Category: Inspiration

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

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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!

#Empathy

Written by Paula Kennedy, CMKBD, with Timeless Kitchen Design This weekend I just finished being an extra for a few commercials with the Improv Alive group that I’ve been practicing with for the last three years. Whenever I tell people I’ve been taking Improv classes, they say, “Oh that must be fun!” But honestly it’s more about getting out of my…

KBIS Recap

Written by John Nichols, Monogram Marketing Manager

Each year I look forward to starting the year fresh, full of new ideas and excited about the possibilities in the year to come. There is one industry show that embodies everything I enjoy about starting a new year – the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS). The show continues to raise the bar each year. It was once again co-located with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders’ Show as part of Design and Construction Week. This year’s show was held in Orlando, Florida, and, as expected, it did not disappoint.

Of course, there are always plenty of new trends and technologies announced and launched as part of KBIS. This year two themes stood out as being incorporated in the exhibits, product offerings, and the general buzz with the trade community.

The first theme was home control. Home control includes the advancements in home automation or making homes “smarter.” Manufacturers continue to find ways to incorporate smart technology into more products, simplify controls, and find more cost-effective ways to integrate it into their products. The primary way automation is being integrated into the home is through products that operate by gestures and proximity sensors, and especially, products connected through WiFi to operating systems and other products in the home. Ultimately, the idea is that products can predict your needs before you have to dictate or manually act to utilize a product. Some of the best examples I saw at the show, include:

  • Pfister Auris – a voice-controlled faucet that offers filtered water and precise measurements of water at specific temperatures, which are perfect for cooking.

pfisterauris

  • U by Moen – creates a customized shower experience via your smartphone. You have the ability to start the shower, customize the temperature, and even get alerts when your shower is ready.

moenu

The second theme that continued throughout the show was kitchens moving toward cleaner designs that focus on efficient living. The clean designs focus on getting rid of clutter and competing lines, and hiding appliances with cabinet panels or cabinet configurations. These kitchens still infused life and fun into the kitchen design with use of color and combining finishes in cabinetry and countertops.

  • Wellborn Cabinet showcased their Best of KBIS kitchen entry. They also launched their new line of Aspire cabinetry that is full-access frameless product.
Wellborn Cabinet KBIS Display

Wellborn Cabinet KBIS Display

  • Häfele’s Tab collection of cabinetry hardware allows the clean lines of the cabinetry to be the kitchen showcase. The hardware can be top mounted on drawers and bottom or side mounted on swinging cabinets. With a variety of colors and finishes, some designs make the hardware almost invisible.
  • Poggenpohl showcased a new line of chrome-plated lacquers in 14 colors, including green, gray, and blue that offers a clean look with a splash of fun.
  • Masterbrand Cabinetry showcased their Omega brand of cabinetry that integrates different finishes into the kitchen.
MasterBrand Cabinets KBIS booth

MasterBrand Cabinets KBIS booth

Hopefully you enjoyed the show as much as I did. Maybe you got a few ideas or a new perspective. I might have come away with a new project – the show just about pushed me over the top on a kitchen remodel. I hope my wife doesn’t mind!

GE Cafe Black Slate appliances at KBIS

GE Cafe Black Slate appliances at KBIS

A Beautiful Kitchen We Love

Recently Houzz shared a Kitchen of the Week with all Monogram appliances, and we just fell in love with the impressive design and unique style of this loft kitchen. Take a look and tell us what you think.

Our team at the Chicago Monogram Design Center has been working with the designer of this beautiful kitchen, Fred Alsen with FMA Interior Design. We look forward to seeing even more of his work.

Optimism in a Color! Pantone’s 2017 Pick

It’s working for me!15380318_10154725740297629_7076341012700362211_n

I don’t always jump to attention or get on the Color of the Year bandwagon, but this color just struck me deeply.  And after reading many articles about it, I quickly realized I was not alone.

To me this color represents healthy foods, being outdoors, being active, spring, new grass, bright green asparagus, HOPE, vitality . . .  my list of right brain descriptive words could go on and on. Simply, it is an optimistic color. And it’s what I needed today as I sit here working from home in the Pacific Northwest. It inspired me to create a fun Pinterest board. And I was laughing because I should be getting ready to head to the gym before it snows tonight, if it snows, and here I was immersed in Pinterest inspired by a field of green, each one making me smile and smile again.

Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone Color Institute executive director who lives in my own backyard, was quoted in The New York Times as saying, “This is the color of hopefulness, and of our connection to nature. It speaks to what we call the ‘re’ words: regenerate, refresh, revitalize, renew. Every spring we enter a new cycle and new shoots come from the ground. It is something life affirming to look forward to.”

In my own business I don’t always chose to introduce these colors to my clients. As my business name implies, I prefer to design timeless and enduring aesthetics. I know many who would not care for this color at all, and most who would never paint it on their walls, but everyone likes different things. On my Pinterest board you can see many varying shades of this green and different uses of it. I hope that something about it makes you smile like it did me.

It makes me think of basil, kiwi, green apples . . . fresh bright, new. Dreams of spring.

I find it interesting how we see these colors in digital media and on the runway sometimes even before the color trend reports start coming out. Years ago it used to take a number of years before these colors would trickle down into our homes and clothes. But in today’s social media frenzy, it’s nearly immediate. Just look at the Pinterest board, you’d almost think someone let the cat out of the bag early and the manufacturers were in a competition to see who could be first.

As I said above, some of these colors won’t make it into our homes. Consumers may decide they don’t want to wear or surround themselves with this particular shade of green. I’ve already seen comments from highly respected Certified Color Professionals who are not fond of this particular shade of green. And you, like others, may have strong adverse feelings about certain colors. Remember some of these from years past?

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I’m not suggesting you to go out and buy a new purse, or kitchen mixer, or paint your bathroom in this shade. I just wanted to share some happy optimism. Go eat a kiwi, wear that green scarf tomorrow in the middle of winter, or bundle up and get outside to go for a walk. Off to the gym I go!

Paula Kennedy CMKBD CLIPPS Timeless Kitchen Design #ignitecreativity #greenmakesmesmile  COPYWRITE 2016 ©