Category: Inspiration

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.

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  • 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.

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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 ©

 

 

Abt Inspiration Studio Opening

Written by Christina Dragota, Monogram Lead Product Specialist

Abt is the nation’s largest single-store retailer of electronics and appliances in the country, showcasing over 100,000 square feet of numerous products to choose from. Located in Glenview, Illinois, they are famous for being a one-stop shop, spanning from kitchen appliances to home entertainment systems. Already well-known within the industry, Abt decided to outdo themselves yet again with their Inspiration Studio.

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Bob Abt’s vision was “to create a completely unique and unexpected space that showcases the best luxury appliance brands available and exposes Abt’s customers to innovations in kitchen design.” In order to do so, Bob contacted colleague and internationally recognized designer, Mick De Giulio, who owns de Giulio Kitchen Design. Since the pair has worked together for over 25 years, “Bob gave Mick total artistic freedom to bring his vision to life through Mick’s unique style and creative eye.” The additional 10,000 square feet, located in the loft area of Abt’s famous atrium, features “twelve interconnected spaces with each devoted to a particular manufacturer, showcasing its own style.”

photo2 Monogram showcased its own style by displaying 22 of our unique products spread throughout the vignette, varying from our champagne-flushed induction cooktop to the commercial-modeled French door wall oven.

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In 2013, Monogram originally debuted our Design Center in downtown Chicago located within the Merchandise Mart, and continues to hold training, demonstrations and overall product experiences. Having another Monogram display within Abt’s Inspiration Studio, opens up more possibilities to those not living in Chicago but who still want the opportunity to explore new kitchen concepts.

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Sadly, Bob Abt never had the chance to see his idea come to life since he passed away in 2015, but his memory lives on throughout his family and his employees. He took a small family-owned business which started in 1936 and turned it into something bigger than what anyone could have imagined. “We named the space the Inspiration Studio because Dad was an inspiration to the entire staff at Abt who respected him not just as a boss, but as a mentor,” says Mike Abt.

Monogram is excited to be a part of what the Abt brand stands for and what the future holds.

Lou’s views: observations from a retiring Design Director

Written by Lou Lenzi, retired GE Appliances Director of Design

This will be my last “Save Room” blog entry. After 36 years in the Design profession, it’s time to down-shift and pursue my hobbies and interests on a full-time basis. Like most designers, this will involve trying to create something of beauty, only on my time this time. I’m delighted that my successor, Marc Hottenroth, a 24 year veteran of the GE Appliances Design team, will assume the role of Design Director by the time you read this.

Before signing off, I’d humbly like to share some observations on the state-of-our-art, along with some predictions.

Technology: a Healthy Dialog

While connected appliances are in full bloom in the kitchen and laundry room, connectivity itself is still in its infancy. Yes, we’re providing new levels of convenience and performance through our WiFi enabled products, but the next meaningful wave has yet to hit the shore. That will come when we fully integrate kitchen design, rich information services, and connected appliances. What’s the “killer app”, to use an old phrase? I believe it will come in the form of quick and convenient healthy meal planning and preparation. Let’s face it, reducing the cost of health care in the US begins with our diet, and as key influencers in the kitchen, it’s time we all step-up and play a role here.

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The interactive multimedia induction cooktop makes healthy meal prep easy

 

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The interactive multimedia induction cooktop makes healthy meal prep easy

 

We will also begin talking to our appliances. And unlike adolescent children, they will dutifully listen and respond. The cost of voice recognition technology is coming down and accuracy is improving, helping to ease access to those amazing technologies and features we’ve been incorporating into our products. Why press a bunch of buttons or dive into a multi-layered menu system when you can simply say “heat the upper oven to 350 degrees” or tell the water heater you’ll need more hot water for the guests coming to visit this weekend. For those nay-sayers convinced we’ll never talk to machines, it wasn’t too long ago that people said we’d never read our favorite authors on a piece of glass because it wasn’t as cozy or inviting as the printed page.

The disappearing kitchen

Just as the kitchen became the focal point of our home, so too will it look less like a kitchen. Certain appliances will begin to “disappear” – first through finishes and user interfaces that blend into the surrounding cabinetry, followed by appliances that become the cabinetry. Small form-factor housing and alternative living patterns – think multi-generational households – will also contribute to us rethinking the industrial design of our products, transitioning from a machine-art to a furniture aesthetic.

Where's the kitchen?

Where’s the kitchen?

The mobile home, built by a robot?

Today’s mobile workforce, coupled with our desire to sample a variety of living environments means we’ll delay owning a home and being tethered to a mortgage. That’s not to say we won’t seek out well thought-out, intellectually stimulating and comfortable communities, we’ll just rent a home in that community, then simply move on to the next experience whenever we’re ready for a change.

Home construction building methods and techniques will dramatically change. The skilled-trade workforce that home builders have historically relied upon has dramatically shrunk since the great recession and they are not likely to return to the levels necessary to support traditional stick-built style home construction. Modular and automated factory-based manufacturing processes will finally take root after many false starts, followed by the emergence of large, on-site 3D printing techniques. After 200 years, the stick-built home, along with its associated material waste and inefficiencies, may be a thing of the past.

I hope these thoughts will stimulate further discussion among the Monogram design community. It’s been an absolute joy to chat with you.

 

 

Eurocucina

Written by Rebecca Alvord, Senior Industrial Designer for GE Appliances

I recently had the pleasure of attending Eurocucina in Milan, Italy; part of the Salone del Mobile Milano (A designer’s paradise!). This show took place April 12-17th, with over 2,400 exhibitors and 370,000 attendees. It was by far the largest tradeshow I have ever attended. I saw hundreds of beautiful kitchens with rich and interesting materials, and left very inspired! In my opinion there were two kitchens that stood out from a trendsetting standpoint.

Snaidero’s Kelly kitchen, by architect Massimo Iosa Ghini, is a fresh and modern take on traditional design. You might say it is the epitome of transitional design. The cabinetry has clean lines with hidden pocket handles. Cabinet fronts are framed with brass decorative corner details.  The hood is one of my favorite features. It has a satin brass finish that ties in with the brass detailing on the cabinets, chairs, and island legs. It’s design is very clean and modern, yet the extra structural elements add a bit of old world flair.

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Source: Snaidero

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Source: Snaidero

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Source: Snaidero

Arclinea’s Principia kitchen by Antonio Citterio was dark and luxurious. The finish palette comprised of rich dark wood, marble, brass and smoked glass with embedded mesh texture. The hood becomes a central focal point and contains open shelving for herbs as well as task lights. Display shelves were beautifully illuminated behind smoked glass. The glass had embedded metallic ,which added a luxurious textural layer. In one kitchen, dark marble countertops pair with dark chrome fixtures, while in the other kitchen, white marble countertops give way to a bright pop of brass.

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Source: Arclinea

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Source: Arclinea

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Source: Arclinea

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Source: Arclinea

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Source: Arclinea

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Source: Arclinea