Category: Inspiration

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: 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.

Monogram Elevates a Kosher Kitchen with Grand Gourmet Style

When given the opportunity to design a new Kosher kitchen for this Atlantic Beach home, Ellen Lopez of El Design Studio had many things to take into consideration. Not only was she tasked with creating a gorgeous, useable space, but she had to fit double the usual kitchen necessities inside to design a true Kosher kitchen. She had a fairly large area to work with, but she was challenged by the need to provide separate kitchen storage, preparation, cleaning and cooking areas for meats and dairy while keeping her design upscale and beautiful. Of course, she met these challenges and gave the owners an award-winning kitchen that reflects their deep convictions and grand sense of style.

Lopez’ favorite aspect of this kitchen is how all of the elements come together. Though the chevron-style flooring makes a bold statement, the two-tone cabinets in Benjamin Moore Tweed Coat and White Dove don’t compete. The grey keeps the lower cabinetry grounded while the white upper cabinets keep things bright. In addition, the Cambria Quartz countertops in Berwyn bring all the colors and tones together. “It all feels like it belongs, and nothing is overpowering,” says Lopez.

The real story of this kitchen, though, is its functionality. Lopez created a Kosher kitchen that flows well for the home owners. In addition to double sinks and dual prep spaces, the owners chose a Monogram double oven. It offers a level of sophistication that goes well beyond its impeccable craftsmanship—it’s Kosher user friendly. These ovens provide a Sabbath mode where, to meet cooking restrictions during holy times, no temperature changes will be displayed, and the double ovens will operate continuously at a previously selected temperature. Also, having two ovens means one can be dedicated to cooking meat dishes and the other dairy.

 

Having won the approval of the owners many times over, this kitchen has gone on to win accolades from many others, too. The NKBA Metro New York chapter presented El Design Studio with the award for best medium-size kitchen by a certified kitchen designer. It was also featured in Long Island’s luxury lifestyle magazine, House, in its 2018 kitchen and bath issue. We applaud Lopez’ design excellence and wish the owners many years of enjoyment from their gourmet Kosher kitchen.

Designer Profile: Natalie Officer

We recently came across a beautiful kitchen designed by Natalie O Design on Instagram. We were so entranced, we asked if Natalie Officer, the creative force behind the company, would tell us a little more about herself … and share some additional photos. Take a look!

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?
Natalie: It started so long ago, the memory of exactly when is foggy. What I have always loved is the ability to make an impact and positive outcome in such a short amount of time. To truly affect a space, a design, a person in only a couple of days is motivating. It inspires.

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?
Natalie: I am always excited by new collaborations or iterations, and love the fresh impact of colors. As far as trends, I try to stay clear of them.

SRFD: A trend you’re over?
Natalie: Excess. In any form (natural light excluded)

SRFD: Tell us about this kitchen.

Natalie: This kitchen belongs to a local Louisville-area family. It was a renovation from awhile back, but their matriarch, Nicole, is a busy yet wonderful mom and realtor who prefers tackling a little at a time! We’ve been fortunate to help her select vibrant wallpapers and fabrics to work throughout other rooms in her home, and to this day we’re still in touch! We’re currently adding some custom touches to her entry way. This kitchen renovation was a true mix of traditional style and modern functionality. Cabinetry and hardware selections were key here, using paneling on appliances such as the refrigerator. Nicole didn’t shy from mixing metals, using brass, stainless and even rose gold touches on her serving ware. The result is a warm, calming and inviting space for family and guests to gather.

Learn more about the Natalie O Design team here and explore this home and story exemplifying their true nature as a design company.

 

Konichiwa from Kyoto

Written by Courtney Kruer, Monogram

This March, Monogram took our brand international to sponsor the annual Leaders of Design Conference which was held in Kyoto, Japan. The Leaders of Design (LDC) are a tight knit community of incredibly influential architects, interior designers, landscape design firms, furniture designers, and more that come together from over 40 cities across the globe throughout the year to facilitate connections throughout the design industry. Our first day, we were welcomed with open arms by founders of the LDC, Meg Touborg and Keith Granet, at the exquisite Kyoto Ritz-Carlton. How gorgeous is the lobby of the hotel?

That night, after speeches by Mariel Hemingway and Azby Brown, we left the hotel for the opening cocktail reception held at the Seiryuden Temple in Kyoto. We gathered around for introductions and then were seated for a night full of networking and delicious sushi. We were surprised halfway through appetizers with a breathtaking 150+ pound tuna brought into the room by two renowned Michelin chefs flown in from Tokyo to make us the most fresh sushi that any of us had ever had the pleasure of indulging in.

The next day, we opted to have the traditional Japanese breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton. Can you believe that all of this was only breakfast? These dishes range from traditional Japanese tea, white rice, miso soup, yogurt with fresh fruit and honey, a rolled egg omelet, tofu, blacked cod, small glasses of sweet vinegar and grape juice, and so much more. Needless to say, we were quite full!

Following breakfast, all 130 of us took buses to The Miho Museum, which was southeast of Kyoto near the town of Shigaraki. We were greeted by the director of the museum, Hiroo Inoue, who taught us about the history of the museum and how it was constructed to be such a stunning architectural piece of the city. Next we had an interactive workshop in the museum with Tom Andrews, the president of SY Partners, where we practiced “Designing Mindfulness” throughout our daily life. Both the setting and the workshop left us very relaxed and centered for the rest of our trip, which definitely helped with our 14 hour jet lag!

The following day was full of immersing ourselves in traditional Japanese culture thanks to a custom  Kyoto University program LDC conceived, designed and presented that welcomed us to the grounds of the Myoshinji Temples. Throughout the day, we rotated in small groups to be educated in Japanese art forms such as Calligraphy (Shodo), Flower Arranging (Ikebana), a traditional tea ceremony and how to consider the symbolization and layout for peaceful contemplation in Japanese gardening.

We even learned how to write “elevate” in Japanese Calligraphy. Monogram is Elevating Everything even abroad!

That evening, we drove to the Kyoto National Museum for an art gallery walk and a beautiful seated dinner. Unfortunately no photos were allowed inside the gallery, but as you can imagine by the stunning design of the exterior of the museum, it was quite a breathtaking site!

On our last day in Japan, we explored two gardens led by Japanese monks. Although the cherry blossoms were not yet in bloom, these gardens were remarkable. We even saw one of the last functioning and undisrupted wells for drinking water left in Japan, which is still used by the monks that live there.

On our way to dinner for our final evening in Kyoto, we of course had to go see the famous Golden Temple that was built in 1955. Even in the rainy, cloudy weather, it was spectacular.

We then went to our final destination for the week: Kitayama Monolith. The site is often used for weddings and we can absolutely understand why! The elegant architecture and design combined with the all glass walls onlooking a garden surrounded by water, made this one of the most gorgeous places we had ever set foot inside of. We were greeted by Japanese Geishas of all ages, who later on performed traditional dances for our entire group. The night ended with music, nightcaps and dancing, which we never wanted to end!

Needless to say, if you ever get a chance to go to Japan, especially Kyoto, you must do so. In addition to how beautiful and clean the city was, the most inspiring part of the trip was just how friendly and helpful everyone we encountered was. Whether it was the concierge at the Ritz-Carlton or a cashier at a convenience store, we were treated with the highest form of respect and kindness every single day. It’s definitely worth the 12-16+ hour journey across the world to experience the rich culture that this entire country has to offer. We sincerely thank the Leaders of Design for allowing us to be a sponsor of their annual international conference and network with all of their members. Words cannot describe how appreciative we were to Elevate Everything in Kyoto with over 100 of the most undeniably inspirational leaders of the design community.

Elevate Everything

By its very definition, elegance is understated. So, Monogram appliances’ sophisticated styling and purposeful, minimalist design is perhaps its ultimate expression.

Our obsession with quality can be seen in every hand-finished detail, and in our choice of only the most durable and luxurious materials. This uncompromising attention to every aspect of design also extends to the science inside: our award-winning technology makes cooking faster, easier and better.

In short, at Monogram, we raise the bar so that you can raise yours. Elevate everything.

 

Photographer, Designer and General Contractor

Following up on last week’s profile of photographer and designer Jamie Sangar, we wanted to learn a little more about her background and most recent project – her own home.

Photography: Jamie Sangar

As a little girl, I never imagined myself being a general contractor.  General contractors carry tape measures and wear hard hats. I was going to wear tutus and make-up. In my wildest imagination I never guessed that general contractors could do both!

When my husband and I decided we wanted to build a modern, energy-efficient home in Indianapolis, Indiana, our options for homebuilders were pretty slim, to say the least. In a market with much more conservative taste overall, and neighborhood homeowner’s associations that have a tight hold on architectural styles, the challenge was real trying to find the perfect land that would allow us to have neighbors, since we aren’t the country-dwelling type, as well as the design freedom to build a modern home. So, before even getting started on the land search, we knew we were up against two major roadblocks.

Thankfully, we were pleasantly surprised to quickly find the perfect land. It’s as if fate was on our side. We knew that our next step was to find the perfect architect. Even though we are both artists (my husband, a Visual Effects Supervisor, and me, a photographer by trade) and can easily visualize and design things on our own, we put the upmost value in hiring an architect, that could not only design a functional home based around the way that we live, but also, build a home that fit the land. We lucked out with lots of tall, mature trees, and a hill that our house would set atop—all things that we wanted to help dictate our home design, rather than knock-down, flatten, and plop a house on top of.

Photography: Jamie Sangar

After meeting with three different architects, we chose to work with Jason Wolfe at Demerly Architects, who was the perfect match for us in terms of style, personality and being willing to work with, what some would consider, a tough budget for a custom home that offers some high-end technology and appliances. He had ideas on where to save money to help offset those luxuries we weren’t willing to give up.

After having our plans priced with two local builders, and feeling frustrated by the price that came back both times, we decided that if we were going to make our dreams a reality, we were going to have to get our hands dirty. And by “dirty,” I mean, take on the responsibility of being the general contractor on our build.

I managed the day to day progress, scheduling the sub-contractors, managing material deliveries, working with our lender, meeting with potential subs, getting quotes, keeping the job site clean, hiring and firing, all while managing a full-time photography business and two children.

Photography: Jamie Sangar

Our exterior walls are SIPs panels (structural insulated panels) built by Thermocore, which means that not only is our home very insulated and energy-efficient, it meant that our walls were built indoors in a factory, unexposed to the weather elements, and then delivered on two semis to the job site. A crane and a framing crew would then set the walls, which drastically cut down on framing labor and time. So within days, our home had a roof and we were ready for the rough-in stage.

Photography: Jamie Sangar

Next was the fun part. That’s when all of the finishes and final design came into play! I knew I wanted to be minimal but warm and inviting, sleek but introduce textures, and add pops of color through furnishings rather than with wall or tile colors. The palette was simple; white walls, polished chrome finishes, black windows and maple hardwoods.

Photography: Jamie Sangar

The most important room to us was the kitchen. I love hosting, cooking and entertaining, so our main “splurge” was our kitchen appliances. An example of finding ways to offset the cost of our commercial-grade kitchen “must haves” was to design and build our own cabinets from Ikea. Ikea’s white glossy lacquer cabinets were the clean and efficient look we were going for!

Photography: Jamie Sangar

I’ve always had a passion for interior and architectural design. It’s just something that’s in my blood and I’ve followed for years through social media outlets, magazines, and in stores. But the most fun and applicable way for me to put that knowledge to use was by building our own home.  With this home, unlike our last home, I wanted a clean and modern neutral palette. Our last home had lots of color incorporated by different colored painted walls. My plan with this house, however, was to incorporate color with furnishings, while keeping the floors and walls neutral. This has allowed for a consistent look and feel throughout the entire house, while each room has a unique flair based on the furnishings.

Photography: Jamie Sangar

I especially have a love of mid-century modern design, so while our home is brand new, those same ideals were used in the design of our home. The idea that large expanses of glass be used to bring the outdoors inside, with a large open floor plan concept, we’ve topped that idea off with lots of mid-century modern furniture and decor. Another goal with the design of the interiors was to be as minimal as possible, while still being comfortable. An example of this is designing our closets so that our dressers fit inside there, rather than in the bedrooms. This allows for more floor space and less surfaces that likely end up finding clutter, and not to mention, dust. We also chose wall-mounted vanities in every bathroom to give the illusion that the rooms are larger than they are, by being able to see the floor underneath. The same is true for our master bedroom with floating nightstands. From an exterior standpoint, we chose a front door that is one that you would’ve seen in the 1950s, and we chose to make it orange, to contrast our two-toned grey siding.

Photography: Jamie Sangar

Now that we’ve gotten comfortable in our new home, I decided to carry on with my design passion, and start Mod Abode. I view Mod Abode as a blend of all of my passions; photography, design and architecture! It also gets me involved in a social media community that shares those same interests. I get to take pretty photos of design elements and credit those who are responsible for designing or carrying such cool things in their stores. I am not quite sure where Mod Abode might lead me, but my hope is that new doors open that let me expand upon the things I’m always eager to learn more about.

Photography: Jamie Sangar

Photography: Jamie Sangar

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Monogram Designer Summit 2017

srfd_monogram_designsummit

It’s almost here! On Tuesday, February 28, Monogram will hold their second annual designer summit in Louisville, Kentucky, at the Speed Art Museum. We are bringing together more than 80 top home and kitchen designers from around the country to the Monogram Designer Summit 2017. Attendees will have the opportunity to share their insights and opinions with their colleagues and the Monogram product development team to influence the future of exceptional appliance design.

Follow along during the summit on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtags #monogramdesignersummit or #creatingempathy. Looking forward to a great learning experience for all!