By Kelly Morisseau Ever experience the frustration of having to design a kitchen for clients with champagne tastes and a soda pop budget? You keep a lid on costs by specifying a decent, inexpensive stock cabinet line. The layout is realistic and functional, and you feel pretty good about the package. Now, if only the clients were as happy as you. "Can't you make it more like this one?" they complain, waving a magazine clipping of a high-end kitchen remodel in your face. Well, don't grit your teeth: There are ways that you can infuse some sizzle into your existing design without upgrading the cabinets or detonating the budget.

A window seat is a popular amenity because it adds a functional, custom detail to a conventional kitchen plan. It doesn't require a lot of space; it only has to be large enough to allow at least one person to sit comfortably. Many kitchen spaces have undersized or underused nook areas, perfect for this type of application. And cabinets under the...

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