A Designer’s Kitchen: Tessa’s Remodel, Final Chapter

December 30, 20153 comments

When CliqStudios designer, Tessa and her husband Jake bought their 1960s home, the kitchen screamed for attention. Tessa and Jake decided to take the advice Tess gives her clients, “If you’re going to do it you might as well do it right and do it once.” (See pictures of the original kitchen.)

long kitchen wall has black birch cabinets with stacked crown molding, brushed stainless bar pulls, glass subway tile and oversized double sink

The Space

They first extended the kitchen through a space formerly occupied by a bulky and little-used dining booth. In addition, a low counter replaced the window side of the booth. Now, visitors notice this natural focal point right when they walk through the front door. The low counter serves as a party buffet, gift-and-cake zone for a shower and a perch for baby Jocelyn in her infant seat. In a few years, it will serve as Jocelyn’s perfect-height prep zone.

kitchen peninsula built of black-stained birch cabinets has large wine rack and single drawers

Wine Bar

A wine bar peninsula replaced the second leg of the booth separating the kitchen from the family room. The wine rack provides a charming view from the dining room, and is perfectly situated for serving. When asked if wine was a special interest of theirs, Tessa replied, “Jake has learned to like wine.”

Custom beverage station built of black stained birch shaker cabinets has extra height above the counter to allow access to the coffee maker, and above-cabinet display space for glass art

Buffet & Hutch

This built-in buffet and hutch has extra height above the counter perfect for the coffee maker and margarita machine. Atop the hutch is a display shelf created specifically for art glass produced at Gaytee-Palmer Stained Glass, where Jake works as a glazier. Their cabinet style, Rockford, was chosen to complement the home’s original wood tones and neat design.


close up view of espresso birch cabinets shows stacked crown molding, simply styled with cove and ogee

Crown Molding

Cove crown molding stacked above ogee trim provides a subtle touch of elegance. Furthermore, it complements the simple lines of the Shaker-style birch cabinets. Notice the perfectly mitered corner – a testament to the patience and skill of finishing carpenters Jake and Jack (Tessa’s dad).

built-in beverage station has 36-inch wide drawer base, open shelves for cookbooks, glass tile backsplash and extra height over the counter for access to coffee maker

Base Drawer

Our designers all agree, one cabinet every kitchen needs is the drawer base. Here you see it outfitted with heavy-duty glides to carry the full weight of pots, pans and appliances. The built-in book shelf is a perfect way to use the space in front of the chase in the corner.
Wall of dark birch shaker cabinets includes a built-in buffet created by a lowered counter under window,


Originally, Tessa planned to keep the vintage stainless light fixture over the sink. As you can see, she settled on a modern pendant instead. The original fixture may find a new home in the basement man cave. A narrow band of light rail trim conceals the low-profile under-cabinet task light fixtures.

galley kitchen has wood-look vinyl tile floor, ebony cabinets in a shaker style, glass backsplash and granite-look laminate countertop

Sticking to a Budget

Determined to stick to their budget, Tessa and Jake carefully assessed their real needs when purchasing cabinets, appliances, flooring and backsplash. Specialty storage cabinets on Tessa’s must-have list included the drawer base shown above as well as a pull-out trash bin, pull-out spice cabinet and divided tray cabinet.

Tessa found the function she wanted without the expense of professional range in a standard-width gas range with edge-to-edge cooking grates. The couple upgraded to a refrigerator with a dedicated snack drawer anticipating of the day Jocelyn will be helping herself. Tessa found backsplash tile similar to her first pick but, priced at $13 a square foot, half the cost. Custom laminate countertop won out over granite. The vinyl plank self-stick material flooring blends perfectly with the oak in the adjacent dining room.

Follow the links below to follow Tessa and Jake’s experience as first-time home owners from remodel planning through cabinet installation.

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Showing 3 comments

  1. Grisell Reply


  2. Doreen W. Mount Reply

    I like the cabinetry.

  3. Doreen W. Mount Reply

    Like the cabinetry

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