Written by Kim Mays, Monogram content strategist
Michele Koken grew up in a quaint, historic Kentucky town, inspired by her artist grandfather and her dad—an avid antique collector. As a kid, she often drew home floor plans and added furniture and appliances within them without understanding exactly why it was important. “I was space planning before I even knew what it was,” said Koken. It was only natural that she grew her child-born hobby into her much-loved profession.
With 17 years as a designer, Koken grew her career into her own business. 13 years ago, she started MBK Design, her successful Indianapolis-based interior design firm, and she hasn’t looked back. Koken describes her design style as a “mix of traditional and modern with a light, clean aesthetic.” She loves adding vintage and antique pieces to her spaces, as well—a subtle nod to her dad’s influence on her style. Among the designers who inspire her, Koken lists Nate Berkus, Bunny Williams, Kelly Wearstler, and Amber Lewis, and even designers closer to home. “I love that social media has really exposed us all to designers across the country and around the world,” Koken said.
Recently, she designed a Home-A-Rama home near Indianapolis that featured Monogram appliances in the kitchen, pantry, and basement bar areas. As she designed, Koken ran into a few challenges with delays on cabinetry, but the deadline was met, and the home was ready in time to furnish and prepare it for opening day. Koken says there was a bit of additional stress designing a Home-A-Rama home, but the final design turned out elegant and inspiring.
In the kitchen area, Koken loved the plentitude of natural light and the feeling of openness. It invites people to come together and serves well as the heart of the home. Says Koken, “I wanted to create a special place for the family to gather and make memories.” The large kitchen island was designed to feel like a piece of furniture and provide ample room for a family to sit and discuss the day’s events, while the Monogram range serves as the main focal point with its custom hood and two integrated 30” refrigerators that flank it on each side.
When asked about her favorite materials to use in kitchens, Koken said it’s often more about knowing how the area will be used. “It’s always important to understand the client and how they live in the space when selecting materials,” she said. Some of her favorite materials include marble, quartz, porcelain slabs, and soapstone for countertops. Koken also loves addition rich wood elements to her kitchen designs and mixing metals with different cabinet hardware, appliances, and faucets to create drama and interest.
Koken is quite happy with the finished space and the appliances she chose to finish it out. “Monogram is a quality brand with a sophisticated look. The brand is always staying ahead of design trends and technology. There are options that will fit in with a variety of kitchen styles,” Koken said.
We couldn’t agree more, and we love the Home-A-Rama spaces that you designed, Michele. Congratulations on this gorgeous home.