Recap: August Houzz event at Chicago GE Monogram Design Center

We asked Fred Alsen from fma Design to guest post today about an event we hosted last month at the GE Monogram Design Center in Chicago, Illinois.

As a kitchen and bath design professional based in the third largest city in the U.S. – I get to see a lot and hence, I easily stay on top of the latest in North American design trends. And I have to say, I was quite impressed with what I experienced recently at the GE showroom in Chicago’s iconic Merchandise Mart.

The showroom hosted a event for industry professionals. If you haven’t been into the 4,000 square foot showroom – it is divided into two parts. The one side has a kitchen area with an island, a dining room hutch-like piece and a sitting area. It feels as if you are walking into a new, Traditionally styled home. The other half of the showroom is more Contemporary in styling, with a wall of appliances lined up so you can open up, touch, feel, explore, compare, contrast – and, experience.

One of the best parts about being in a showroom with all of these wonderful appliances is you know fabulous food of course goes hand-in-hand! And Chef Jon’s food certainly did not disappoint! Tempting us all event long – scrumptious bites of roasted Grecian root vegetable salad, grilled corn queso dip, down island crab cakes, Memphis-style cheese plate, smoked Tuscan chicken flatbread, and Meyer lemon and cranberry crunch. Yum!

Lindsey Thudin’s presentation on was up next – a Continuing Education Unit (CEU) opportunity for the 25 or so trend setting designers who were on hand for the evening. If you haven’t stopped by the web site yet – just plan your schedule accordingly, because industry pro or homeowner, it will draw you in. Lindsey told us, even specific to Chicagoland, what homeowners were searching for online and what they want to remodel. Did you know that about 1/3 of the most popular images on are not of overall room images – but of storage / organization options? I found this interesting and it says a lot about what consumers are looking for in their remodels and – about how we are living in our homes today.

A quite fabulous twist to the nite was the “Best Design Inspiration” contest GE was sponsoring in conjunction with the event. The idea was to design a kitchen by something you were inspired by that evening. Well, I just had to choose Lindsey’s outfit! And I am excited to share I won the GE Monogram beverage center with my design! (Which, by the way you can see here). What a wonderful surprise and I cannot thank GE enough!


As a designer, we just never know in what exactly we will be inspired by next. Just as it happened with Lindsey’s outfit that evening, I found my inspiration. Leaving the GE showroom and presentation – I was so truly motivated. And I want to thank Alexandra Skobel – our hostess for the event and the Lead Sales Support Specialist in the showroom. She was quite fabulous, as was the entire GE showroom team and Lindsey from

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