This Old House Idea House 2016 Part 2: Kitchen Design – Creative Solutions

August 11, 20162 comments

interior of home under construction with framing facing unfinished kitchen

Just a little imagination and you see a lovely country kitchen with a beautiful view.

CliqStudios was pleased to provide cabinets and kitchen design services for The Farmhouse at Emerson Green (This Old House Idea House 2016). Veteran CliqStudios designer A.J. Johnson took on the project, finding creative solutions for a number of unique challenges.

The Farmhouse was designed to have the look of an 18th-century home and the conveniences expected by a 21st-century family. Those expectations are well met by CliqStudios Austin cabinets, a classic inset style associated with traditional craftsmanship and hand-built cabinetry. Soft gray perimeter cabinets provide a light and bright feel while dark Birch Sable island cabinets create a graceful transition to the living area.

Computer-generated image of kitchen with large window over cooktop and dark cabinets in center island

Our designer’s solution to the challenge of working with a window-facing cooktop.

One of the goals of the Idea House project was to trim the energy used by the Farmhouse to half that of a typical home that size. Therefore, there was no question about the choice of cooktop – induction cooking uses a fraction of the energy as gas or other electric appliances. A second benefit of induction cooking is a reduced need for ventilation. The growing family would need a full-size refrigerator, so a smaller, counter-depth model was not an option.

Large windows over the sink and cooktop open the space up to the outdoors. This, however, leaves no place to mount a conventional range hood without interrupting the view. A downdraft vent was the answer.  Rather than sacrificing base cabinet space to the vent, fan housing and duct work, A.J. directed the installer to pull the entire bank of cabinets forward eight inches. To the left of the cooktop, an extra-depth refrigerator cabinet now can accommodate a full-size model while preserving the clean horizontal line associated with a counter-depth refrigerator. To the right of the cooktop, countertop cabinets provide generous small-appliance storage as well countertop needed for food preparation. At the ceiling level, cabinets on either side of the window are left open (without doors) to provide a spacious, airy feel. The exposed wall and window trim are built out eight inches, creating a deep sill and surround, a perfect place for an herb garden or potted plant.

built in buffet built of inset cabinets with shaker doors and white paint, drawer bases and open frame glass doors

Classic inset cabinets echo the craftsmanship of days gone by. A storage workhorse, this built-in buffet doubles as a pantry.

On the wall across from the cook station, a built-in buffet projects the classic 19th-century tone of the rest of the home, yet acts as a pantry for the warehouse store shopper. Note the deep, wide drawers, ready to store the largest cans, jars and cereal boxes! The top tier of cabinets sport open-frame glass doors for displaying less-used items, while the center solid doors optimize storage.

Unlike a typical kitchen remodel, which involves a customer and sometimes a contractor or architect, the Farmhouse project involved a number of stakeholders – The Idea House team, the homeowner, the builder and a local interior designer. All had to sign off on the kitchen design, and the timeline was short. In order to facilitate the approval process, A.J. created several designs, including all features she considered appropriate. Stakeholders responded with their preferences and comments, and A.J. was able to receive final approval in time to keep the project on track.

young woman with big smile

CliqStudios Kitchen Designer A.J. Johnson

Check back soon – we’ll be posting photos of the finished kitchen soon.

Showing 2 comments

  1. Christopher Herbster Reply

    I am designing an 1890’s kitchen with cliq.

    Please send me the design for The Farmhouse at Emerson Green.

    • Cliq Cabinets Reply

      Hello. We see that you are currently working with Lauren, who is an excellent designer and has great experience renovating farmhouses. Also, rest assured that our designers help each other out; if you have a specific need or question regarding Emerson Green, AJ is more than happy to assist Lauren with this information.


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