On their 30th anniversary, Jay had a surprise for his wife Candy. He said, “Pick two areas in the house –
let’s make them what you want.”
“The kitchen,” she replied. “I’ve always wanted a nice kitchen.”
So began Jay’s major remodel of his fifth home. Prepared by experiences helping friends and family install
their kitchens, Jay decided to do all of the work himself.
“I haven’t had great luck, or history, with contractors,” Jay said. As someone born and raised on a farm, he
was used to taking matters into his own hands.
Jay looked around his dark space and came up with several goals. He would bring in white cabinets and quartz
countertops to modernize the look. To create more kitchen space, he would relocate the refrigerator, which
would would require demolishing an old pantry closet.
“It was a typical remodel: opening up a can of worms,” Jay said.
But even as he uncovered issues – sloping floors, for example – he kept calm and unfazed. “I moved the wall,
moved plumbing, moved electrical. I was able to resolve everything myself. The local inspector had nothing
A Productive Partnership
“Jay could not have better to work with,” said Renae LeBoutillier, his kitchen designer. “He was always very
optimistic, knowledgeable, and excited about our quality. He knew what he wanted. He had done things in the
house before. He just handed me a plan saying, ‘this is what we want to do.’”
As they continued to work together, their relationship evolved into a productive partnership.
“When I first started working with Renae, I’d tell her what I wanted and she’d deliver just that,” said Jay.
“But it became evident was that Renae was able to offer some really good ideas. The island was her
idea. The spice rack cabinet was
another. What she put together was perfect.”
Boasting several special storage options, the finished kitchen is loaded with behind-the-door features. The
window bench, for example, with its built-in dog feeding stage. Jay had built it himself. With help from
Renae, he refaced the fronts to match his new kitchen cabinets.
“We had 28 friends and neighbors come to our open house,” said Jay. “A couple of ladies were looking fondly
at the tray
organizer above the fridge. They remarked, ‘Finally, somebody has thought of this! I’ve been waiting
15 years for my husband to build this!’”
Lazy Susan cabinets were ordered for
both corners. “They’re beautiful,” he said. “There’s no center post, the way they’re made with the joinery
on wooden shelves – the attention to detail is fabulous.”
But of all the cabinets he ordered, the one that drew the most attention was the base mixer shelf.
“Everyone that came through said, ‘Oh my god, I love it.’ What an idea! My friend at work had never even
heard of it. And you guys have it – have it already installed.”
Other special features include multicolored smart lighting and a concealed dog feeding station inside the
window bench drawers.
As a craftsman, Jay says that he buys the best tools that he’s able to. Anything to save time for every-day
“The organizer above the fridge, spice rack, and mixer cabinet – I’m not going to say they’ll change the
world. But, they’re not novelties. They’re necessities,” he said.
A Woodworker’s Take on Cabinets
As a person with a passion for woodworking, Jay considered several different cabinet companies. “We looked at
everything offered by the local custom cabinets, Home Depot, and Menards,” he said.
“In total, we compared CliqStudios to seven other vendors. And just to give you an idea – it wasn’t cost,
because you guys weren’t the cheapest. It was quality and options.”
“Everything that I didn’t like about [the competitors], you guys addressed,” he continued. “Plywood
construction. Proper boxes. Blum hardware. That caught my eye. I remember reading the woodworking magazine
put out by Rockler – they rated Blum the best, 5/5, and they really are. Typically, Blum is a 7 to 11
percent upcharge. So that sparked my interest.”