When Clark bought his first home, he knew remodeling would be his next adventure. His new home was over 100-years-old with plenty that could be brought back to its former glory. Rather than slowly remodeling or moving into a construction mess, he decided to stay with his parents nearby and began the work immediately.
Clark had a clear vision of what he wanted: a transitional look that preserved the existing woodwork and character of the home, while adding a modern, minimalist style.
Transforming his ideas into reality turned into a year-long journey of finding just the right people and products to make it happen.
From ‘Just the Kitchen’ to ‘Just the First Floor’
“The first piece was making the space more livable,” Clark explained. “The kitchen was really small and had a little pantry that was almost unusable.”
Previously, the first floor had seven different doors leading from room to room. Opening up the kitchen meant removing walls, so Clark worked with a contractor and a structural engineer who added new supports in the basement.
“There was a lot of project creep because the kitchen lighting led to fixing the living room ceiling lighting, which led to the porch, and so on. We gutted the whole first floor. We limited it to the first floor though,” he laughed.
Even as the project grew, Clark’s commitment to taking the time to choose the right pieces and create the look he wanted grew. At times, he struggled to find workers to hire, so he did the more “unskilled” parts of the project. He stripped and sanded all of the wood trim and did much of the demo work himself. Clark describes the efforts as “learned and figured out along the way.”
“My Dad and I used a hydraulic hammer to tear out the old furnace chimney one day, which was actually kind of fun,” said Clark. “The demo is easy because it feels like it’s moving along quickly.”
Buy Cabinets Online to Blend with Buying Local
Clark wanted to support local Kansas City businesses, but learned that mixing local services with other quality products was key.
“We talked to CliqStudios and some local folks in Kansas City for cabinets,” said Clark. “Ultimately we had all the designs from CliqStudios and after considering the other offerings it was kind of a no brainer. CliqStudios was equal to or better than what was available locally and for a better price.”
He continued, “When I think about CliqStudios, it feels very much of my generation, being internet based. But I actually heard about it through the grape vine from one my contractors. I did a lot of things online, but I learned that you have to be networking and talking to people around town during this type of project too.”
Clark looked for ways to combine local and national products with online and in-person resources. First, he had his island cabinets framed in with wood sourced from his alma mater, the University of Kansas. He couldn’t find the same light fixture he loved at a local restaurant, so he found a way to recreate it. He discovered a warehouse full of the glass globes on Ebay. Then he found a local company to rewire it to hang above his dining room table.
Designing a Unique Kitchen
Clark’s CliqStudios designer, Kevin Kuerbs, was impressed with the modern kitchen design choices Clark had in mind.
First, Clark asked if CliqStudios could remove the cabinet toe kick from the Dayton style cabinets so he could add wood legs instead. Kevin made it happen and was excited to see the uncommon furniture style finish in the kitchen. In addition to creating a unique look, Clark was able to raise the cabinets up higher than usual to accommodate his 6-foot-6-inch frame.
He also chose to place his stove under the newly added window, another unconventional move. Kevin cautioned he would need to check city code before finalizing the design. However, like the rest of his project, Clark had already done the research and had the permission to proceed.
As a part of his minimalist style, Clark opted for no wall cabinets. He also chose thin countertops that nearly match the cabinets.
“The thing I love is that he took our cabinets and really made them his own,” said Kevin. “It’s totally unique and it shows how CliqStudios can make things unique to your style and taste.”
The Reality of Kitchen Remodeling
At the heart of this remodel was Clark’s desire to make his new home a gathering place for loved ones.
“Sometimes you lose sight as you’re renovating and spending money, but I understood the value as I was putting this together,” Clark explained. “Building the space was really about being able to have friends and family over.”
His inaugural house party was New Year’s Eve. “Now we have friends over for dinners almost every other night and on the weekend,” said Clark. “Now that I see the space and live in it, it was totally worth it!”
“It’s pretty crazy looking back at all the decisions you make along the way, but it was a lot of fun too,” said Clark. “My advice is to talk to a lot of different people and don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions. You may not have a perfect remodeling experience, but find ways to take the complexity out of it. CliqStudios was awesome in that way. They made it really easy.”