The Next Man Cave – The Car Condo

What do you do when you have antique or luxury cars that do not fit in your home garage?  You purchase a Garage Condo! Auto Motor Plexes have popped up in many locations around the Twin Cities as the new Man Cave. The “Condo’s” are available in many sizes, they are two stories and you have the ability to make them into anything. Autoplexes are generally utilized by auto enthusiasts to store, maintain, and build their auto collections but they have also become places to entertain or use as a secondary office.They are starting to become a place to hang out with fellow enthusiasts in a time when it is much needed. 

We recently had the pleasure to design an Auto Motor Plex for our client’s in Medina, Minnesota. The clients decided to split the two story space into multiple functions with the upstairs as a living space (with office, living, kitchen and bathroom) and the lower level to work/store his cars (an Austin Healey and a vintage Land Rover) and to display a large toy train.

This unit is the mid-size that the facility offers with plenty of space to create distinctive functions. In the lower area, there is space for the client’s cars which also includes a custom storage and workbench area that houses a car jack, tools, and a space for off-season tires when needed. This workbench area also features a stainless steel sink for easily cleaning up and red laminate countertops for a splash of color and durability. The flooring is from Garage Floors and features in-floor heating and ties into the color scheme. This space will also be used for the clients expansive and realistic Swiss train display.


Staircase in auto motoplex with Swiss flag details

The space has a Swiss theme to pay homage to the owner’s heritage with the red Swiss flag in the custom stair railing from Loftus Ornamental Iron, and the train mural in the bathroom.  A red strip running around the entire unit and red gloss, acrylic panels on the kitchenette backsplash and island help to tie the space together The cabinets are a combination of matte black paint and high gloss wood and white, with Cambria countertops. 

The upper mezzanine level was a blank canvas and ready to be turned into a multipurpose space. The owner does part time consulting in his retirement, so he wanted a functional desk with plenty of storage.  He also enjoys assembling robotic Lego cars and trucks, with a large table as a workbench and many lite floating shelves for display, this became a perfect place to work on his hobby (bonus it doesn’t have to be put away to use the space for other things.)

Upper level of car condo with entertainment center

Also in the mezzanine level is an entertainment center with a TV, stereo equipment and “L” shaped sofa. Under the TV console is open for 3 ottomans. Perfect place to watch a movie uninterrupted. The TV console is made of white high gloss material with dark wood grained drawer boxes. The console measuring 117” x 36” x 20” came as one piece and weighted 570lbs, we needed to have a forklift, lift it to the second floor, put on dollies and rolled back into place.

Bathroom with Swiss Alps wallpaper

 The upstairs bathroom features a beautiful mural of a train coming through a mountain tunnel in Switzerland. The mural was wrapped on two walls and the other walls have a heavily textured tile to resemble ledgestone in the mountain side. The homeowner chose to have a powder bath with vanity and stool, not needing a shower (any clean up needed would not happen at the condo). The vanity is of dark gloss wood, and a white Cambria countertop with 4” thick edge and waterfall leg. Free flowing shaped vessel sink and faucet and a gorgeous round mirror and gold/black wall sconces. The door to the bathroom is a sliding Barn door, it has 4- frosted glass windows. 

The kitchen includes a Fisher & Paykel refrigerator/freezer and dishwasher drawer, and Bosch speed oven. The cabinets are painted black matte with the gloss wood grain accents in shelves and the red acrylic gloss panels in the backsplash and island. The kitchen is perfect for entertaining a 42” ht island is great for counter stools and keeps guests out of the kitchen. The “pantry” has a custom roll out shelf for the Nespresso machine and storage for wine which is hidden behind pocket doors.

Upper level of car condo with kitchenette and bathroom

This is the perfect “man cave” for whatever your hobbies are. Whether you have a car collection you are trying to store or maintain, are looking to add a secondary office, or even just looking for a unique place to entertain, an autoplex can provide the space to do so and we here at Crystal Kitchen and Bath can help you customize it and add your own personal touches. Contact us today to get started!

Creating Your Work from Home Space

As we continue to see our lifestyles and technology evolve, the role of our home has also changed. Our homes are no longer just a place to unwind after a long day, they have become multi-faceted spaces, where we are spending almost all our time. One of these spaces that is especially prevalent at the moment is the home office. Whether you already have a dedicated office space or are looking to create one, here are some tips to establish a home office that is functional and optimal for productivity.

home remodel

  • Evaluate Your Space
  • Designer: Deepa Sharma
  • Photographer: Yuriy Manchick

Evaluate Your Space
One of the first things to do is evaluate the space you are planning to use as an office, whether a dedicated space already exists or you are planning to convert another space. Think about how you normally work and what routine you have become accustomed to. Here are some questions to help you better evaluate your space.

  • Would you like to be close to your family when you work or would a quieter space be more suitable for you?
  • How much space are you needing? Do you like to lay things out and need space to do so, or would a compact space better suit your needs?
  • Does the space have the proper amount of outlets to meet your technological needs?
  • Does the space have good natural light?
  • What are the acoustics like?

Embrace Multitasking

  • Embrace Multitasking
  • Designer: AKD Design Team
  • Photographer: Jeff Garland

Now that you have determined your needs for your workspace, we 

to our homes, the concept of multitasking has become imperative especially in home offices. This is not only a space for you to work but can also be a place for you to pay bills, organize family events, and for kids to do schoolwork. turn to what other activities might take place in this space. As we continue to retreat in

Organization and storage is key in maintaining a functional multitasking space. By utilizing storage solutions like built-in cabinets or file drawers, you can easily organize and keep the space clean and tidy.

Improve Productivity

There are a few improvements that can help boost productivity in your home office. One major factor that helps with productivity is ergonomics, or the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment. If you prefer sitting while you work, the proper position is with your arms at a 90 degree angle and close to your body while supporting your lower back and having your legs also at a 90 degree angle. Investing in a good chair will help provide that support and comfort. If you prefer to stand, investing in a cushioned floor mat to help support your back is also advised. Making sure your screen is at eye-level is also optimal for ergonomics and productivity.  

Another factor that can help improve your productivity in a home office is lighting. Natural light is known to aid in productivity and overall mood. If you don’t have access to a space that provides natural lighting, installing bulbs that mimic natural light would be sufficient. 

home remodel

  • Improve Productivity
  • Designer: Dara Ricketts
  • Photographer: Tim Murphy

Adding task lighting may be needed as well, to help you see your work more clearly. If you work on a computer for much of the day, your eyes might become fatigued. Some things that help are
blue light glasses to use when looking at the computer monitor for extended periods of time. Additional or larger monitors may help to take some strain from your eyes.
The paint colors and materials you choose also have an impact on productivity. Natural wood grains have the same calming effect on us that being in nature does. Adding colors like blue and green are linked to better productivity, have a calming effect, and can increase focus while adding the color yellow can stimulate creativity.

The paint colors and materials you choose also have an impact on productivity. Natural wood grains have the same calming effect on us that being in nature does. Adding colors like blue and green are linked to better productivity, have a calming effect, and can increase focus while adding the color yellow can stimulate creativity.

Adding A Personal Touch

A home office is a space that you should fully enjoy and be an extension of yourself. Working from home allows you to add personal touches that a traditional office may not. This could include family photos, heirlooms, and paintings. Even adding your favorite flowers or candles to the space can create a mood that is all your own. Having control over the music or sounds you listen to while working can be a large motivator or mood enhancing option as well.

Evaluating your needs for a dedicated office space is the first step and understanding the function of this space is the second. Once you are ready to create your home office, our designers will help you ensure you are getting the most out of the space to provide optimal functionality. Contact us today and get started making your dream your reality.

Tips and Tricks for a More Organized Home

Organization has always been an important part of life and lately it has become an even more popular topic. Between concepts like minimalism, the “Marie Kondo Method” and all of us spending more time indoors, now is a great time to look at organization in our homes. We will take you room by room and discuss ways to better organize your spaces.

The Kitchen

Staying organized in the kitchen is critical for an effective cooking experience especially if you are cooking with someone else. Cabinet accessories such as drawer dividers, cutlery trays, utensil bins, and knife holders are just the start. Pairing food storage bins with rollout drawers in a pantry can keep everything neat but also prevent food getting lost in the back and going bad.

Having zones for specific tasks can also help you organize your kitchen space. Are you a baker? Maybe you have a specific cabinet that is dedicated to baking supplies.

Consider tray dividers in a cabinet to store cookie sheets and pans vertically. It makes pulling them out easy and finding the right one as well. These tray dividers work best in base cabinets as well as in the upper portion of tall cabinets.

Since the kitchen is the main hub of the house, implementing a command center or message area can help families stay organized with schedules and daily events. This could be in the form of a desk area (either sit down or standing) located in the kitchen or even a dedicated tall cabinet.

The Bathroom

Soaps, shampoo, lotions, oh my! It’s easy to be crowded out of your bathroom with all of your products. Products you use daily should be close at hand but not cluttered on the counter and there are a few options available that do just that. Medicine cabinets are a great solution for smaller items such as face creams, toothpaste, and lotions. For taller items such as hairspray, makeup, and other toiletries, linen closets, cabinets above a toilet, and drawers are a great solution.
If your vanity is small and you need more storage, we can utilize the sink cabinet better, by adding drawers with a “U” shape cut out to go around the plumbing. If space allows, you can also install a linen cabinet into a bathroom that provides ample storage for extra linens and larger bottles of hair products. There are also specialty pullouts to safely store hair tools such as curling irons, straightening irons, and hair dryers. We can custom design dividers or you can purchase decorative trays or baskets to help keep your items neatly put away and organized.

The Laundry Room

Your laundry room is the hardest working room in your house. It not only houses the washer and dryer but is often serving double duty as storage space or mud room. Coat and shoe storage, winter gear, and so much more is often shoved in your laundry room. Adding cabinets next to your washer and dryer to house laundry items just makes sense. Hooks and cubbies for coats, shoes, and backpacks will help you with your morning rush out the door.


Closets are not just a hanging rod anymore. Adding cabinetry to your closet, such as drawers, shelves, shoe racks and hanging space, helps keep all our clothes organized, visible, and at the ready.

Accessories are always a challenge, coming in so many shapes and sizes but drawer organizers for your belts, ties, and jewelry will help keep everything in its place.

Whether you have already started or are just starting, organizing your home can seem like a daunting task at first.

4 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Fireplace

Fireplaces are an incredibly popular component of many homes. They can help make a cold winter night more comfortable, and add some atmosphere and romance to a home. In most cases, they also end up being the focal point of the room. If you are thinking of buying a fireplace, then make sure to ask yourself these important questions during the process.

What Type of Fireplace Will be Convenient For Me?

If you are going to use it often, then a gas fireplace might be the best bet. It is convenient, and starts up right away at the push of a button. Direct Vent fireplaces keep exhaust completely outside of the home to protect your lungs. Then of course, there are traditional wood-burning fireplaces. They are the most difficult to light, and do not vent as well, but they provide a warmth and natural comfort that is difficult to replicate.

How Much Can You Spend?

Prices can vary between fireplace options, so you will need to figure out a budget. Go through the options and figure out what features you really want, and what you can do without.

What Is Your Decor Like?

There are so many style choices today that there will almost no doubt be one that will fit the decor of the room where you want to place it. Some have more beautiful flames, some look more modern or rustic, and some have unique shapes.Take your time and consider as many options as you can to make the right choice.

How Much Heat Do You Need?

Different rooms require different heat levels. An expert can tell you how much heat is appropriate, and what fireplace types will meet those expectations. Your fireplace can also work as a space heater in conjunction with your furnace, if you’d like.

If you feel that you need some help designing the perfect fireplace wall whether it be a remodel or a new installation, contacting one of Crystal Kitchen and Bath’s designers is a great place to start. We are happy to help you through not only the design aspects of a fireplace, ensuring maximum impact, we can also take care of the technical and installation details as well.

Designing a Spectacular Laundry Room

The laundry room is not a space that we associate with style and design. It does not have to be that way, though. There is no reason why you cannot have an inviting and engaging laundry area that looks great and feels great to work in. Nobody likes doing laundry, so why not do it in a space you love? Here are some design ideas for your laundry area.

A Family Hub

Instead of being segregated to the isolation of the basement, you can have your laundry room off of a main area, like the kitchen. It can be a part of a family hub for work and play. Put in a desk for homework or studying, or for crafts. A table or counter installed in the center of the room can work not just for folding laundry, but also for wrapping gifts and doing crafts.

Hidden Treasures

Hidden appliances seem to get more popular every year, and the laundry appliances are no exception. You can install your washer and dryer beneath a counter top for easy access to detergent and other supplies, while also saving space. You can even hide them behind closet doors in a hallway on one of your main floors or near the bedrooms if you want to have a handier laundry spot but do not want to ruin the overall look and vibe of your decor.

Master Laundry

Many people are going with the trend of placing laundry appliances close to their bedrooms for easy access. This may mean putting them into a walk-in closet or a bathroom. Machines are much quieter than they used to be, so they can be placed almost anywhere, although you may not want them up against a bedroom wall. Just make sure before you install that you have the right plumbing to handle the increased workload in that area of the home.

Chute Your Laundry

If you are looking for convenience, but cannot place your appliances near bedrooms, then it might work to install a chute in your home. That way you can send dirty laundry down the chute to the laundry area, where it will be out of sight and mind until it is time to wash it.

The laundry room might seem like one of the more boring parts of a home, but it certainly does not have to be!

Crystal Kitchen and Bath can transform your laundry space into a pivotal part of your dream home. Contact us online, by phone or by visiting our office.

How to “Go Green” During Your Next Home Remodel Project

Everyone nowadays wants to “go green” and help keep the environment sustainable. The advice is to “think globally and act locally,” and there is nothing more local than our own homes. Here are some tips to be more eco-friendly when you remodel your home.

Water Waste

There are several ways your home can be more efficient with water. For one, a dual flush toilet will help reduce the amount of water used for flushing by having a more powerful flush and a softer flush, depending on what is in the bowl. You can also install low flow water fixtures.


Paint is a big part of any project, but it also can contain toxins that damage the environment and our health. Use a brand that is Low-VOC, meaning non-volatile and organic. It is more expensive paint, but the earth and your doctor will thank you.


There are a few flooring options that are better for the environment than others. Cork flooring is comfortable and durable, and also does not contain any toxic adhesives. It is a renewable resource as it is made from the bark of the cork oak tree, which grows back to be harvested again. If you do not have to replace your floors, then you can always resurface and refinish them, which is just like having a brand new floor. Or, if you have wood underneath your current floor, you can remove the current floor in favor of the wood.


Carpet tiles are a great choice if you want the warmth and comfort of carpets but also want to be friendly to the earth. They are usually manufactured with recycled material, and offer a multitude of options. They clean well and are easily installed. If you do install carpet, then padding sometimes is not needed. That way you’ll save using materials as well as avoid the chemicals that are used to adhere the padding to the carpet and floor.

These are just a few of the many options available to make your home more green. When planning out your next home reno project, try to keep the earth in mind when you’re choosing the materials and pieces needed for your renovated home.

Crystal Kitchen + Bath has a LEED Certification through Minnesota Green Path. It is our objective to build with products and strategies that save energy, are sustainable, and result in a healthy home. Our designers will guide you through green product selections and work with you to obtain any level of certification requested. You can contact us online or by calling 763-544-5950.

Major and Minor Home Repairs to Make Before Putting Your Home on the Market

When selling your home, you want it to be as appealing as possible. Sometimes that means doing some renovations before putting it on the market to make it more valuable. These renovations can be big or small, but they have to be effective at increasing the value in your home. Here are some major and minor repairs you may want to consider.

Minor Repairs

Sometimes it does not take much to improve the appeal of your home. Buyers will usually choose a home that’s move-in ready over one that needs some more work, even if it is only a little bit. It never hurts to add a new coat of paint to spruce things up. Using neutral colors will also make the home more inviting. Other simple fixes include replacing the hardware on cupboards, drawers, and cabinets. You can also put in new plumbing and light fixtures to make everything look newer. Steaming your carpets is also a must, so that your home looks and smells its best.

Major Repairs

First off, when deciding what repairs you may want to do to improve your home’s value, safety and structure should always be the primary factors. Nothing will turn a buyer off more than something that could injure their family or visitors, or something that will cost a lot to repair down the road. For instance, foundation repairs and plumbing leaks should be handled ahead of time. Plus, if anything is unsafe, such as stairs or rotting wood, then it must be replaced or fixed. After structure and safety, you may want to consider getting everything looking new or updated. Big fixes can be a new or re-stained deck, replacing a front porch, or remodeling a bathroom (or the oldest-looking room in the house) to make everything feel newer and more refreshed.


Of course, you probably will not be able to fix everything that you want. Oftentimes, the biggest factor is your budget. It is important to weigh how much you have to spend with how much each repair will improve the value of your home, and make a decision that is the most efficient and will get you the most bang for your buck. If you are not sure, it never hurts to consult a professional to help you make the right decision.

Crystal Kitchen + Bath is an award-winning Minnesota company with an exceptional portfolio of kitchen remodels, bath remodels & home remodels. If you have questions about your home remodeling project, contact our team online or by calling 763-544-5950.

Remodeling Options to Make Your Home Safe for Seniors

When remodeling, repairing, or even building a home, it is important to design with the occupants’ needs in mind. This is especially true when it comes to senior citizens. There are certain things that can be difficult for a senior, but may seem easy to you. Here are some remodeling techniques that will help seniors be more independent and more comfortable at home.

Single-Lever Faucets

Faucets can be difficult to handle with arthritis or other muscle and joint issues. A single lever faucet can make it easier, but it must be clearly labeled for hot and cold so that anyone unfamiliar with the tape does not burn themselves.

Central Vacuum

Vacuuming itself can be difficult, and it is made even harder by having to lug the vacuum and accessories from location to location. This is not even mentioning emptying the container and keeping it maintained. A central vacuum system will make it easier to move the equipment, and the container only has to be emptied occasionally.

Extra Outlets

Having a lot of outlets available will make it much easier when it comes to holidays and other occasions that may involve plugging in extra things. With more options, it is less likely that furniture will have to be moved or that someone will have to contort themselves to plug something in.


Having an intercom system set up through the house will help with those who wish to talk to someone but may find it difficult navigating through the building. With an intercom, they can call to any room and find the person for which they are looking.

Bathrooms Near Entrances

There may be times when a senior has to rush into the house from outside to use the bathroom. For this reason, it would be handy to have bathrooms close to entrances so they will not have to navigate the house to get there.

Motion Sensor Faucets

Motion sensor faucets are great for people who have trouble with turning faucets, and may not react quickly if the water’s too hot. The water is dispensed at a pre-set temperature, so it will not be too hot, and it will turn on and off with ease.

These are just a few ideas to help seniors be more independent at home. Make sure to take into consideration any seniors when you plan your next remodeling project.

Are you interested in remodeling your home? At Crystal Kitchen + Bath, we do not cut corners. Every client receives the same superior craftsmanship and service. Experience and a focus on detail, paired with the strongest level of craftsmanship and customer service, puts us above the competition. Contact our friendly staff today to learn more.

Remodeling to Make Use of Your Attic Space

Attics are often portrayed as dark and dreary places filled with cobwebs that hold old family heirlooms. It does not have to be like that in your home, however. There are plenty of ways that you can turn your attic into not just a useable space, but a great one for your family. Below are some ideas.

A Bedroom

As families grow, bedrooms become prime real estate. After a while, it may get less and less feasible for kids to continue sharing rooms. An attic room provides a little extra privacy, since it is up an extra flight of stairs, so it might be perfect for a teenager who needs their alone time. If it is larger, it may be a perfect space for a new master bedroom as well, leaving the old master bedroom for someone else to move into.

A Playroom

We all want a place for our kids to play in the house, but we may not want them playing where we will constantly hear them or see the mess. An attic playroom provides a perfect place that’s out of the way and may muffle some of the sound. The kids might appreciate being able to be imaginative and creative without the outside hustle and bustle of the house intruding.

An Entertainment Room

Sometimes there just is not enough entertaining space for everyone in the family. If you are finding that your kids want to play video games while you want to watch your favorite show, then maybe another entertainment room is just what you need. Either the space can be for the kids to kick back away from the prying eyes of the grown ups, or you can have that be the adult entertaining room, which is secluded from the noise and action of the younger family members.

An Office

So many people are telecommuting and working from home, so having a space in the house that is more private to get work done would be ideal. As long as there are the appropriate outlets, you can set up a nice secluded office to give the feeling of heading off to work, when you really remain in your home.

Are you interested in converting your unfinished attic into a new living space? At Crystal Kitchen + Bath, our Minneapolis – St. Paul home remodeling professionals can help you enhance every usable area in your home – and improve your family’s comfort — with our premium renovation and conversion options. To learn more, contact our Minnesota staff online or call us at 763-544-5950.