Month: August 2014

NKBA 30 under 30 designer profile: Jennifer Kowalski

In July, the GE Monogram Experience Center in Louisville, Kentucky, hosted the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s 30 under 30 designers. These designers were nominated by their peers and have already shown impressive results in their careers. And they are a lot of fun!

We interviewed each designer to learn a little more about their background and design experiences so far. Today’s profile highlights Jennifer Kowalski from Seattle, Washington.

 

Jennifer Kowalski, NKBA 30 under 30 designer

Jennifer Kowalski, NKBA 30 under 30 designer

 

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Jennifer: My interest in design and architecture started at a young age.  My parents subscribed to Architectural Digest, and I would constantly look through the collection of magazines and stare at the images. I would also tear out the floor plans from the magazine and add them to my personal journal.

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

Jennifer: Our company is moving locations and we’re in the process of designing our new kitchen displays and deciding on finishes.  It’s been a blast being my own client.

SRFD: A trend you’re over?

Jennifer: Laminate floors and counters … I’m not sure when they were ever really “in” but I still get people asking about them!

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Jennifer: Polished brass! I’ve always secretly loved a well patina’ed brass, especially on the right designs, and I’m so glad that the design world is embracing it again!

SRFD: What did you learn in Louisville?

Jennifer: I was really impressed with the great lengths that GE takes to get to know their consumers and how they work in their own kitchens.  That amount of interest and detail shows in their designs and the function of their appliances.

Interview with Martin Spicuzza

Martin Spicuzza of Studio Spicuzza

Martin Spicuzza of Studio Spicuzza

 

Rebecca: How did you become interested in design?

Martin: My interest started very early while I was still in grade school and had never heard the term “design” but seemed to always be involved in constructing structures and buildings from toy bricks, steel and girder sets, erector sets, etc. all before Legos were around. I would tell everyone that I wanted to be a builder. In high school the art department had a field trip to The Cleveland Institute of Art where we visited several departments, but the one that captured me was Industrial Design. From that moment, after seeing the students designing futuristic looking automobiles, Industrial Design became my passion. My initial thought of becoming an architect shifted to becoming a designer…not that the two disciplines aren’t interconnected, but the dream of designing cars (since I was a car nut to begin with) sealed my direction. Unfortunately the big three auto makers in Detroit weren’t hiring as there was a recession at the time. I accepted a position as a trade show designer, which eventually brought me to Chicago where I shared space with an Interior Design firm and started to collaborate with them on projects.

 

Rebecca: What kinds of trends have you seen come and go over the years and what kinds of trends do you think are timeless?

Martin: I have been working as a professional designer since 1974. I have seen several trends come and go such as post-modernism as defined by architects such as Michael Graves, to the Memphis movement which grew out of a group of mostly Italian architects that were product designers. In Europe there is little distinction between Architecture and Industrial Design disciplines. Colors have also had trends from the psychedelic colors and patterns of the 60’s and 70’s to the mauve and sage green 80’s and 90’s. Woods with dark ebony color stains graced every high end furniture showroom as we progressed into the new century. As GE well knows appliances in the 50’s and 60’s were avocado, harvest gold and brown in addition to classic white. Stainless steel has been the rage for many recent years and should continue for years to come.
As far as classic, timeless design, I feel that white kitchen cabinets will always be in vogue, woods such as walnut and mahogany, natural stone including white Carrera and Calcutta and metals, both polished and brushed nickel.

 

Rebecca: I know you recently attended the Monogram Design Center in Louisville with us. Tell me about your experience.

Martin: My experience was very educational. I was certainly familiar with the GE brand but always associated it with appliances that were mostly specified by builders for multi-unit developments or clients that possibly had budget restrictions. When the GE Monogram showroom opened in the mart I became aware of the high quality offerings for cooking, refrigeration, dishwashing, etc., and that the Monogram products were on par with other high end appliances. At the Monogram experience center I was able to gain knowledge of products to the point that  I am now confident in speaking and presenting to my clients the features and benefits for considering GE Monogram.

 

Rebecca: We plan to feature your one of your upcoming projects on Save Room for Design. Can you tell us a little bit about this project? How did you meet your client? Give us some background of the initial design work.

Martin: The project encompasses remodeling the entire first floor of the home of which the kitchen/great room is approximately 50% of the entire space.

I was introduced to the client by the general contractor, Construction Development, that I have known and worked with for over 12 years.

Since the kitchen is the most detailed area I decided to focus on this space first by developing preliminary design concepts to present to my clients which led to a more finalized design solution. I specified Neff as the cabinet manufacturer as well as introduced them to GE Monogram products. I felt that this was a good marriage of high quality design, engineering and craftsmanship. To date the cabinets are in production with a delivery set for some time in October. Materials for flooring, countertops and backsplashes are currently being sourced as well as lighting and wall finishes.

 

Martin’s new kitchen project will be featured on Save Room for Design, please revisit us for a updates on this project over the next few months.

 

 

NKBA 30 under 30 designer profile: Lauren Lawless

In July, the GE Monogram Experience Center in Louisville, Kentucky, hosted the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s 30 under 30 designers. These designers were nominated by their peers and have already shown impressive results in their careers. And they are a lot of fun!

We interviewed each designer to learn a little more about their background and design experiences so far. Today’s profile highlights Lauren Lawless from Delaware.

 

Lauren Lawless, NKBA 30 under 30 designer

Lauren Lawless, NKBA 30 under 30 designer

 

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Lauren: I have always been interested in design, particularly by the historic architecture in my local community. As a child I would love exploring old buildings and seeing how they were being fixed up. I suppose they were my introduction to the world of design.

SRFD: Tell us about a recent project you really enjoyed  

Lauren: Recently I created some drawings for a beautiful new townhouse. It was super challenging to draw because the kitchen was laid out in a really unique way. Due to some structural issues, some of the cabinetry had to be specifically engineered for the space. For example, the house had a large support column smack in the middle of the kitchen, and my boss and the construction team had to create an island to fit around it and somehow combine the column into the design when it was in a really awkward spot in the house. It was a really great experience in working around design obstacles.

SRFD: A trend you’re over?

Lauren: Grey cabinetry. I tend to be very cautious whenever colored cabinetry is trending, because you know in a few years that color will be out of style and your kitchen will look dated. I like neutral palettes on kitchen cabinetry because that way they are always classic. You can still work with color trends by adding pops of color with your decor and it will never clash, no matter what the color trend is.

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Lauren: I see a lot of retro-styled appliances coming back. I love the look and think it’s a really fun trend that can give your kitchen an extra bit of fun and personality.

SRFD: What did you learn in Louisville?

Lauren: I learned all about GE and their company, which has a pretty fascinating history. I had no idea that GE was changing from an outsourcing company to making everything in house. Being able to say something is made in America is almost as good a selling point as the appliance features.

Most importantly, I learned some valuable cooking skills that I can’t wait to try in my own kitchen!

Meet Martin …

Martin Spicuzza of Studio Spicuzza

Martin Spicuzza of Studio Spicuzza

 

Save Room for Design is excited to introduce you to Martin Spicuzza. I met Martin last year after we opened our Monogram Design Center in the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. Martin is a local Chicago designer who has owned his own design business for over 25 years. His company, Studio Spicuzza, is located on the 10th floor of the Merchandise Mart giving him access to a wide range of high end showrooms like the GE Monogram Design Center.

Over the next several months, we will chronicle one of Martin’s current kitchen projects. We will take you through the design process, demolition, construction, all the way to a beautiful finished dream kitchen for his client! Check back for all the exciting posts from Martin.

 

ABOUT STUDIO SPICUZZA

Studio Spicuzza is a full service Interior Design Firm specializing in residential and commercial interiors. Over the last 25 years, Martin has designed private residences, corporate headquarters, commercial spaces, and custom furniture. His design method is simple, clean lined, classic contemporary, traditional, and timeless.

Studio Spicuzza’s aim is to inspire quality and elegant execution of each project regardless of scale or budget. They strive to create interior environments that respond to the specific needs of their clients by listening to their wants and desires. With hands on involvement from start to finish, Studio Spicuzza’s tailored environments exhibit the unique voice of their occupants.

Check out some of Martin’s work: www.studiospicuzza.com

NKBA 30 under 30 designer profile: Challaigne Cole

In July, the GE Monogram Experience Center in Louisville, Kentucky, hosted the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s 30 under 30 designers. These designers were nominated by their peers and have already shown impressive results in their careers. And they are a lot of fun!

We interviewed each designer to learn a little more about their background and design experiences so far. Today’s profile highlights Challaigne Cole from Kapolei, Hawaii.

 

NKBA 30 under 30 designer Challaigne Cole

NKBA 30 under 30 designer Challaigne Cole

 

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Challaigne: I became interested in designing over time as I worked in the appliance department at The Home Depot. I noticed the cabinetry and countertop materials that were available, and became fascinated with what could be created on the 20/20 program. I knew I wanted to become a part of something like that. I wanted to be able to create people’s projects. After taking the training, I knew I found the right job. I love being able to combine work and creativity.

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

Challaigne: I had a great project where I had to help the Kamehameha schools on Oahu put together five dorm kitchens and over 40 bathrooms. It was a long and trying project but we got through it. It was exciting to be a part of the whole process and I was happy I got to assist the school in getting all the materials needed to complete the project on time.

SRFD: A trend you’re over?

Challaigne: I am definitely over the standard 1×1 mosaic tile splashes. I love to see subway tiles and varied sizes/textures. Color splash is always beautiful, especially when it’s mixed with glass and natural stones.

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Challaigne: I am definitely in love with color! I can easily fall in love with contrasting colors as much as I would with color splashes like painted red or gray cabinetry. When everything is put together, each customer can make a statement about who they are and what colors they love. A little color can make a big difference in making your kitchen or bathroom your own unique space. I will also always love the look and feel of an apron front sink, particularly in white cast iron.

SRFD: What did you learn in Louisville?

Challaigne: Having an appliance department background definitely helped me stay interested in the entire training at GE Monogram. I enjoyed learning about the Advantium the most! It was a huge help for me to be able to learn about the way it works and I have confidence in the way I will explain it to my customers. It’s such a convenient and powerful kitchen tool! I also really enjoyed learning about the refrigeration part of Monogram. The different ways you can configure some of the models was neat! And now with the compact built-in, a lot of smaller kitchens will be able to have a luxurious style refrigerator.