For New York based designer, photographer, artist, and author, Stephen Saint-Onge, the kitchen is
a sacred place. “The kitchen is the heart of the home,” says Stephen. We at CliqStudios spoke with Stephen
about a new designing adventure he recently embarked on: Creating that heart for his own kitchen in New
The vintage farmhouse style of the property promised and abundance of potential, but first outdated elements
needed to be removed. “The kitchen was small and dark,” Stephen explains. “The bonus was that the kitchen
backed up to what I think was meant to be the dining room. By taking down the wall separating these two
rooms I was able to gain a much larger space, which brought in tons of natural light and views of the
mountains and fields outside.”
Additionally, the kitchen opened up to the family room. That living space was also altered. “I designed a
fieldstone fireplace for the living room. The idea is to open the new kitchen to all of these areas – so
that the new place truly made the kitchen the heart of the overall farmhouse.”
A Modern Direction
Stephen elegantly refreshed the original barn feel with modern twists. The original wood beams and accents
were kept and wood floors were painted to brighten the space.
A modern direction for the kitchen was found through the use of CliqStudios cabinetry. Stephen wanted
something that was warm. “Having the new CliqStudios cabinets was the starting point for me to modernize the
kitchen with new pieces that had classic lines and style…the new, lighter-toned cabinets allow me to bounce
light into the kitchen.”
A Statement Island
A striking addition to the space is the large statement island. “…it serves for great storage with the base
cabinets. Since I decided not to do the typical upper cabinets in my kitchen, I needed to be sure to have
storage space – so the big island gives me that,” says Stephen. Both ends of the island have added storage
with built in bookcases. The top of the island made from repurposed 1860s barn wood. “It was my former
dining table top,” says Stephen. The end of the island also has a small section of soapstone, used for
rolling dough and meal preparation.
The CliqStudios Experience
designer Anne-Marie Klobe understood Stephen’s busy schedule. “I think for a regular homeowner doing
a renovation – especially of a kitchen – it is stressful enough. Working with CliqStudios removes that
“I say you should enjoy the journey of making it come to life because it’s for your home and that home
should be good to you and your family… CliqStudios and the team there – makes the journey fun and the end
results speak for themselves.”
Overall, Stephen appreciated the teamwork brought by CliqStudios. “It feels like you have a team on your side
working with you to make it the best it can be. That is not the case with many vendors – believe me!”
says Stephen. From start to finish CliqStudios made “What is a quality kitchen cabinet?” clear.
Advice from a Pro
Finally, we had to ask Stephen if he had any pro advice for homeowners starting their kitchen remodel, “Big
advice that I give during speaking events around the country is – if you do not know what your personal
style is – then use ﬁlm or TV shows as your inspiration. What ﬁlm or TV show has a kitchen in it that you
loved and responded to when you saw it? What you are drawn to is helpful in ﬁguring out what you love or do
not like. For many, for example, the movie with Diane Keaton “Somethings Gotta Give” was the dream kitchen.
I say, look at kitchens like that to get motivated and clearer about what you want. Once you know what you
want – the things will start falling into place. Remember it’s not someone else’s idea of a kitchen – it
should be designed for you and your lifestyle!”
Stephen Saint-Onge, a New York City based designer, photographer, artist and author of the book NO PLACE LIKE
HOME, Stephen believes that “good home design has the power to change lives.”
He is known for his home makeovers working with the regular family homeowner as well as celebrity clients –
to help them all make their homes be the best they can be.
The refrigerator is located opposite the gas range (behind the chalkboard). The idea was to keep the fridge out of site when you first walk into the kitchen so you don't see big appliances taking up wall space. It's a beautiful design, isn't it?