I’m writing this second post today because I’ve noticed that the bulk of outside hits to my blog are coming from people trying to find reviews of cabinetry from cliqstudios.com. I know exactly what they’re going through because, when I was thinking through my cabinet purchase decision, I could find absolutely nothing about them anywhere. Ultimately, I took the plunge because I figured out that the cabinets were actually from a known brand (Six Square), the samples I received appeared to be of very good quality and the up-front customer service was really great.
So here goes…
My Rating Scale: 5 = Love it, can’t be beat to 1 = Don’t waste your time — REALLY!
- Pre-purchase support – 5
- Post-purchase support – 5
- Price – 5
- Overall Quality – 5
- Door Style/Color Selection – 4
- Froo-froo innards selection – 4
- Finish – 5
- Viewable Wood Consistency – 4
- Shipping – 5
Pros: Excellent design support, quality plywood construction, better pricing than big box stores (even though theirs is lesser quality in most cases, to boot!), damage-free shipping
Cons: Note that these are strictly subjective – wish there had been a few more door styles and more stain colors to choose from, wish there were more cool cabinet innards to dress up the functionality of the cabinets. Also my finish carpenter wished aloud for markings in or on the cabinets that matched the design legend provided with the final paperwork package. The only identifiers are on the outside box label so once unboxed, it can get a little confusing.
Pre-sales support: I had a GREAT designer, Patty, to help me. Although I’ve put in several kitchens and understand a good bit about kitchen design, Patty was invaluable. I found her to be creative (she suggested using a horizontal spice cabinet without the drawers as a wine rack!), flexible and more than willing to spend time via email, on the phone and even doing screen sharing sessions so I could see precisely how decisions I was making were affecting the final design. I’d originally found a “supercabinet” from Diamond that was perfect for the master bathroom vanity and almost made me walk away from cliqstudios in order to get it. Patty helped me piece together cabinets to get the base unit that I wanted and then I purchased the froo-froo innards on my own and the finish carpenter is installing them. This arrangement saved me almost $400 on the vanity! Can’t say enough about the Pre-Sales support! I love Patty and she’s a real asset to Cliqstudios!
Post-Purchase Support: I ended up having a problem caused by my framers… after I ordered the cabinets, they were asked to move an inconsequential wall in the kitchen. The crew chief thought my pantry looked off -balance so he moved the other side of the panty wall too — he took 9″ off my available cabinet space. When the cabinets arrived, there was one that was an error based on the finalized drawings I’d approved. It was actually a God-send that it was there because after thinking about it for awhile and getting back in touch with Patty, we were able to re-work the layout using exactly what I’d received in my shipment. I ended up with a little bit of extra moulding and a spare 30″ valance but otherwise, no re-ordering or corrections were needed! I probably spoke with Patty 3 times that day and was emailing back and forth regularly. Again — I love her and hope that they have lots of clones of her for all their customers to work with!
Price: It seems like there’s always a promotion of some sort going on! I got 20% off usual pricing and now that appears to be a fairly regular occurrence on the website. Regardless, for plywood box cabinets with full extension drawers, all kinds of bracing for stability, etc., you can’t beat the price with a stick! The fact that you get free shipping with a very minimal purchase makes the package just that much more attractive!
Overall Quality: I am really happy with the quality of all the cabinets I purchased from cliqstudios.com! There were some very pleasant surprises: I ordered roll-out trays in some of the base cabinets and also ordered soft-close drawers and doors. On the cabinets that had roll-outs and had the soft-close doors, the trays were also soft-close! I’ve never seen anything like it! My finish carpenter said the cabinets were heads and shoulders above others he’s recently installed from a custom/semi-custom cabinet company. He specifically pointed out the corner bracing to keep the cabinets from wracking (or is it “racking”?!), the dovetail drawer joints and the plywood general construction. He was also really happy that the drawer glides and soft closers were extremely simple to adjust from their shipped state (probably 10% of them weren’t straight but with a simple push on the rail, they were all fine in seconds!). Note that, although the cabinets are installed, I’m not living with them yet on a day-to-day basis because we aren’t finished with construction. Regardless, I can’t imagine that my opinion is going to change much based on what I see so far.
Door Style/Color Selection: I was looking for shaker style cabinetry so I found precisely what I was looking for. Other folks may be challenged to find exactly what they want if they’ve already been to the big box stores or other cabinet shops that might have a huge selection of raised, recessed or slab doors available. Like I said, I was happy with what was available because shaker style suited me fine but for others, this might be a shortcoming. Regards stain colors, I’m happy enough with the Maple Caramel color I selected but I would really have like something darker than the Caramel and lighter than the Cherry Russet. I’m not going to cry about it but it would have been a home run if something in a mid-range tone had been available. I’m guessing that having a smaller set of door choices for both style and color helps to keep costs down so it’s kind of hard to argue with!
Froo-Froo Innards: If you’ve maybe been to a big box store, checked out a Diamond, Thomasville or Kraftmaid cabinet catalog or have just been window shopping cabinets for awhile, you’ve probably been dazzled by the organizer specialty cabinets you can order right off the price sheet for some brands. If you absolutely have to have the cabinets with factory installed goodies, cliqstudios may be a challenge for you to embrace. But there’s an upside to the more plain-jane, utilitarian cliqstudios cabinetry insides… you can buy the fancy innards at tons of places both in brick and mortar retail stores and on-line. Almost anything you see factory-installed in a hoity-toity cabinet can be had at a pretty reasonable price from a supplier somewhere! And generally speaking, these are things that you can easily install yourself. Even if you wanted to hire a handyman to install the organizers, the likelihood is that you will save money over a factory-installed version in virtually every case. In addition to the factory installed roll-out trays and waste baskets I bought, I also wanted peg drawer organizers and tray dividers in the kitchen and roll-out chrome baskets for my wheelchair bound hubby at the master vanity. Found all of it on-line, bargain prices (and free shipping in some cases) and my finish carpenter is installing them as part of his proposal.
Finish – I love the look and feel of maple and the finish on these cabinets doesn’t disappoint. It’s kind of a satin rather than glossy feeling — it’s perfect for the shaker sensibility of the cabinets I bought! I’ve checked the cabinets over pretty thoroughly and have found absolutely no problems with the finish at all. I have my touch up kit but haven’t had to even open the package at this point! Smooth, even, consistent color!
Viewable Wood Consistency: This doesn’t really bother me terribly but it might some people… keeping in mind that wood is a natural product and that it doesn’t always grow perfectly, it’s no surprise that there would be knots, mineral deposits or other “imperfections” present in the lumber used to make cabinetry. I’m not implying that there are knots or imperfections but I do have a fair amount of mineral deposits — I think of them as a little character, not a problem that needs to be solved. If I was building a high-falootin’ house and was highly concerned that everything had to be perfect to a fine fare-thee-well, this might give me a little pause for thought. I’m guessing, though, that regular people remodeling their kitchens or building a home that they want to live in rather than have photographed for the pages of Architectural Digest or a decorating magazine will either not notice, not focus on or won’t care about this minor issue.
Shipping: Another process that they’ve got a great handle on! Product shipped from their factory in Minnesota to a local transport company nearby our new home here in Washington. That company took possession of the cabinets and then brought them to the house on a smaller, more manageable truck. My cabinets arrived precisely when expected and there was not a bit of damage to be found. Not one crushed corner, not one water stain — nothing! It took 2 guys about 30 minutes to offload all of my cabinets and they were very careful to check each box against the final item list I’d gotten in my paperwork package. Interestingly, each box listed the line item for the cabinet AND any adjustments made to it. So a cabinet that had a finished side and soft close door would have 3 stickers on the box associated with each line item on the item list. It made it really simple to assure that every last item was, indeed, delivered and accounted for.
I would caution you, especially if you have a lot of similarly sized or configured cabinets, that a roll of Scotch Delicate Surface painter’s tape would be the perfect accessory during unboxing/cabinet checking. The cabinet numbers noted on the boxes are NOT the same as the numbers on the legends provided by cliqstudios for you/your finish carpenter to lay out your install. I would recommend tagging each unit with the legend number associated with it immediately upon unboxing so that you don’t have to wonder where any of it goes later on.
So all in all, I’m very happy with my purchase. My construction manager says that he couldn’t have touched similarly constructed cabinets for anywhere near the price I paid. Our finish carpenter is impressed — and since he sees every cabinet brand under the sun (including true custom cabinetry), that’s saying something for sure. With the super-solid customer support leading to damage-free delivery of quality cabinetry that suits our needs, followed with post-delivery support when it could have been a disaster, I just can’t speak highly enough of these cabinets. I highly recommend that you consider cliqstudios.com when you’re thinking about new cabinets for your new home or your remodeling project.
I’ll be posting pictures of my kitchen, baths and utility room once they’re all finished and cleaned up — maybe my rooms will make the pages of a hoity-toity decorating magazine after all! :-)
UPDATE: Here’s a link to the first pictures of our kitchen – more coming later!