Designer Profile: Katie Reece

We came across this stunning kitchen designed by Louisville, Kentucky-based Katie Reece with Century Entertainment and Furnishings and were so impressed we had to learn more.

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Katie: I grew up with art always being my first love and design just fell perfectly into that love. I still hand draw all of my plans and elevations for clients. This is my true passion and it affords me the opportunity to impart this passion into their design. It feels more personal and makes each and every project truly custom.

SRFD: Tell us about this project.

Katie: This particular project was very special as the client is a builder, Leo Thieneman & Son’s Fine Homes, which I’ve worked with for years. His vision was a modern farmhouse that would serve their family of six while still maintaining a unique space he could bring clients into. He enlisted the services of Karista Hannah with Set the Stage Interior Design & Home Decor as well as myself to help bring this vision to life.

SRFD: What’s a design trend you love?

Katie: I have always loved using the color white on walls, cabinets, furniture, artwork … really anything having to do with design. I love that so many are seeing it as a color these days and not just a backdrop. Whites can be warm or cool. They can impart energy or keep a mood very subdued. It’s all in how you use it and what undertone you choose. This particular kitchen is painted Sherwin- Williams Pure White. Snowbound is another excellent Sherwin-Williams white that I use frequently.

SRFD: What’s a design trend you’re over?

Katie: I could really do without brushed nickel right now. I know it’s most people’s safe place, their go to choice for metals, but it’s so predictable. I want to see spaces that feel collected and eclectic and you just can’t get that without mixing finishes.

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The Best Bites of the East Coast

AJ Madison and Monogram present East Coast East: Maine to Miami hosted by Josh Capon

Join acclaimed chef Josh Capon at a brand new New York City Wine and Food Festival event on Sunday, October 15, celebrating your favorite dishes from all along the Eastern Coast. From Miami to Maine, we’ve rounded up the best of I-95 such as Maine Lobster Rolls, Philly Cheesesteaks, New York Pizza, North Carolina BBQ, Miami Cuban Sandwiches, and everything in between! Enjoy live music, ice cold beers, wine and spirits, and find out why the East Coast is the FEAST Coast at this fun new festival event!

Learn more on the NYCWFF site.

 

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Historical Home Renovation with Ember & Brune

Initially clients Adam and Sarah came to Ember & Brune because they were having a difficult time finding their forever home. Adam and Sarah were moving from Chicago to the suburbs and had trouble finding everything they wanted in a home. They decided to buy a home and remodel it, and hired Ember & Brune. The firm looked at the house before Adam and Sarah closed on it and came up with a plan to add an addition, while also reconfiguring the existing space to make this historical house everything they wanted in a forever home. All while being budget conscious. As a full-service Design – Build firm, Ember & Brune designs the project, builds it and even provides interior design services to help furnish it!

Take a look at the final reveal Ember & Brune blog post as well as the intro and in progress posts.

 

We interviewed the team at Ember & Brune to learn a little more about the project.

SRFD: Any surprises on this renovation?

Ember & Brune: Endless. We were gutting the existing interior and adding an addition on a home that was built in 1910. Some things we found behind the walls were fun and interesting, like Saturday Evening Post magazines used as insulation and perfectly preserved. While others were scary like old electrical and gas lines that were still live and never properly disconnected and disposed of.

SRFD: What component of the project are you most proud of?

Ember & Brune: While it is impossible to pick just one component, I will say we are very pleased with the coffered ceiling in the kitchen. When our architect told us we could not open up the first floor without a hefty beam running down the middle, we decided to get creative. We designed the coffered ceiling to completely conceal the beam while adding an architectural detail in the kitchen. We tried to stay true to the home’s historical charm. The coffered ceiling has added so much character to the space.

SRFD: Tell us a little about the kitchen.

Ember & Brune: The clients like to entertain so a large kitchen was a must. The island is perfect for entertaining and comfortably sits their guests on the opposite side of their kitchen’s main cooking hub.

 

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Interview with Olga Odeide

Recently we interviewed Olga Odeide, Vice President of Industry Partnerships with the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), to learn about her role with the organization and its’ focus on helping designers.

SRFD: Tell us about your background.

Olga: I’ve had an interesting, non-traditional career arc. I started out in design of a different sort – electrical engineering, circuits and high tech system design. I eventually led a diverse global sales team, but was drawn to more creative pursuits. I pivoted into Interiors and studied at The Art Institutes (where I originally connected with ASID as a student member). After some time at a leading firm working multi-million dollar installations, I combined my design knowledge with my background in business development into a consulting position, working with Design and Architecture firms nationwide to refine growth strategies, streamline operations and maximize profitability. It was during this time that I also enhanced my ASID experience with a Chapter Board role. I’m now at ASID National Headquarters as Vice President of Industry Partnerships, where I work with manufacturers and service providers at a national level to connect them into all that ASID does on behalf of the industry.

SRFD: Why should designers be an ASID member?

Olga: ASID is a community of designers, industry representatives, educators and students who believe that design impacts lives. When you become an ASID member, you are immediately connected to a distinguished network of peers, thought leaders and luminaries. Members have access to the Society’s leading-edge industry research, it’s bi-monthly international magazine, i+D, and a vast array of in-person and online professional development opportunities. ASID offers members a robust chapter experience and the chance to lead at the volunteer, local and national levels. And the Society provides members with a collection of business solutions – contracts, business insurance, health insurance, the ASID job bank, exclusive discounts and more – to help them develop successful careers in the design industry. ASID membership is an invaluable tool in propelling designers to the top of their game.

SRFD: What have you learned from being on the ASID team?

Olga: First and foremost, I’ve learned that the team at ASID headquarters is a committed, high-performing group of talented individuals. I look forward to working with my colleagues every day. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and engage with individual members, Industry Partner members, and leadership at both the local and national level. I’ve formed a new appreciation for the dedication of the designers and representatives I’ve met, and for the vastness of design. There are so many established and emerging areas of specialization – biophilic design, universal design, aging-in-place considerations, workplace and healthcare design – that substantiate the ASID belief that Design Impacts Lives.

SRFD: Favorite ASID experience?

Olga: I’ve had so many great experiences during my tenure with ASID. But if I had to choose just one, I would have to pick The Leadership Experience: Presented by ASID (EXP) which took place in July 2017 in San Diego. EXP was the Society’s most inclusive event ever and featured content for everyone, from emerging professionals to seasoned designers. Interactive workshops, tours, networking events and more were centered around three topic areas – Lead Yourself, Lead Your Team, and Lead Your Firm. ASID is committed to encouraging and training our members to become leaders in the design industry, and that commitment is the driving force behind EXP. Speakers, including Nancy Giordano, founder and CEO of Play Big, Inc.;  Andrew Dent, Ph.D. of Material ConneXion; and several design industry luminaries; offered attendees a fresh perspective on the world of business, leading in the 21st century, and how to lead with authenticity. It was a career-changing experience for all who attended.

SRFD: Tell us a little bit about your partnership with Monogram Appliances.

Olga: It’s been great! Monogram is a National Industry Partner with ASID, supporting the mission to showcase the Impact of Design. National Industry Partner membership provides Monogram access to the broad ASID Chapter network to get brand visibility, participate in various activities, and build relationships with designers at the local level. In addition, we work closely with Monogram designer engagement leader Alex Skobel to better understand Monogram’s overall goals and objectives to augment efforts with sponsorship at the national level. We’ve had great success with both exposure and engagement with designers, and look forward to continuing to grow our partnership for many years to come.

Transitional Kitchen Remodel

This week, we’re talking to a designer whom we’ve interviewed before. Robin Burrill is CEO/Interior Designer of Curb Appeal Renovations. She recently completed a major kitchen remodel using Monogram appliances, and she tells us her story below.

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This was the second job that we were asked to complete for this homeowner…and while the first was a bathroom, it was very traditional. For their kitchen, the homeowners wanted a traditional style, but with more transitional elements.  Transitional?!  Yes! 

Many probably don’t know what that means, so let’s explain it by saying transitional design helps move from traditional to slightly contemporary using very clean lines, not all the “fussiness” that traditional can sometimes have.  And not all the decorations you see in a typical traditional design.

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Much of this project was also structural.  Since the home was built in the 1980s, it had very tiny rooms and, of course, the typical 8’ ceiling.  While they wanted to completely open the kitchen, dining, and living areas, due to structural issues with the second floor, it was cost prohibitive to do so.  The changes we did decide to make gave the area a much more cohesive, wide open look.

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Since the appliances were original to the house, and these owners loved to cook, they added just about every appliance to the kitchen that they could!  The 48’ Monogram range and the custom navy blue hood are the center of the kitchen with the pot-filler placed over the range.  Since she didn’t want a freezer in the kitchen (it’s in her laundry room right around the corner), we installed the 30” Monogram refrigerator column. The Monogram microwave was installed in the upper cabinetry, next to the refrigerator, making easy access for reheating foods or when preparing meals.

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Since the island was so large, not only were we able to get seating on the living room side, but the whole island also has an incredible amount of storage.  On the one end of the island, closest to the door leading to the backyard/pool, we installed both the Monogram ice maker and under counter fridge for easy drink access.  Instead of building a walk in pantry, the storage in this kitchen is incredible — with two-floor ceiling pantry cabinets with pull-out drawers, to the pull-out drawer on the one side of the range, the floor-to-ceiling appliance storage at the opposite end of the kitchen and all the upper cabinets…the walk in pantry just isn’t needed!

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All the cabinetry in the kitchen was painted from DeWils. The main cabinetry is not quite white and the island, while in the pictures due to the natural light, actually matches the custom hood in navy.  The counters are Superior (that’s the color name!) quartzite and while it is beautiful, it does require extra care as it is porous like marble.  The backsplash is a traditional style, subway tile, but with that transitional twist that we talked about earlier in glass!  

We installed hardwood from the front door, through the dining, kitchen and living areas to match the existing hardwood in the house.  The dining room also got a facelift with a dramatic navy ceiling to match the hood and island and a beautiful light seafoam green on the walls.  Polished nickel pendants were installed over the island, along with a new chandelier in the dining room and ceiling fan over the breakfast nook.  The final touch was the polished nickel hardware on the cabinets…giving the classic shaker door an elegant detail!

Award-Winning Kitchen Remodel

Last week, we talked to Lauren Levant about her design background and inspiration. Today we’ll hear from Lauren about a recent, NKBA award-winning kitchen remodel that rings true to her town of Pittsburgh.

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From the street, this house looks every bit a handsome, somewhat traditional home that you would find in any suburban neighborhood in America. The landscaping is neat and tidy, the neighbors wave hello as they walk their dogs and meet the kids at the school bus. In this case, this couple had just sent their last kid off to college and were easing into empty nester life – but the neighborhood and the relationships they’d formed there were enough to dissuade them from leaving the family homestead behind.

The challenge for me as a designer then became to somehow transform this traditional, uninspired kitchen/living space into a much more stylish and exciting one to help celebrate this new phase of life. As you can see in the before photo, this was a fairly small space with a cramped, inefficient layout. The clients craved a bright, breezy space, conducive to entertaining, and full of visually exciting details. They wanted to be sure that beyond improving the form and function of the space, that this renovation would also add energy and interest to their daily life.

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Two major adjustments proved to be the key to everything:

  1. Relocate the garage entry door. This allowed for the addition of a continuous wall of cooking equipment and storage, compensating well for the next step…
  2. Add a series of large sliding glass doors, opening up to the pool area. This may have been the biggest “wow” moment. Everyone would swear that we added square footage, but we didn’t. Keeping your eyes moving through the glass makes it feel that the room doubled in size when it hasn’t. Game changer.

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Now for more details… Last week, I mentioned that one of the kitchen design trends that I love is the mixing of unique metals. In this case, we used a hot-rolled, natural steel hood, created by a local metal artist. Pittsburgh is Steel City, after all. I love how the natural waxed finish allows the metal to show off its natural mill-scaled patina of blues and grays. It sets off the gorgeous Monogram range beautifully. In between those two metals, the backsplash area is paneled in glass, edge-lit by embedded LED lights. This little trick not only looks sexy, but it also enables the client to have notes and recipes written with a wax pencil, which adds some more energy and fun.

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Quartz countertops in white provide a lot of light-bouncing from the view of the pool area, which helps to fill the space with even more light. Most of the time people don’t think of countertops as a light source, but in this case, they are. The cabinetry is done in a modern, textured laminate finish, which adds some contrast from the other glossy surfaces. The secondary wall of storage at the rear of the space is designed at 3⁄4 height, creating a feeling of openness and interest, and making a transition to the third level – a massive center island. Storage is incredibly important in an open kitchen plan, and in our case, we used every available inch to create areas that are functional and easy to keep up with. I mean, who doesn’t love a hidden coffee bar?

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Using high-quality products, particularly appliances, is key to a project that works just as well as it looks. I enjoy using Monogram’s technology and quality whenever I have the opportunity because it helps to reinforce the high standards that I try to emulate as a design professional. These clients are cooking, entertaining, and living in this kitchen, and I feel great knowing that with such a well-equipped new space, they’ll be enjoying this space for many years to come.

In last week’s conversation, I mentioned a recent kitchen renovation in Pittsburgh that had snagged two first place NKBA design awards nationally this year. I’m glad to have the chance to share photos of this project this week – because I think it highlights so many of the things that kitchen design should aspire to be about in the coming years. Designers aren’t always lucky enough to have clients who trust them enough to sign on for ideas that push the limits of a space physically and visually, but in this case, the courage and faith of these empty nesters helped me to transform their modest sized kitchen entirely.

 

Photos: Dave Bryce Photography, courtesy of Lauren Levant Interior