Food preservation and today’s kitchen

Written by Paula Kennedy, CMKBD CAPS, Timeless Kitchen Design in Seattle Spoiler Alert – Kitchens waste food! Today’s kitchens are not designed with food preservation in mind. That may sound strange to say, isn’t so much of what we do focused around food storage? Yes. But, food PRESERVATION, is different than merely storage. I am beyond exasperated with throwing away…

Designer Profile: Paige Fuller

The Chicago Monogram Design Center (MDC) brings designers to Chicago, Illinois, for two-day experiences to learn about Monogram, the design process, our appliances – and even cook with them! We interviewed each designer to learn a little more about their background and design experiences. Today we’re featuring Paige Fuller, designer with Bay Cabinetry & Design.


SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Paige: I have been an interested in design since I was a little girl. I remember my mother use to give me her old Home and Garden magazines and let me cut out curtains, artwork, photos of rugs, etc., and let me decorate my doll houses by taping them up throughout the spaces! As I grew older, I became specifically interested in kitchen design because of all the great experiences I had in the kitchen with my mom, cooking and socializing while preparing meals for our family and friends. The kitchen is truly the heart of the home! In high school, I participated in an internship with a local interior designer and knew immediately this is exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life! Yes, designing in my job, but it is also my passion. I am constantly looking through design magazines, browsing Houzz, etc., as not only part of my job, but also because it is my hobby.

SRFD: Tell us about a recent project you enjoyed?

Paige: A recent project that I have really enjoyed is actually a kitchen that features all GE Monogram appliances. This project is a new construction home and we are calling it “Rural Modern,” as it features a contrast of old and new. What I enjoyed most about this project is working in collaboration with the homeowners (who were also the general contractors). Together we were able to pull together every single element to make it flow perfectly! When you start mixing classic/rustic materials such as rustic alder and honed marble, with modern pieces such as sleek black cabinets and white quartz, there is always a fine line that cannot be crossed otherwise it looks like things just got thrown together randomly! I think we balanced things well throughout the entire home! These clients really tested my design abilities and pushed my creativity, which has paid off tremendously. This house was recently featured on the Home and Cottage Tour in Traverse City, Michigan, and received wonderful feedback! I also worked very closely with these clients after attending the GE Monogram training in Chicago last year in regards to appliance selections. They were torn between a lower price point appliance brand and Monogram, and I was able to take what I learned at the training to inform them on the benefits of the Monogram line. We both are so pleased with the function of the appliances and also the clean, sleek, built-in look.

Kitchen photos source:

kitchen1 kitchen2 kitchen3 kitchen4 kitchen5 kitchen6 kitchen7 kitchen8SRFD: A trend you’re over?

Paige: Traditional design. I have always gravitated towards a more contemporary style personally and now as a designer, I find that a majority of my clients are also doing the same. I feel the modern day family would function best in a more contemporary style as the door styles remain simple and easy to clean and maintain versus a highly decorative door style or a ton of intricate moldings, which are a nightmare to keep clean. I am also not a fan of the current obsession with polished brass fixtures and hardware, it seems to be making a comeback and I am not sure why. Once again, anything polished will be hard to keep clean.

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Paige: One design trend that I have been really excited about lately is the use of barn wood! I’ve been using it as accent walls, panels on the back of kitchen islands and floating shelves. I really love the look of mixing old barn wood with some crisp clean bright cabinets.

SRFD: Tell us what you learned at the designer training in Chicago?

Paige: The designer training in Chicago taught me so many things, it would be hard to list them all! Overall a great informative and fun overview of the Monogram line. I think the best part was actually getting to use and cook on the appliances. Getting the hands on training has helped me better explain to my clients how awesome they really are, as I was able to actually prepare meals using them. The showroom staff at the GE Monogram design center in Chicago has also been wonderful with giving a helping hand with projects I have designed since the training- I have had to reach out to them with questions multiple times and they have always helped in any way possible to make sure my designs are carried out the way I am imagined them and also that my clients are happy with their selections.

Paige and a co-worker at the Chicago Monogram Design Center training.

Paige and a co-worker at the Chicago Monogram Design Center training.



Monogram Modern Home in Atlanta October 7 – 8

Join us on for the fifth stop on our cross-country modern design road trip with Dwell. Our first destination in May was Seattle, Washington; then we stopped in San Francisco, California; followed by Los Angeles, California; last month we were in Houston, Texas; and this weekend we’re traveling to Atlanta, Georgia!


The Monogram Modern Home Tour will continue its modern design road trip east to Atlanta where it will join Westside Provisions District on October 7th and 8th. The Monogram Modern Home will be open for tours, live product demonstrations and culinary tastings prepared by our tour chef on Saturday, October 8.

For accredited industry professionals, please join us on Friday, October 7, for a day of continuing design education. For additional details and to register for the CEU’s, visit the Dwell website.

Find Monogram on Twitter and Instagram.

Find Dwell on Twitter and Instagram.

Why Become a Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer?

Recently we chatted with Lisa “Elle” H-Millard, Manager of Certification and Design for the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), to discuss the benefits of designer certification through NKBA.


SRFD: Why is being a CKBD important in the design world?

Elle: The building/remodeling industry is a $121 billion market in which kitchens and baths represent $31 billion of the industry. We also know that the average home is being remodeled every seven years, so business looks pretty promising for the future. With so much development and construction, mistakes are made daily. Each mistake could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, all affecting your bottom line. As a Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer (CKBD) or Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD), you are able to greatly reduce the amount of mistakes made on a job and can communicate more effectively with other trades using consistent and appropriate industry standards.

I myself had been designing commercially for over seven years as a restaurant designer and believed I was at a point where “I didn’t need to be certified as I am established and doing well for myself.” Little did I know that there was more than I would like to admit that I needed to know more about, such as make-up air, ventilation and mechanical drawings. For me, I knew enough to get by, but couldn’t really consider myself an expert in those areas. I knew that if I wanted to continue to grow as a designer and stand out from my competitors, I needed to make this my responsibility. Certified designers are responsible for making solid recommendations based on a client’s needs and wants and must be competent in writing specifications, creating drawings (floor plans, construction plans, mechanical plans and elevations), communicating clearly with other trades, managing projects, and managing an ethical business.

SRFD: What is the difference between an AKBD, CKBD and CMKBD?

Elle: Short answer … it is a hierarchy of certification starting with an Associate level and capping at the Masters level.

  • AKBD – An Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer has two years of industry experience and passed a challenging exam consisting of 150 multiple choice questions. An AKBD is knowledgeable in the kitchen and bath industry, however, is not considered a certified designer. Also the AKBD exam is not intended for designers only, rather for those interested in gaining more knowledge in the industry.
  • CKBD – A Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer must have an AKBD certification and be able to apply the knowledge to real-life client requests. A CKBD must have five years industry experience, 60 education hours, and pass a challenging two-part exam including eight drawings and 50 multiple choice questions. There are existing Certified Kitchen Designers (CKD) and Certified Bath Designers (CBD) that have taken a drawing exam specific to either kitchen or bath, not both. Specializing in Kitchen only or Bath only is no longer an available option, however those members can test for the remaining designation
  • CMKBD – A Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer must have two years of industry experience AFTER achieving CKBD level, 100 education hours, and be in good standing with the NKBA. In addition, a CMKBD will need to be engaged in the industry, promote professionalism, and cultivate new talent.

For more information about how you can become a Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer, visit

Connect with your kitchen

In today’s world, we are all connected in one way or another to everything around us, so why not be connected in your kitchen as well.  Thanks to Monogram’s WiFi Connect, you can talk to your appliances from anywhere – giving you the ability to monitor and control your appliances with your smartphone.


How will Monogram’s connected appliances help you? So many ways!


  • Preheat your oven, no matter where you are
  • Set timer alerts when you are baking or roasting
  • Change the oven temperature from anywhere


  • See cycle time remaining
  • Lock and unlock door
  • Track pods and rinse aid
  • Get alerts if something is preventing you from the best wash


Learn more and share your thoughts on the NKBA Connect blog today.

The Smart Kitchen Evolution

Written by Molly Ford, Monogram Experience Center intern

We have all seen the home become increasingly “smarter,” or more device-central, but large kitchen appliances have not kept up at the rate that smaller technologies have developed. The heart of the home is finally seeing some long-anticipated upgrades that bring the kitchen up to speed with the rest of the house. The idea of connecting intuitive technologies with powerful appliances creates an impressive duo- with relatively untapped potential.

The Amazon Echo has been on the scene for about a year, and has rapidly grown from a novelty gadget to a hub for home-automation. The Echo is a voice-enabled wireless speaker – think of a stand-alone Siri with a longer list of skills. Here at the Monogram Experience Center, we wanted to see how we could use the Echo in our day-to-day work and personal lives. We have made “Alexa,” the Echo’s trigger name, our assistant chef, secretary, entertainer, and more.

Alexa will provide us with meal ideas, food storage information, beer and wine pairings, measurement calculations, create a synced grocery list, among a constantly growing list of skills. These are fun to play with, and legitimately helpful, but the real “smart kitchen” came when we connected the Echo with our wall ovens.  We can control these ovens with our voice saying something like,

“Alexa, turn on the upper oven to 350 degrees and set the timer for 45 minutes.”

Alexa will confirm and immediately start the oven. Similarly, we can control the range hood and lights, and the team is constantly collaborating with developers to add kitchen elements to blend appliances with devices.

Voice-enabled appliances are a just a peek at how technology could change the way we cook and spend time in the kitchen, and we are eager to see the next convenience we can offer our customers.  The program is still in it’s infancy, but we expect to see everything but the kitchen sink connected to our Echo soon – and who knows, they might throw that in too!

The Amazon Echo and our Monogram wall oven in the Monogram Experience Center.

The Amazon Echo and our Monogram wall oven in the Monogram Experience Center.

Monogram Modern Home in Houston September 9 and 10

Join us on for the fourth stop on our cross-country modern design road trip with Dwell. Our first destination in May was Seattle, Washington; then we stopped in San Francisco, California; followed by Los Angeles, California; and this weekend we’re back on the road and traveling to Houston, Texas!


The Monogram Modern Home will be heading east to Houston, Texas where it will join the Houston Antiques + Art + Design Show at Silver Street Studios on September 9 – 10. The Monogram Modern Home will be open for tours, live product demonstrations and culinary tastings prepared by our tour chef on Saturday, September 10.

For accredited industry professionals, please join us on Friday, September 9, for a day of continuing design education. For additional details and to register for the CEU’s, visit the Dwell website.

Find Monogram on Twitter and Instagram.

Find Dwell on Twitter and Instagram.

First Half Recap of the Monogram Modern Home Tour

We recently interviewed Alex Skobel, Monogram Designer Development Manager and lead for this year’s Monogram Modern Home tour, to find out her thoughts on the first half of the tour. The Monogram Modern Home tour will resume next month (September 9 and 10) in Houston, Texas.

SRFD: What have you learned from the first three tour stops?

Alex: The first three stops have been a huge success for the Monogram brand. I would say the biggest thing we learned is that it is key to tie the Monogram Modern Home to an event that is going on in the local market to help drive traffic.

SRFD: What do you think you will do differently in the next three tour stops?

Alex: We have done a great job connecting with the designer community, but we are going to really amplify the communication through the local NKBA and ASID chapters for the rest of the stops.

SRFD: Favorite experience so far?

Alex: My favorite experience so far was the panel discussion we had at the DODLA show. The panel consisted of Michela O’Connor-Abrams, CEO of Dwell; Lou Lenzi, Director of Industrial Design for GE Appliances; Jamie Derringer, founder of Design Milk; Gretchen Hansen, founder and CEO of Decorist; and Lisa Blecker, Director of Marketing at Resource Furniture. What a great group of smart, creative and experienced people. The audience was so engaged with them and I loved it!

Alex's favorite panel at DODLA

Alex’s favorite panel at DODLA

SRFD: The city you’re most looking forward to?

Alex: I’m really looking forward to the Miami stop, since we are tying that event to Design Miami which happens November 30 – December 4.   Should be a fabulous couple of days in Miami with the designer community.

SRFD: A city you would love for the tour to visit?

Alex: I would love for the tour to visit Denver because it’s an up and coming city with lots of culture to it.

Designer Profile: Ellen Cheever

Written by Christina Dragota, Monogram Lead Product Specialist

We had the pleasure of having Ellen Cheever join us for one of our Monogram Training Sessions at our Chicago Monogram Design Center this past July. She has spent the past 44 years significantly outlining the kitchen and bathroom design world, not only for consumers, but also for the industry. From just having come off her trip at EuroCucina in Milan, she went through the upcoming trends pertaining specifically to kitchen and bath. While going through all of the sleek, contemporary images of kitchen design concepts she noted, “This is the first time I’ve seen Europe and America sharing similar trends across the design.” She continued explaining how this is an exciting time of collaboration throughout metals, technology and also appliances. While speaking with her, you get this immediate sense of knowledge of all she’s learned throughout her career, but in a way that is approachable, which is why we wanted to interview her!

Ellen Cheever

Ellen Cheever with Ellen Cheever & Associates in Wilmington, DE


SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Ellen: While I was in grade school, my mother gave me a hundred dollars if I could complete the task of remodeling our bedroom. Ever since that initial challenge, I was addicted and wanted to learn as much as I could about design. In the 70’s we didn’t have “Design Majors”, so the next best option was Home Economics which did focus more on home planning, but in college that was the closest thing.

SRFD: Tell us about a recent project you really enjoyed.

Ellen: We were working on a show house in Wilmington where they wanted our firm to do a Master Bath. It’s always challenging to make a functioning bathroom while still maintaining that showroom impression. We wanted to have that “wow” factor but with functionality, which I think we accomplished.

SRFD: What is a trend you’re over?

Ellen: Glazed white finishes.

SRFD: What is a trend you’re excited about?

Ellen: Contemporary wood veneers that are produced in manmade materials and also, innovations within appliance technologies. I think focusing on making equipment smarter and more intuitive but still friendly to Cooks that are a little uncertain about operating technology.

SRFD: What did you learn at the Chicago Monogram Design Center?

Ellen: It allowed me to expand my knowledge on the possibilities with induction cooking. I now appreciate more “combination appliances” like the Advantium. By seeing Chef Jon cook in it teamed with your presentations given on the versatility behind the product, it really made me understand its use, especially for smaller spaces.

SRFD: What is your favorite Monogram product?

Ellen: I loved the 30” integrated refrigerator with the combination drawer. The flexibility is fantastic, as well as, the look.

Lou’s views: observations from a retiring Design Director

Written by Lou Lenzi, retired GE Appliances Director of Design

This will be my last “Save Room” blog entry. After 36 years in the Design profession, it’s time to down-shift and pursue my hobbies and interests on a full-time basis. Like most designers, this will involve trying to create something of beauty, only on my time this time. I’m delighted that my successor, Marc Hottenroth, a 24 year veteran of the GE Appliances Design team, will assume the role of Design Director by the time you read this.

Before signing off, I’d humbly like to share some observations on the state-of-our-art, along with some predictions.

Technology: a Healthy Dialog

While connected appliances are in full bloom in the kitchen and laundry room, connectivity itself is still in its infancy. Yes, we’re providing new levels of convenience and performance through our WiFi enabled products, but the next meaningful wave has yet to hit the shore. That will come when we fully integrate kitchen design, rich information services, and connected appliances. What’s the “killer app”, to use an old phrase? I believe it will come in the form of quick and convenient healthy meal planning and preparation. Let’s face it, reducing the cost of health care in the US begins with our diet, and as key influencers in the kitchen, it’s time we all step-up and play a role here.


The interactive multimedia induction cooktop makes healthy meal prep easy



The interactive multimedia induction cooktop makes healthy meal prep easy


We will also begin talking to our appliances. And unlike adolescent children, they will dutifully listen and respond. The cost of voice recognition technology is coming down and accuracy is improving, helping to ease access to those amazing technologies and features we’ve been incorporating into our products. Why press a bunch of buttons or dive into a multi-layered menu system when you can simply say “heat the upper oven to 350 degrees” or tell the water heater you’ll need more hot water for the guests coming to visit this weekend. For those nay-sayers convinced we’ll never talk to machines, it wasn’t too long ago that people said we’d never read our favorite authors on a piece of glass because it wasn’t as cozy or inviting as the printed page.

The disappearing kitchen

Just as the kitchen became the focal point of our home, so too will it look less like a kitchen. Certain appliances will begin to “disappear” – first through finishes and user interfaces that blend into the surrounding cabinetry, followed by appliances that become the cabinetry. Small form-factor housing and alternative living patterns – think multi-generational households – will also contribute to us rethinking the industrial design of our products, transitioning from a machine-art to a furniture aesthetic.

Where's the kitchen?

Where’s the kitchen?

The mobile home, built by a robot?

Today’s mobile workforce, coupled with our desire to sample a variety of living environments means we’ll delay owning a home and being tethered to a mortgage. That’s not to say we won’t seek out well thought-out, intellectually stimulating and comfortable communities, we’ll just rent a home in that community, then simply move on to the next experience whenever we’re ready for a change.

Home construction building methods and techniques will dramatically change. The skilled-trade workforce that home builders have historically relied upon has dramatically shrunk since the great recession and they are not likely to return to the levels necessary to support traditional stick-built style home construction. Modular and automated factory-based manufacturing processes will finally take root after many false starts, followed by the emergence of large, on-site 3D printing techniques. After 200 years, the stick-built home, along with its associated material waste and inefficiencies, may be a thing of the past.

I hope these thoughts will stimulate further discussion among the Monogram design community. It’s been an absolute joy to chat with you.