PUBLISHED: 4:53 PM on Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Designers win national kudos
Juneau designers Jeremy Bauer and Jason Clifton of Bauer/Clifton Interiors picked up an award at Sharp's first-ever Insight Pro Microwave Drawer Kitchen Design Contest at the 2007 Kitchen/Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas on May 8. The contest, which ran from July 2006 through March 2007, recognized professional kitchen designers for the most creative and visually appealing kitchen designs that incorporate one of Sharp's Insight Pro Microwave Drawer cooking appliances.

Photo by Abby LaForce
  Juneau designers Jeremy Bauer, left, and Jason Clifton of Bauer/Clifton Interiors picked up an award at a recent industry show May 8.
Sharp invited professional kitchen designers to submit photos and written overviews of completed residential projects incorporating an Insight Pro Microwave Drawer. Winners were chosen by a panel of professors from Virginia Tech's Center for Real Life Kitchen Design Entries and evaluated on the use and visual appeal of the product, how it complemented the overall design of the kitchen and the use of general design elements and principles.

The award recipients were honored at a cocktail reception at the Las Vegas Hilton.

"Through this contest, we were able to get a more in-depth look at some of the most exciting and creative ways the Microwave Drawer has been utilized, as the kitchens inspired by our five winners exemplify," said Christine Lewis, senior director of marketing, appliances, Sharp Electronics Marketing Company of America.

"We reviewed many beautiful kitchens and exceptional designs, and it was a challenge to select just five winners," said professor Dr. JoAnn Emmel. The grand prize winner was designer Dale Gargiulo, of The Kitchen Shop in Pelham, NY., who received a Sharp television. Locals Bauer and Clifton received an honorable mention and were awarded a Sharp Insight Pro Microwave Drawer.

With the overall goal of using minimalist design concepts in a kitchen with limited counter space and few upper cabinets, their concept was incorporating a Sharp range that included the Microwave, cooktop and convection oven as both a space-saving and multifunctional placement solution.

Bauer and Clifton's interest in interior design has been a passion for years.

"Mechanics have always been easy for me-to know exactly how to lay it out and make it work," Bauer said.

"It was just something that came natural to me, to build, make and create," he said.

Bauer graduated from Kansas State University with degrees in architecture and design and architectural engineering.

In 2004, he made design a full-time career with the opening of an interior design firm, Bauer/Clifton Interiors, when Jason partnered with the company. Two years previously, the company was Bauer/Howard & Design.

"I made my way to Juneau, (we) met one another, and had similar interests," Clifton said.

Clifton, originally from Indiana, "came up here on a cruise one summer, liked it, and then moved in 6 months. It ended up working quite well," he said.

"I've always been artistic; I was raised in a family that were artists and entrepreneurs," he said.

Clifton is currently still in school, working on a business degree in interior designs, and taking classes from the Art Institute online.

"Specializing is our niches, hospitality on the commercial side--restaurants and bars, and primarily kitchen and baths on the residential side," Bauer said.

"We divide the projects out, we both have strong points in the way we do it: I can take the mechanics and make the project work, and Jason takes the style of it and really pulls all the materials and the final look together. We both have a niche in the process," Bauer said.

Their work can be seen around Juneau, including Sand Piper Café, Jaded, Zen Restaurant and Canton House.

"In the business we try to focus on bringing in products that you can't typically find. We're trying to bring something that's a little more innovative and responsible to the environment. We're trying to work with products and find products that work with that mind set," Bauer said.

For instance, they use a cabinet company that's entirely "green." The firm recently redesigned a kitchen equipped with a decorative tiled backsplash behind the stovetop and running atop the adjoining counter entirely made of recycled products.

Bauer/Clifton prefer granite countertops because "they're the most environmentally responsible countertop surfaces that you can use," they said.

"Our personal style tends to lean toward a more modern clean line, a minimalist view, but we have to work toward what are clients looking for," he said.

"We've been pretty much all word of mouth-it's worked out really well, working from one client to the next," Bauer said.

"After these long projects, clients become friends. It's a really enjoyable way of meeting new people in the community," Clifton said.

"We have a good sample showroom, that we pretty much work from," Bauer said.

The showroom is located at 2812 Marsha Ave.

Living in Juneau provides inspiration to the interior designers. They appreciate the connection to the wilderness and the fact that in three minutes you can be in the middle of the forest, Bauer said.

"You can take a color scheme by picking up one rock on that beach and looking at different colors from that rock-you have a whole color palette to work with," Bauer said.

The road to the Sharp projects "was a slow process, we finished by January," Bauer said. The duo started working on the project in October last year.

"(We've) never entered a contest before. We were reading (about) what that contest was looking for, and it seemed like their project really fit the need of that actual product," he said.

"It was very gratifying; anytime you get recognition it means you put a lot of work into making sure everything comes out right, and it's nice when people appreciate it," he said.