make Your Small Kitchen Feel Big(ger)

Hope for the square-foot challenged.

Are you wondering how to stretch the space in your small kitchen? Below are ten ideas on how to create new storage space, improve workflow, and create a more spacious feeling. Some will be no-cost or low-cost updates to your current kitchen, others deserve space in your remodel idea file.
small kitchen with island, ceiling height cabinets and simple shaker cabinet styleDeclutter. Time: 10 minutes. Cost: $0. Clear the decks! An empty counter is like a breath of fresh air. Remove all but a very few decorative items, relegate occasionally used appliances to a nearby closet shelf, and ban mail and book bags from the counters.

Lighten up on color. Time: Half day to a week. Cost: $30: Painting those dark walls light will make your space seem brighter and more open. Painting cabinets is much …


How to Clean Painted Cabinets

by Becky Gamble on November 5, 2014 @ 10:22am

in Newsletter

How to Clean Painted Cabinets

When Bad Things Happen to Good Cabinets

Grease spatters from cooking. A stray crayon mark. Chocolate chip cookies. As a high-activity zone, your kitchen faces some stiff challenges. Factor-finished painted cabinets can provide many years of beauty. However, in the face of food spills, fingerprints and household grime, some maintenance will be necessary to preserve that bright new finish. Here are some tips on how to clean painted cabinets with a minimum of fuss.

kitchen with white cabinets along the walls and green painted cabinets in the island
Design by

Regular maintenance: Weekly, simply dust cabinets with a soft damp cloth (a microfiber rag is great) and dry with a soft towel. Avoid using a dripping wet cloth, which could result in moisture getting trapped in corners. Do not use polishes, oils or wax.

Daily care: The key is to wipe up spills when …

A Modern Kitchen for a 100-Year-Old Brownstone

A Classic Brownstone Presents Interesting Challenges for Designer AJ

In a wood frame house, a remodeler has almost no boundaries. Windows and doors can be moved, and plumbing and wiring redirected through new or existing walls. Not so a classic brownstone. That is built to last—exactly as originally constructed. So creating a modern kitchen for a 100-year-old Hoboken, New Jersey, townhouse presented designer AJ Johnson and architect Rob Hegedus with some distinct challenges.

kitchen in brownstone row house viewed from dining room
Design by AJ Johnson

As you can see in the photo above, the ceiling in the adjacent dining room is finished with ornate crown molding. Matching trim would have had to be custom milled or crafted in plaster. The remodel budget was tight, and so those options were not on the table. AJ was pleased that CliqStudios …

Wide Open Kitchen: Design for Entertaining

Now is the Time to Define Your Style as a Host

Whether it means having two or three friends in for wine and cheese, or preparing a full holiday dinner for 20, entertaining puts you—and your kitchen—on stage. If you are planning a remodel, the entertainment season is an excellent time to define your style and design for entertaining.

large open kitchen with peninsula, island, bar and look-through wall to living area
Design by Sammi Lindemann

The Open Kitchen: An Entertaining Natural

An open kitchen design is the most popular solution for today’s casual, inclusive hosts. The kitchen pictured above is a perfect example, with work island, beverage center and breakfast bar, open on three sides to the dining and living room. It handles a few or a crowd with aplomb.

If your current kitchen is fully or partially enclosed, consider eliminating one …

Use Stock Cabinets to Build a Buffet, Hutch or Dry Bar

Are You Searching for the Perfect Piece for the Dining or Family Room?

Skip the furniture stores. There is an economical alternative that will be a perfect fit and complement your home’s style. Start with stock cabinets. Use modifications, decorative features and a unique design to create a piece that will fit in your space and blend gracefully into your decor.

Since you won’t be working with fully custom cabinets, the design will be a bit like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. In order to explore all possibilities, work with a kitchen designer who has extensive knowledge of available inventory and possible modifications. By using semi-custom cabinets (stock cabinets with modifications offered), you will avoid the cost of custom cabinetry while getting exactly the features you want.

computer-generated rendering of cabinets used to create a buffet wall and entry locker zone
Design by AJ Johnson…


Top 5 Features Kitchen Designers Recommend

by Becky Gamble on October 22, 2014 @ 2:44pm

in Uncategorized

Top 5 Features Kitchen Designers Recommend

white glass-door cabinets flank custom wood range hood all finished with crown molding and light rail trim

The difference between “nice kitchen” and “Wow!”

We asked our designers what they use to create that special look and feel. They agree, the answer is often found in special features and modifications, extra touches that dress up standard cabinets.Here are their top five recommendations:

cherry cabinets with mullion doors (glass-front doors)

Mullion doors

Shipped ready for glass inserts, mullion doors are a classic style that dresses up any kitchen. They can be fitted with a wide range of glass styles, and typically are lit from within.

With or without mullion bars, a section of glass door cabinets serves both as a focal point and display case.

top of maple cabinets trimmed with deep crown molding

Crown molding

Available in styles to complement any design, crown molding creates an elegant effect across the upper line of cabinetry. Observe the carefully mitered corners. Installation is a …

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 …