Designer Profile: Wendy Franz

Through our activities in the Chicago area, we came across Wendy Franz, owner and lead designer with Studio 912. We were so impressed we had to learn a bit more about her.

Kitchen space in Studio 912 Chicago studio

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Wendy: I have had a remodeling business with my husband since 1995. We operated our business out of our home, which was the perfect setup for me as it allowed me to be home and flexible for our kids as they were growing up. About 15 years ago, we remodeled our own kitchen and it was fun being able to plan every single spot in the kitchen for maximum use and efficiency according to how we use each area of the kitchen. It sparked my creativity and gave me a desire to be more than the person in the background handling operations and office matters. I wanted to be more involved with the customers and in the design process of our projects. In 2010, I investigated whether any of the local colleges had a specific degree or program specifically for kitchen and bath design and was so excited to find that Harper College in Palatine did. It was a certificate portion of their Interior Design Degree. I went in two different shifts, taking a 2 1/2 year break from school and being in business for myself due to the recession, but when I was able to return to the industry, I picked right back up where I left off school wise. So thankful that I did. It is truly a passion of mine, creating beautiful spaces for my clients that they love to wake up and come home to – a space that gives them a place of peace, comfort and refuse from the world around them.

Now that I have my own design studio/cabinet and countertop dealership (two of them actually, one near our home in Crystal Lake and one that I partner in with a fellow Harper student) and having the suburban location be in front of my husband’s woodworking workshop has given us a business that we can employ both of our daughters in. It’s nice to be working side by side with my hubby again and it’s such a huge plus to be able to offer woodworking piece in my designs to our clients, such as barn doors, tables, countertops and now, we’re starting to offer custom hoods too. Down the road, I hope to have time to create custom vanities too.

SRFD: Tell us about a recent project

Wendy: We just wrapped up project for a repeat customer who we had done woodworking for in the past. This time, she came to us to design her kitchen, using two of our three cabinet lines. We did the perimeter in a white transitional door style and the island/hood/cooktop cabinetry along with the butler’s pantry and a bar wall in a dark stained rustic cherry. We used three different Cambria countertop patterns along with a reclaimed wood table extension off of the island and reclaimed shelves. She put in eight different zones of lighting and very interesting backsplash tile. Can’t wait to get in for the photo shoot.

SRFD: A trend you are excited about?

Wendy: The combination of wood grain cabinets with painted. Or the use of different colors throughout a space. We’re about to have a kitchen installed that we designed in a sleek white Acrylux door style on the uppers and a lined dark Acrylux door style on the lowers with a couple of aluminum/glass door cabinets mixed in. Should be very elegant and classy.

Kitchen designed by Studio 912. As Wendy said, “I of course LOVE any design I can incorporate my husband’s handiwork in like this beautiful, reclaimed island top.”

SRFD: A trend you are over?

Wendy: There have been so many white shaker kitchens, but we like to do them with touches of uniqueness that make them anything but the typical cookie cutter kitchen (as can be seen in the kitchen above).

SRFD: Tell us about your relationship with Monogram.

Wendy: We have a Monogram Advantium Speed Cooker/Microwave along with refrigerator drawers at our Chicago studio and LOVE using them and showing them off. We are recommending Monogram to all of our clients and will be meeting with the Monogram folks to talk about how we can have a more involved relationship with them. Can’t wait!

Monogram at Modernism

Written by Courtney Kruer, Monogram Appliances

Monogram was on the road again in February, this time for Modernism Week’s signature annual event that celebrates midcentury modern design, architecture, fashion, art and culture. The celebration is held in beautiful and sunny Palm Springs, California, and includes over 350 fabulous events. These events range from the Modernism Show & Sale where Monogram exhibited our luxury appliances to signature home tours, films, nightly parties and so much more.

Being the only appliance brand at the show, Monogram sure drew a crowd with special thanks to our Executive Chef Jon Lidell. Jon flawlessly demonstrated the effortlessness of our signature Advantium speed cook oven and 36” induction cooktop with gourmet bites for the masses all weekend long.

You know you have the perfect chef when even seconds aren’t enough for the crowd. It’s safe to say that we converted plenty of consumers not only to be induction and Advantium lovers, but Monogram supporters as well.


After such a successful weekend, what’s the best way to celebrate in Palm Springs other than the legendary Twin Palms Frank Sinatra Estate?

Thanks to our Designer Engagement Leader for the West, Elise Raydo, the night was exquisite. The intimacy of the gathering in such an iconic setting, where Sinatra’s original recording equipment is still held, had the Monogram team and guests in complete awe.

Every bathroom except one was the original and almost all of the furniture was historic, which made you feel as though you were truly celebrating with Frank himself.

Jon Lidell served up some lovely bites for appetizers made in our pizza oven and the what seemed like endless courses served by Workshop Kitchen + Bar outside by the piano shaped pool were to die for. Talk about Elevating Everything!

From Overlooked to Outstanding – the Monogram Gas Cooktop

The gas cooktop generally goes unnoticed in the kitchen—that is, until now. On a mission to Elevate Everything, Monogram has taken this often-overlooked kitchen appliance and turned it into a focal point and a source of pride with finely crafted materials, innovative technology and the power to boil fast and simmer ultra-low.

“The Monogram Gas Cooktop is modern and beautiful, yet robust in appearance and power,” said Ed Mammorella, Monogram marketing manager. “From the sapphire crystal glass knobs to the brass burners, it goes above and beyond what is expected of gas cooktops.”

It has beauty that will be the envy of the neighborhood
Available in 30- and 36-inch models, the Monogram Gas Cooktop features five burners with brass accents, stainless brushed knobs sealed with sapphire glass with an LED light indicator and linear grates that provide a sleek, contemporary appearance. The 36-inch model also features an LED timer, a rarity among gas cooktops.

WiFi and Bluetooth® connectivity provide convenience and peace of mind
Ever left home wondering if you turned off an appliance? With the Monogram Gas Cooktop, owners don’t have to wonder because they can monitor the cooktop status using a smart device. The WiFi feature also enables owners to set timers from smart devices, while Bluetooth enables a connection between the cooktop and the vent hood.

Built to perform, built to last
Crafted with only the finest materials, Monogram Gas Cooktops are built to stand the test of time, even for those who put their cooktops to the test morning, noon and night. Featuring the refined quality of four dual-flame burners with a 20,000 BTU center burner, this powerful cooktop allows owners to boil fast and simmer ultra-low for delicate foods.

“Owners love the gas cooktops for their beauty and functionality, and designers love them for their modern appearance and fine detailing down to the polish of the grates,” Mammorella said. “It is just another way we are staying true to our commitment to Elevate Everything in the kitchen.”

Make Restaurant-Worthy Pizza at Home with Monogram

Those looking for pizzeria-quality performance in an oven specially handcrafted for the home can achieve the perfect slice with the 30″ Monogram® Pizza Oven.

Now available in two striking styles, this indoor electric oven makes a bold statement with its dimensional design and lower vent system, or it can blend seamlessly into the lines of surrounding cabinetry for those who favor a subtle façade.

Introduced in 2016, the Monogram Pizza Oven combines the crisping performance of traditional coal- and wood-burning ovens with the precision and elegance of a sophisticated stainless-steel appliance. From touch LCD controls preset for multiple cooking options (including flatbreads) to perfectly placed electric heating zones, every aspect of this elegant pie maker is expressly designed to meet or exceed the capabilities of the best restaurant pizza ovens.

“From a simple four-cheese crowd-pleaser to a gourmet Neapolitan masterpiece, if you can imagine it, you can make it in your own kitchen with Monogram,” said Greg Delmonico, Monogram product merchandising manager. “And now, thanks to our top engineers and craftsmen, we are proud to offer two ultra-sleek designs that can add appeal to any design aesthetic.”

This innovative pizza oven is just another way Monogram is helping home chefs Elevate Everything™ in the kitchen, from its classic look to its ability to turn out perfectly crispy, bubbly, tasty crust. Developed through FirstBuild™, GE Appliances’ model microfactory of inspired appliance ideas, the Monogram Pizza Oven boasts other notable features, including:

  • Simple Installation

Fits a standard 30-inch wide cabinet cutout and requires no additional ductwork or ventilation.

  • Connected Capabilities

WiFi-enabled for use with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Drop. Additionally, timers and mode changes can be made in an instant using the mobile app.

  • Matchless Quality

Each component is handcrafted by true masters of their art down to the last detail.

“From its brushed stainless exterior to its intuitive controls, there’s a higher level of refinement that’s evident in our indoor pizza oven,” Delmonico said. “Monogram aims to impress with every detail, and we’re confident owners will agree we’ve delivered beyond expectations.”

A Kitchen Transformation

We came across this kitchen remodel and just had to share … take a look at this post from Kitchen Design Partners.

As the team said, “Kitchen Design Partners recently had the opportunity to work with M.W. Carlson, Ltd. on a kitchen remodel in a lovely, vintage home in Glencoe, right across from Lake Michigan. Like many older houses, the original kitchen was cut off from the rest of the home. The original kitchen was charming, but dated and worn. The countertops were made of tile with grout lines. The wall between the kitchen and breakfast room made the room feel closed and cramped. There was an extremely tight work zone where the sink, dishwasher, pantry and refrigerator competed for space with the center island. When the dishwasher door was opened, it blocked off access to the pantry, fridge and island. We were tasked with opening up the kitchen, spreading out the work zones, and updating the style. This was challenging because the kitchen has two windows, a range that couldn’t be moved, a skylight, and support beams. The team was up to the challenge. Just look at the difference!”

Monogram Columns: Luxury Inside and Out

On a mission to Elevate Everything in the kitchen, Monogram has redefined luxury with its line of refrigerators and freezers that can be mixed, matched and relocated to reflect the style, personality and needs of the owner. Monogram Columns can blend seamlessly with cabinetry and are thoughtfully designed with industry-exclusive features and only the finest materials inside and out.

“Cookie-cutter doesn’t cut it in the kitchen anymore. When it comes to the heart of the home, it’s all about personalization and giving owners something that truly reflects their lifestyle,” said Sheri Gold, national showroom and design manager, Monogram. “Designers have fallen in love with Monogram Columns and the unique features the line offers. From the lighting and accents to the connected features and simplified installation, it is the leader in the category.”

On the inside, owners can see and feel the difference from the glass shelves and accents to warm lighting that casts an appealing glow. On the outside, the Monogram Columns line gives designers the freedom to create an elegant space without boundaries. Monogram Columns is also the only product line in its class to offer smart, connected features that put owners in control anytime, from anywhere.

“So much pride and passion have gone into the design,” said Ed Mammorella, marketing manager, Monogram. “Every associate at our dedicated Monogram Columns facility in Selmer, Tennessee, has had a hand in bringing owners an unmatched combination of elegance and thoughtful features that truly Elevate Everything in the kitchen.”

Monogram Columns enable designers to separate appliances, double up on refrigeration or freezer space and even tuck away appliances that are used less often. For retrofits, two Monogram Columns are also designed to seamlessly fit 42-inch or 48-inch openings without the need for cabinet or electrical modifications.

Additional features that set Monogram Columns apart from the rest include:

  • Accent lighting that highlights glass shelving and drawers with a warm, aesthetically appealing glow
  • An autofill pitcher that sits conveniently on the center shelf to automatically refill cold, filtered water
  • Antimicrobial nano-coatings on glass shelving that cause liquid spills to bead versus spread for easy cleanup
  • A soft-etched line on the shelving that prevents spills from crossing the threshold of the door
  • Full-extension soft-close drawers that function like high-end cabinetry
  • Temperature-controlled glass drawers that offer added storage flexibility for items like deli, fruits and vegetables
  • Customizable panels that sit flush for seamless sightlines
  • Connected features that include nighttime snack-mode lighting, temperature control and notifications when the door is left open or when the water filter needs to be replaced

Sneak Peek: Monogram Kitchen Island

Written by Courtney Kruer, Commercial Development Program – Monogram

Need another reason to believe that Monogram is Elevating Everything in the kitchen? We have it for you. Meet the exclusive Monogram Kitchen Island that was debuted at KBIS this January.

Monogram transformed a typical meeting room into a retro, speakeasy-styled, VIP lounge with the lit up Kitchen Island as the focal point of the dimly lit space. The brand went all out with Flapper girls, signature cocktails, delicious hors d’oeuvres, and of course, a cop to break up the “prohibited” speakeasy party at the end of each exclusive session.

So what exactly is the Monogram Kitchen Island? Brought to the KBIS show as a concept piece to get feedback on how we can perfect this luxury item before the launch, it’s a multi-functional 3.6’ x 7.87’ sheet of the finest black glass-ceramic that is much more than just your standard kitchen island. The elegant Monogram Kitchen Island includes fully integrated induction cooking technology. Therefore, the entire surface is seamless, but has the Monogram five burner induction cooktop with glide-touch controls built right into part of the sheet of glass. This means you can also utilize the WiFi capabilities of our exclusive First Build induction cooking probe for sous vide cooking to achieve perfect cooking results every time you cook. The Kitchen Island also includes a warming zone built into the island that’s perfect for entertaining your guests, whether it’s warming appetizers or keeping your chocolate at the perfect temperature for fondue.

Since all of this technology is seamless, when you’re not cooking, the entire surface acts as your island countertop, workspace, or favorite spot for poker night with friends. However, it doesn’t just have induction cooking technology built-in. The 6 mm thick glass ceramic also has wireless charging capabilities in spots throughout it. So not only can you charge your phone by laying it on the wireless port, but it can also effortlessly power your cordless countertop appliances that are becoming more and more common in everyday consumer’s homes. Talk about wowing your guests in so many ways with something that none of them have.

While this debut of our Monogram Kitchen Island was a concept, we plan on launching the luxury appliance by 2019 due to the overwhelmingly positive response we got at KBIS from designers, dealers, builders and more. Stay tuned for the final launch details on exactly how big it will be, what color options will be available, what shapes it may come in, and what other exciting capabilities could get added to the centerpiece that could Elevate Everything in the kitchens of tomorrow.

Learn about Universal Design

Curious about Universal Design? Listen to this Dave Fox podcast to learn how Universal Design and Monogram’s WiFi Connected Smart Appliances help you think about designing your new kitchen – for you, older members in your family, and children with needs.

Susan Cozzi, Monogram Designer Engagement Leader—East Region, and Nicole Bursh, GE Appliances Area Sales Manager, joined Gary Demos, President of Dave Fox Design-Build Remodelers in Columbus, Ohio, to talk about how you can create the most modern of kitchens or the most traditional using Universal Design principles, all while ensuring that your kitchen will be as functional as possible by as many people as possible, regardless of their ability—the true hub of your home.

Over 17,000 listeners heard the podcast when it aired on iHeartRADIO. Now it’s your chance to learn how a Monogram Smart Kitchen with voice activation using Amazon Echo and Google Home, and an app on your smartphone, can elevate everything in your kitchen.


Monogram at KBIS 2018

Written by Courtney Kruer, Commercial Development Program – Monogram

Monogram booth at KBIS

The Monogram team traveled down to Orlando, Florida, for the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show last week to showcase our brand to an array of designers, retailers, remodelers, builders and architects. KBIS is truly breathtaking in how large of an event it is and how many people are in attendance. The convention showcases over 600 leading brands in the industry, engaging everyone in the latest trends in products, design and technology.

NKBA Director of Certification and Design Elle H. Millard talking with Monogram Marketing Manager Ed Mammorella

Monogram engaged our attendees with cuisine (not just pizza) made in the Monogram Pizza Oven right there in the booth with the help of Chefs Nick Liberato and Brian Malarkey.

Chef Brian Malarkey

Chef Nick Liberato

Not only did we have acclaimed chefs, but we also had globally renowned fashion designer, Zac Posen, cooking right alongside them and signing copies of his new cookbook, Cooking with Zac.

Attendees were ecstatic to not only meet Zac and get a signed copy of his cookbook, but also to hear about his plans to design a one-of-a-kind panel for our Monogram Column refrigerators. Stay tuned for more exclusive plans between Monogram and Zac Posen in 2018, as well as partnerships with craftsmen that epitomize the quality of our brand.

Renowned fashion designer Zac Posen with Mary Putman, GE Appliances Vice President, Marketing and Brand

In addition to displaying the custom pizza peel made for Monogram by William Campbell of Anvil Goods, we had another artisan’s talents in a prominent, full-wall display that sparked a lot of conversation. The cast-iron pan covered wall was brought to us by Borough Furnace who sustainably handmakes their products out of recycled scrap iron. Partnering with these artisans supports our passion for craftsmanship, devotion to details and our commitment to Elevate Everything.