The Gilded Age Meets Fashion Icon

The Breakers

In September Monogram brought a group of designers, architects and other key individuals to Newport, Rhode Island, to experience the Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival. Known as the most sophisticated wine and food festival on the East Coast, it has quickly become one of the most anticipated food and wine events in the country.

Hotel Viking

From the minute guests arrived at the elegant Hotel Viking in the Historic Hill neighborhood, they knew the weekend would be truly extraordinary. Prior to the Festival itself, Monogram guests spent a day exploring the lavish and decadent “summer cottages” built in the late 19th century to provide a peaceful respite from the hectic New York City life. The Elms, Rosecliff, and the Isaac Bell House did not disappoint.

Global fashion designer and cookbook author Zac Posen joined Monogram guests for an intimate breakfast and cookbook signing Saturday before heading to the Monogram Culinary Stage to prepare some of the delicious dishes from his cookbook with chef emcee Annie B. Copps. And later in the day chef Jon Liddell joined Zac Posen on stage to create refined and delicious pizzas in the Monogram pizza oven.  A final celebration dinner at the International Tennis Hall of Fame wrapped up the impressive weekend with sophisticated flair.

Celebrity fashion designer Zac Posen with chef/emcee Annie Copps

Monogram chef Jon Liddell with fashion designer Zac Posen

Elevating a Bright White Kitchen with the Gleam of Stainless Appliances

Written by Kim Mays, Monogram content strategist

When the homeowners saw the vaulted frame of the roof for their home addition, they realized the kitchen they were adding would have standard 9-foot ceilings. They wondered if a vaulted ceiling would make the kitchen feel more spacious, so designer Arrington Russell of Restoration Interiors went to work on her plan. The result is a gorgeous kitchen with its “fifth wall” (i.e., the ceiling) vaulted and covered in shiplap and VELUX skylights. The white, mainly transitional style kitchen was featured in an HGTV shoot sponsored by VELUX, and the proud homeowners and designer are delighted.

“This kitchen has a great mix of styles with its modern tile and pendant lights with the farmhouse shiplap,” said Russell. “Everything came together to reveal a kitchen that feels relevant yet timeless.”

For a kitchen addition, that means it blends well with the rest of the home’s style rather than standing out. “For the kitchen flooring, we also decided to carry the hardwood already running through the home… we didn’t want the kitchen to feel like an afterthought,” said Russell.

Bright white elements make this kitchen stand out, especially the subway tiles and tile backsplash feature above the range. And the white shaker style cabinets connect all the pieces across the room cohesively.

With white being the main color, the homeowners were also in love with the idea of marble counters, but with a family of five including kids, marble required a bit too much maintenance. Russell found a stunning quartz by HanStone Quartz called Italian Waves. It gives the look of marble with its white background and veins of charcoal gray but requires much less upkeep. It’s one of Russell’s favorite features of the kitchen, “I love how these quartz counters complement the stainless appliances and the white color that runs throughout this crisp kitchen.”

Speaking of stainless appliances, the designer and homeowners agreed on using Monogram appliances in this kitchen. According to Russell, “They are absolutely gorgeous and gave the kitchen the upscale feel we wanted. We loved that they came with a great track record for dependability. The modern handles on the Monogram appliances also really feel connected to the pendant lights over the kitchen island. They pulled the space together nicely.”

We totally agree. These appliances definitely elevate the look of the kitchen and tie everything together. Kudos to Arrington Russell, Restoration Interiors, and the homeowners on a beautifully designed kitchen space.

Monogram Enhances a Peaceful Retirement Lake Home

Retired sales and marketing executive Sam Skobel had a plan in mind for a peaceful retirement home on a northern Wisconsin lake. We interviewed him to learn about his design inspiration for the home, specifically the kitchen, and the process to create this idyllic retreat.

SRFD: Tell us about this home.
Sam: This is a rustic-style (not rustic in the roughing-it sense) home on a lake with 500′ of frontage on a very private five-acre parcel of wooded land at the end of a dead-end road in northern Wisconsin. So very laid back and peaceful. We purchased the home in 2001 with the plan to totally remodel it prior to retirement, and then live there full-time. Over the last 17 years, we have remodeled,  replaced, renovated and/or upgraded virtually all aspects of the home – only the original walls remain in place. For example, we upgraded the existing floors by replacing them with 110-year-old reclaimed pine and Douglas fir wood from a grain elevator in northern Minnesota. Very dramatic and a wow-factor of the first order.

SRFD: What was your inspiration for the kitchen remodel?
Sam: Being in the the northwoods of Wisconsin, loving the casual lodge-style type of decor and wanting to remain consistent with the design throughout the rest of the house, we chose the casual-but-elegant barn-board based style inspired by books, magazines, internet searches, model homes and retailer displays. It was very important to us to have the kitchen look high-end with a casual/informal feel, but without the typical minimalist look of many higher end kitchen designs. It’s the style of the whole house, and it’s the way we live.

SRFD: Tell us about the kitchen remodel.
Sam: The kitchen renovation began in March 2018 and, as planned, was the last step in the 17-year remodel plan. Similar to the reclaimed floors in concept and style, the custom cabinets are also reclaimed barn-board, very nicely complimenting but not imitating the floor. The countertops are exotic-grade, book-match granite with “rock-edge.” The sink and range hood are custom hammered-copper, as are the lighting and switch plates. The backsplash is 2″x4″ travertine brick-style tiles with hammered copper accent tiles. All cabinets have custom above and below cabinet lighting on dimmer switches allowing the mood to be fine-tuned.

SRFD: Can you walk us through your design process?
Sam: The design process was very difficult – mostly because of our location in extremely northern WI and the minimal availability of licensed and/or certified kitchen designers. As such, we tackled the design process ourselves. The process started with appliance selection, as those items dictated many of the cabinet/other dimensions and configurations. Regarding appliances, we chose Monogram appliances because we felt they had the best available features and benefits, and they far-and-away provided the best value. We included the 36″ panel-ized fridge/freezer, panel-ized dishwasher, wall oven, Advantium oven, 36″ rangetop and panel-ized wine refrigerator. Now that they’re in place we absolutely love them – especially the panel-ized refrigerator/dishwasher/wine refrigerator. They look great! After choosing appliances we selected our cabinet manufacturer, followed by the sink (a 30″ apron-front single bowl hammered copper) and matching 40″ hammered copper range-hood. Granite countertop selection followed next, with backsplash and lighting last.

SRFD: What was the most challenging piece of the renovation?
Sam: Without question, the most challenging part of the renovation was personally coordinating all aspects of the tear out-to-completion process. We were let down many times by various suppliers who just did not deliver as promised, both time and/or quality-wise. As a result the original time line (agreed to by all) of six to seven weeks turned into about 11-12 weeks. While in the long run the additional four weeks is not a huge deal, it did cause us to live in a “construction zone” for an extra month and, more importantly, was wholly avoidable.

SRFD: What part did you enjoy the most?
Sam: The part we enjoyed the most was, as I’m sure with most renovations, was watching the space come together and seeing the finished product. Because we totally owned the project from concept to design to execution to completion, seeing the transformation become real before our eyes was most rewarding. I guess I’d put it this way – it’s very satisfying to see an image in your head become tangible and real, and be the place you stand back, admire and live in.The finished kitchen is absolutely beautiful and is everything we could have wanted….and more!

Monogram and the COCOCOZY Design House

Earlier this year, Monogram was contacted by Coco from the popular interior design blog COCOCOZY. A Los Angeles native, Coco leads a double life – she is an executive by day and an interior design blogger and home furnishings designer by night. Coco shared her plans with us for the COCOCOZY Design House, her current renovation of an 1860 square foot Spanish style home in View Park, LA. We were so excited about the opportunity, we agreed to provide Monogram appliances for the kitchen.

You can read more about the appliances Coco selected for the COCOCOZY Design House on her blog. Stay tuned for more photos as the renovation moves forward.

Photo credit: KOENIG Building & Restoration

 

Designer Profile: Sarah Nelson

Monogram has the pleasure of working with so many talented and impressive designers across the country. Sarah Nelson, kitchen and bath designer with Kowalske Kitchen & Bath, is a true design professional we enjoy partnering with, and wanted to learn a little more about her background and experiences.

Monogram showroom at Kowalske Kitchen & Bath

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Sarah: My passion for design started very young. As a child, I would insist my parents “re-decorate” my room every six months … from the pillows to the paint color. It was always changing – thankfully, they embraced my hobby! Even as a child I knew that a room was not just a space. It was a place where memories were made. A room should not only be aesthetically pleasing, but also functional, inspire an emotion, and give off a feeling that makes you want to stay awhile. I use that motto everyday while working with my clients.

I have been specializing in kitchen and bath design for nine years. At Kowalske Kitchen & Bath, we are a full-service design build company. From the design phase to execution of work. In addition, we cater to numerous other projects that include whole house transformations.

Monogram showroom at Kowalske Kitchen & Bath

SRFD: Tell us about a recent project.

Sarah: Currently, I am working on renovating a 1940’s lakeside cottage. I wanted to keep a lot of the details that would have been original such as the hardwood floors throughout (which were in great shape), arched doorways, and moldings. We kept finishes cohesive due to a smaller, cozy floorplan. However, we did not skimp on any details! Painted cabinets with mullion glass doors, Brazilian quartzite countertops, bead board throughout, made-to-order etched chandeliers, custom iron railings, and a collection of items from the clients’ European travels. It will truly be the charming cottage it once was.

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Sarah: I am excited to see the use of stained cabinets again instead of painted. I will say, a painted white kitchen is SO timeless and classic. Of course it’s always beautiful! BUT I am loving the look of lighter wood tones paired with a printed bold tile. It tends to look more livable and unique. Another trend I look forward to is more metals-gold/brass, rose gold, etc.

SRFD: A trend you’re over?

Sarah: The porcelain wood plank. It seems to be overused. It was once a specialty item and now it’s everywhere.  I get it…the look of wood with all the low maintenance factors of a porcelain tile. I still recommend as needed 🙂

SRFD: Tell us about your experience with Monogram.

Sarah: We had worked with Monogram to create a working showroom display. The goal was to design a kitchen that could appeal to many different tastes. It was a blank space and we wanted to showcase our products with an emphasis on the appliances. It includes a 36” dual fuel range with matching vent hood, the integrated fridge and freezer columns (which have a surprising amount of storage) and the 30” Advantium convection/micro. The microwave convection oven has been most popular as it has many functions, whether it may be heating up a cup of coffee quickly or cooking a full meal. We have enjoyed every aspect!

Monogram showroom at Kowalske Kitchen & Bath

Monogram as a whole appeals to our clientele based off their ability to provide innovative products, transitional sleek designs that accommodate any desired style, and a strong customer service team with a lot of knowledge.

Monogram showroom at Kowalske Kitchen & Bath

Balancing Elegance with Functionality in a Family Kitchen

A practical family kitchen must fulfill many roles while remaining functional as a cooking and food storage area. For one Syosset, New York family, it was important to balance an elegant look with its functional design. Ellen Lopez with El Design Studio learned about the family and their needs before she created this bright and practical, yet polished kitchen renovation.

As a first time parent, the new mother needed a transitional kitchen renovation that met everyone’s needs—including the family dog. She also wanted a luxurious, beautiful space that worked with the rest of her home.

“She comes from a creative background, so she had a lot of colorful artwork around the home. She wanted something simple but elegant that didn’t compete with her other colorful décor,” said Lopez.

With that in mind, Lopez developed her plan. She created a good rhythm with the cabinetry and an efficient workflow to harmonize with her striking design elements. The result is a work of art—balance and interest blended with functional elements.

Having light when and where you need it is extremely important in a family kitchen space. Though a lot of light enters the kitchen from the windows, white cabinets keep the kitchen bright and airy. The addition of pendant lights over the step-up island along with under-cabinet task lighting, glass door cabinet lights, and lights over the sink mean that this space remains cheerful and well-lit no matter the time of day.

Lopez said her favorite element of this kitchen is how its crisp whiteness works so well. It is bright and refined, but not uptight. It has its own personality, but doesn’t upstage the art in the rest of the home. Even the paneled Monogram refrigerator blends right into the space with its custom white exterior.

On top of the white cabinets sits the gorgeous granite countertops with deep veins of grey, dark charcoal, white and black. To accent the granite, Lopez created a glass mosaic tile detail that sets off the white subway tile backsplash and then frames the pot filler above the Monogram cooktop and oven. The tile flooring remains subtle with its mottled grey coloring that reflects the grey tones in the granite. Tile flooring is easy to clean and stands up well to foot traffic from both pets and people, so it was an obvious choice for this family kitchen.

Both Lopez and the home owner love every luxurious detail of this inviting kitchen. Its style, functionality, and Monogram appliances are sure to serve this growing family for many years to come.

 

Designer Profile: Nicole Ellis Semple

Monogram has the pleasure of working with so many talented and impressive designers across the country. Nicole Ellis Semple with Kuklinski + Rappe Architects in the Chicago area is a true design professional we enjoy partnering with, and wanted to learn a little more about her background and experiences.

Photo credit: Leslie Schwartz Photography

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Nicole: Even as a child I was always specific about the aesthetics of my environment: the colors, the placement of furniture, finding practical objects that were beautiful. My mother is a pretty serious seamstress and crafty gal so I grew up around textiles, color, woodworking, and painting. My father is handy and took up woodworking and remodeling our house, and several of my uncles are in the construction trades. Design and construction were always a part of my life.

In my seventh grade shop class we had to design and draw a house floor plan and something clicked for me. I came home that night and told my parents that I wanted to be an architect.

SRFD: Tell us about your recent projects.

Nicole: We worked on two projects recently that involved subtle plan changes with a big impact on the spaces: one is a very contemporary design, the other quite traditional.

Photo credit: Leslie Schwartz Photography

Our Little Green Kitchen is a bold renovation of a small condo kitchen that previously had bland finishes and a poorly planned layout. The client wanted a colorful geometric backsplash with coordinating cabinets. We created a color blocked space with a much better work flow. Despite the bold pattern and color, the space is bright, fresh, and well-proportioned now.

Inversely, we recently completed a very traditional English cottage style kitchen on the North Shore. We reconfigured a winding floorplan in a small home to create a generous galley kitchen, a butler’s pantry that doubles as a laundry room, relocate a basement stair, and improve a bathroom. The house is small, but by cleaning up the plan and lightening the color palette, we were able to make a dramatic improvement.

And I’m excited about a third project that will be complete this summer: we moved the kitchen in a project we completed 15 years ago from one side of the house to the other. This is our third project for this client, and as her tastes and times have evolved, she decided she wanted something completely different. She put total trust in us to turn the house upside down and I’m not sure who’s more excited about it – her or us!

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Nicole: I appreciate the increasing desire to live simply in small spaces. Our best innovations come from serious space or budget constraints. I love exploring how to use the existing envelope of a home to make it work better without an addition. Subtle changes can have a much higher impact in small spaces. And when clients decide to pare down their belongings, those improved spaces feel so much lighter and brighter!

SRFD: A trend you are over?

Nicole: As classic as it may be, I’m really over standard white Shaker cabinets and basic white subway tile. I’d much prefer to see a similar rhythm and clean lines achieved in other ways. At the very least, we like to play with the edge profile or panel to give it a little oomph. If you’re already paying for a designer’s expertise and/or custom cabinetry, why select something so ubiquitous? Make it personal!

SRFD: Tell us about your engagement with Monogram

Nicole: We’ve been using Monogram for years now. They are a go-to for solving space problems and innovative technology: a 48” wide range with an oven cavity large enough for the heftiest of Thanksgiving turkeys, or a just-right sized built-in refrigerator for a small condo. We appreciate the consistent pace of innovation and that Monogram seems to have a perfect product for every client. They were a joy to work with for our Little Green Kitchen, which is fully equipped with Monogram appliances.

Monogram and Zac Posen: The Elevate Everything Project

Monogram recently debuted a Column refrigerator door panel artfully conceived by style and fashion icon Zac Posen. With intricate details from the charcoal mirror finish to the fabric inspired details, Zac Posen’s door panel exudes sophistication that will help its owners realize the endless opportunities for custom design. The Monogram column is expertly engineered with LED interior lighting, autofill pitcher and WiFi connectivity.

Designer Profile: Jean Stoffer

Monogram has the pleasure of working with so many talented and impressive designers across the country. Jean Stoffer with Jean Stoffer Design in the Chicago area is a true design professional we enjoy partnering with, and wanted to learn a little more about her background and experiences.

Kitchen in 1902 Victorian Home designed by Jean Stoffer Design. Photography: John Stoffer

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Jean: I became interested in design soon after graduating from college in 1982. After getting a business degree I went to work for a small interior design firm as the business manager. I was fascinated by what they were doing. The principle designer was very kind to me and informally apprenticed me when she observed my interest. I’ve never looked back.

SRFD: Tell us about a recent project.

Jean: Our firm has been given the opportunity to do design work in many older homes with fabulous architectural details. We find it particularly gratifying to embrace this architecture as a gift and work with it to modernize the homes in a way that compliments how we live and work in our homes today. One such project we completed recently was in a 1902 Victorian in West Michigan. Very little had changed in the home over the decades. Although it was in rough shape, all the original moldings and some very special doors and windows were still there. Score! To agree with how the family lives we moved the kitchen into the original dining room, the family room into the original back parlor, and the dining room into the original front parlor. We made the old kitchen into a mud room, laundry room and powder room. Upstairs we converted one of the bedrooms into a bathroom. We kept the character, and whenever possible highlighted it. It was a triumph! Both we and the clients are delighted with the results.

Kitchen in 1902 Victorian home designed by Jean Stoffer Design. Photography: John Stoffer

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Jean: I’m excited about the trend embracing more color. Particularly in wall paint and accessory items like pillows.

SRFD: A trend you’re over?

Jean: A trend I’m over is recessed can lights proliferated in every single ceiling of an entire home.

Kitchen in 1902 Victorian home designed by Jean Stoffer Design. Photography: John Stoffer

SRFD: Tell us about your relationship with Monogram.

Jean: I have had the good fortune of attending a designer training event with Monogram at the Chicago Merchandise Mart. Since that training I have felt confident to spec Monogram in projects and educated enough to explain to the client why Monogram is a wise choice.

Zac Posen Reveals Custom Couture-Inspired Monogram Refrigerator Panel

Monogram is rolling out the red carpet to debut a Column refrigerator door panel artfully conceived by style and fashion icon Zac Posen. With intricate details from the charcoal mirror finish to the fabric inspired details, Zac Posen’s door panel exudes sophistication that will help its owners realize the endless opportunities for custom design.

Posen, a judge for Lifetime’s “Project Runway,” is renowned for dressing leading women, including Michelle Obama, Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman and Rihanna. Also an avid culinary artist and author of the cookbook Cooking with Zac, Posen collaborated with Monogram to bring his signature runway style to luxury kitchens.

“I’m a great believer in handcrafted products—it is part of the DNA of who I am, my brand and the clothing I make,” Posen said. “Creativity and elegance can live anywhere, and I find my inspiration in working with form and shape. When designing for Monogram, I was thinking about how clothing is wrapped around the body and how that can be translated to move over a flat form. There’s a level of precision and detail in all facets of the Monogram Column refrigerator that makes it more than an appliance—it is a work of thoughtfully crafted artistic expression.”

Like Posen, Monogram is known for its finely crafted details and distinctive styles that adorn the homes of owners with refined tastes. The Monogram column is expertly engineered with LED interior lighting, autofill pitcher and WiFi connectivity.

“Our owners crave personalization and sophistication—and Zac’s door panel is an inspired example of what a Column refrigerator can be,” said Keith Larsen, executive director, Monogram. “We use only the finest materials from the LED lighting to the finely polished stainless-steel accents. In combination with Zac’s signature style, the Monogram Column refrigerator is the ultimate culmination of high fashion and high function.”

Posen is among an elite galleria of world-class artisans that Monogram has enlisted to celebrate the craftsmanship of Monogram appliances. Defined by purposeful design and complemented by one-of-a-kind creations, Monogram offers topline ranges, refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers and more.

“When I’m in the kitchen, I want my appliances to be as refined as my recipes,” Posen said. “The Monogram Column refrigerator is elegant. It is so meticulously crafted. It’s a hand-finished product so it really deserved to have an equally beautiful, handcrafted door panel. Together, we have created an inspiration for how column appliances can uniquely personalized.”

Fashion icon Zac Posen, celebrity A-lister Brooke Shields and GE Appliances Vice President of Marketing and Brand Mary Putman celebrated the launch of his newly-designed refrigerator column for the Monogram appliance collection at The Pool hotspot in New York.