Category: Inspiration

Elevating a Bright White Kitchen with the Gleam of Stainless Appliances

Written by Kim Mays, Monogram content strategist

When the homeowners saw the vaulted frame of the roof for their home addition, they realized the kitchen they were adding would have standard 9-foot ceilings. They wondered if a vaulted ceiling would make the kitchen feel more spacious, so designer Arrington Russell of Restoration Interiors went to work on her plan. The result is a gorgeous kitchen with its “fifth wall” (i.e., the ceiling) vaulted and covered in shiplap and VELUX skylights. The white, mainly transitional style kitchen was featured in an HGTV shoot sponsored by VELUX, and the proud homeowners and designer are delighted.

“This kitchen has a great mix of styles with its modern tile and pendant lights with the farmhouse shiplap,” said Russell. “Everything came together to reveal a kitchen that feels relevant yet timeless.”

For a kitchen addition, that means it blends well with the rest of the home’s style rather than standing out. “For the kitchen flooring, we also decided to carry the hardwood already running through the home… we didn’t want the kitchen to feel like an afterthought,” said Russell.

Bright white elements make this kitchen stand out, especially the subway tiles and tile backsplash feature above the range. And the white shaker style cabinets connect all the pieces across the room cohesively.

With white being the main color, the homeowners were also in love with the idea of marble counters, but with a family of five including kids, marble required a bit too much maintenance. Russell found a stunning quartz by HanStone Quartz called Italian Waves. It gives the look of marble with its white background and veins of charcoal gray but requires much less upkeep. It’s one of Russell’s favorite features of the kitchen, “I love how these quartz counters complement the stainless appliances and the white color that runs throughout this crisp kitchen.”

Speaking of stainless appliances, the designer and homeowners agreed on using Monogram appliances in this kitchen. According to Russell, “They are absolutely gorgeous and gave the kitchen the upscale feel we wanted. We loved that they came with a great track record for dependability. The modern handles on the Monogram appliances also really feel connected to the pendant lights over the kitchen island. They pulled the space together nicely.”

We totally agree. These appliances definitely elevate the look of the kitchen and tie everything together. Kudos to Arrington Russell, Restoration Interiors, and the homeowners on a beautifully designed kitchen space.

Monogram Enhances a Peaceful Retirement Lake Home

Retired sales and marketing executive Sam Skobel had a plan in mind for a peaceful retirement home on a northern Wisconsin lake. We interviewed him to learn about his design inspiration for the home, specifically the kitchen, and the process to create this idyllic retreat.

SRFD: Tell us about this home.
Sam: This is a rustic-style (not rustic in the roughing-it sense) home on a lake with 500′ of frontage on a very private five-acre parcel of wooded land at the end of a dead-end road in northern Wisconsin. So very laid back and peaceful. We purchased the home in 2001 with the plan to totally remodel it prior to retirement, and then live there full-time. Over the last 17 years, we have remodeled,  replaced, renovated and/or upgraded virtually all aspects of the home – only the original walls remain in place. For example, we upgraded the existing floors by replacing them with 110-year-old reclaimed pine and Douglas fir wood from a grain elevator in northern Minnesota. Very dramatic and a wow-factor of the first order.

SRFD: What was your inspiration for the kitchen remodel?
Sam: Being in the the northwoods of Wisconsin, loving the casual lodge-style type of decor and wanting to remain consistent with the design throughout the rest of the house, we chose the casual-but-elegant barn-board based style inspired by books, magazines, internet searches, model homes and retailer displays. It was very important to us to have the kitchen look high-end with a casual/informal feel, but without the typical minimalist look of many higher end kitchen designs. It’s the style of the whole house, and it’s the way we live.

SRFD: Tell us about the kitchen remodel.
Sam: The kitchen renovation began in March 2018 and, as planned, was the last step in the 17-year remodel plan. Similar to the reclaimed floors in concept and style, the custom cabinets are also reclaimed barn-board, very nicely complimenting but not imitating the floor. The countertops are exotic-grade, book-match granite with “rock-edge.” The sink and range hood are custom hammered-copper, as are the lighting and switch plates. The backsplash is 2″x4″ travertine brick-style tiles with hammered copper accent tiles. All cabinets have custom above and below cabinet lighting on dimmer switches allowing the mood to be fine-tuned.

SRFD: Can you walk us through your design process?
Sam: The design process was very difficult – mostly because of our location in extremely northern WI and the minimal availability of licensed and/or certified kitchen designers. As such, we tackled the design process ourselves. The process started with appliance selection, as those items dictated many of the cabinet/other dimensions and configurations. Regarding appliances, we chose Monogram appliances because we felt they had the best available features and benefits, and they far-and-away provided the best value. We included the 36″ panel-ized fridge/freezer, panel-ized dishwasher, wall oven, Advantium oven, 36″ rangetop and panel-ized wine refrigerator. Now that they’re in place we absolutely love them – especially the panel-ized refrigerator/dishwasher/wine refrigerator. They look great! After choosing appliances we selected our cabinet manufacturer, followed by the sink (a 30″ apron-front single bowl hammered copper) and matching 40″ hammered copper range-hood. Granite countertop selection followed next, with backsplash and lighting last.

SRFD: What was the most challenging piece of the renovation?
Sam: Without question, the most challenging part of the renovation was personally coordinating all aspects of the tear out-to-completion process. We were let down many times by various suppliers who just did not deliver as promised, both time and/or quality-wise. As a result the original time line (agreed to by all) of six to seven weeks turned into about 11-12 weeks. While in the long run the additional four weeks is not a huge deal, it did cause us to live in a “construction zone” for an extra month and, more importantly, was wholly avoidable.

SRFD: What part did you enjoy the most?
Sam: The part we enjoyed the most was, as I’m sure with most renovations, was watching the space come together and seeing the finished product. Because we totally owned the project from concept to design to execution to completion, seeing the transformation become real before our eyes was most rewarding. I guess I’d put it this way – it’s very satisfying to see an image in your head become tangible and real, and be the place you stand back, admire and live in.The finished kitchen is absolutely beautiful and is everything we could have wanted….and more!

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.