Category: Inspiration

Stoffer Photography Shows Monogram’s Best Side

Written by Kim Mays, Monogram content strategist

We recently had the chance to chat with two of Chicago’s top interior photographers, John and Maura Stoffer. Last year the Stoffer’s bought a studio in the vibrant West Loop neighborhood in Chicago and completely remodeled it—and they installed all Monogram appliances. We love the look of their modern studio and how they were able to make the small space more functional. According to Maura, they wanted to have all the amenities of a full kitchen in their studio, but in a streamlined way. “This is why we love having the Monogram induction cooktop, because it takes up so little real estate and fits seamlessly into our countertop.” The flush installed induction cooktop doesn’t sacrifice any of their work space, either.

But their favorite thing about their studio kitchen is the column duo: “We LOVE our column refrigerator and freezer. They have custom cabinet panels on them, so they blend right into the other cabinets, but when you open them, they are packed with beautiful LED lighting and technology,” said Maura. Having them blend with the rest of the kitchen makes it feel a cohesive part of the overall studio without seeming intrusive.

The Stoffers specialize in residential interior photography, so they know a thing or two about good design and how to make a kitchen look its best. Being photographers, they love a kitchen or room with lots of natural lighting, but they also know that shooting directly into the windows is a challenge: “I’d recommend shooting on a tripod and exposing for the room and also the highlights of the windows and then blending those exposures together in post process,” said Maura about getting the best shot.

The married pair share a mid-century modern home from the 1950s for their dwelling, along with their two children. They skew a bit more toward modern designs if they had to choose a favorite, but they’ve shot many gorgeous homes in the region—including a few designed by John’s mom, Jean Stoffer, a prominent interior designer.

When setting up a shot in a new room, they look for an eye-catching feature or focal point. “We love shooting down aisles in a kitchen because of this,” said Maura.

We love the look of the Stoffer’s new studio and all of the fabulous kitchen photography they’ve done for Monogram. Be sure to follow them on Instagram to catch more of their inspiring work.

Plaza Towers Kitchen of the Year

Written by Kim Mays, content strategist for Monogram

Reflective of the luxury high-rise Plaza Towers’ own architecture, this kitchen redesign in Buckhead, Georgia by Mark Williams Design Associates blends mid-century modern with 21st century amenities. What began as a galley-style kitchen is now an open, inviting space that’s 100 percent functional as a kitchen, yet welcomes guests as a comfortable entertaining area. Designer Niki Papadopoulos filled us in on the details—including its Monogram appliances—that made this Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles magazine 2019 Kitchen of the Year winner such a success for all involved.

Photo courtesy of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles (Styling by Yvonne Orchard; Photography by David Christensen)

The original parquet floors throughout most of the rooms is similar in color to the kitchen cabinetry; a choice consciously made during the early room-design phase. The Monogram built-in, custom panel refrigerator is clad in the same wood as the cabinets, allowing it to fade into the cabinet-lined walls of the contemporary room. This, along with its concealed appliances, allows the room to feel like an extension of the whole condo and not just a kitchen.

The muted, honey tone of the wood cabinets sets a warm backdrop for the antique brass Eclat chandelier by Jean de Merry—which inspired the rest of the room. Its brass spikes provide an explosion of warm light; it’s an eye-catching element indicative of mid-century design. Many other finishes in the kitchen are also brass in relation to this focal point.

In keeping with the sleek lines and geometric designs of mid-century style, the modern white subway tile backsplash was stacked, creating graphical pattern that lies stark against the organic wood grain of the cabinets. The flooring also contrasts with the wood with its black porcelain tiles that contain gray and white veins to mimic marble, while offering years of durability and ease of care.

Papadopoulos’ favorite element of the kitchen is the waterfall-edge island, which houses the cooking area on the backside. The lower end of the white marble island spills into the open room as a table, providing plenty of comfy seating. Said Papadopoulos, “the giant island… just begs you to sit and linger once dinner is over.”

Though the homeowner didn’t cook much, Papadopoulos said it was important to keep the appliances multi-functional, which included the addition of a Monogram Advantium oven, which the owner loves. “Advantium really appealed to him. [It] was a perfect fit … he uses it all the time,” said Papadopoulos. “We love the tailored nature of Monogram Appliances and how they are able to adapt seamlessly into any of our designs, contemporary or traditional. They are functional, easy to use, good looking, and have outstanding performance,” she added.

We are just as thrilled as Papadopoulos and Mark Williams over this kitchen renovation being named “Kitchen of the Year.” Having a part in this gorgeously designed, award-winning kitchen sets the tone for an exciting 2019.

Monogram Debuts Two Inspired New Collections at KBIS

Written by Kimberly Mays, content strategist for Monogram Appliances

Today’s luxury kitchens are leaning toward minimalism and sleek design, and Monogram reflected this look in our two new collections debuted at the 2019 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS). Impeccably designed by highly respected kitchen and bath designer Richard Anuszkiewicz, the Monogram space truly impressed designers, builders, homeowners, architects and everyone in attendance.

The revamped Monogram Professional Collection provides a blend of modern design with traditional features. This includes new robust, edge-to-edge handles that feel more integrated with the appliances and a gleaming stainless steel finish. These appliances feature rich, interactive LCD displays with minimal use of knobs and larger glass windows for a refined, elevated look in any kitchen.

Our former European line evolved to the new Monogram Minimal Collection, which takes that streamlined design to a new level. Designers eliminated knobs and handles wherever possible and  replaced them with a new touch-to-open feature along with precisely machined metal framing and wide glass windows. New LCD interactive screens replace knobs, which allows the entire appliance to blend in with cabinetry. The look is sleeker, with uninterrupted lines and a very polished profile.

Both collections also benefit from inspired techniques from the high-end auto industry including precision-machined aluminum extrusions, which makes seams virtually invisible. This also allows for ultra-flush installations and tighter fits between appliances and cabinets.

The craftsmanship and impeccable design of these appliances was demonstrated at KBIS through five zones featuring various appliances and aesthetics in each:

  • Bespoke Area gave a look at the future of appliance design with customized finishes.
  • Butler’s Pantry focused on multiuse of space with under-the-counter appliances.
  • Professional Kitchen showed our new Monogram Professional Collection appliances.
  • Minimal Kitchen debuted our new minimalist design for appliances.

Behind the Kitchen with Claire Staszak

A true balance between traditional and modern design can be tricky. This complex endeavor requires a refined eye, thoughtful attention to detail, impressive design expertise and patient listening. This beautiful old world, new world kitchen design by Claire Staszak is an elegant example of this delicate balance. We interviewed Claire to learn more about the clients, her design process and the overall goal for the home.

Photo by Dustin Halleck

SRFD: What was your inspiration for this kitchen design?

Claire: The design inspiration was really a mix of my client’s taste. The wife wanted a traditional white kitchen and loves intricate detail. The husband wanted something more modern and preferred clean lines. I helped them meet in the middle!

Photo by Dustin Halleck

SRFD: Were there any specific directions or needs given from your client?

Claire: The client wanted white cabinets and the space needed to be very durable and family friendly. We also had to work with the soffit that could not be moved due to HVAC locations. I felt it was very important to camouflage the soffit as much as possible. Creating the built-in breakfast nook was something we all thought would be an ideal use of form and function. Great use of the window bay and family friendly for lots of meals!

Photo by Dustin Halleck

SRFD: Were there any challenges you had to overcome?

Claire: Figuring out the right way to trim out the soffit so it blended seamlessly into the backband and crown was a detail we gave much consideration to. We also were able to use some existing cabinet boxes (we replaced all drawer and door fronts) so the beginning was a bit like a game of Tetris, seeing what we could repurpose and what new cabinets we needed.

Photo by Dustin Halleck

SRFD: How long did it take from beginning to end?

Claire: This kitchen was part a larger whole home remodel. The project started in January 2018 and was completed in July 2018.

Photo by Dustin Halleck

SRFD: What is your favorite element of this kitchen?

Claire: I think the improved proportions of the kitchen overall are my favorite part of the design. The old kitchen had a decent floor plan, but we were able to make it more beautiful by balancing the the space with a bigger hood, built-in banquette and overall modernize the material selections.

Photo by Dustin Halleck

SRFD: What sparked your decision to use Monogram appliances?

Claire: This client needed all new, high quality appliances, some of which could be panelled. Monogram offered a wonderful full suite package with a few bonuses (like the blower for custom wood hood) so it was a great fit for this active family.

Photo by Dustin Halleck

SRFD: What would you tell other designers about using Monogram?

Claire: Monogram has exceptional customer service and training. If you’re near a showroom, send your clients in to have a date night cooking on the appliances!

Claire Staszak is a Chicago-based designer known for her holistic design process, which combines her well-trained eye for interiors with her passion for wellness. Her work has been featured by The Chicago Tribune, Modern Luxury, HGTV, Domino, Architectural Digest online and more. In 2017, the company’s namesake blog, was honored with an award for Best Design Writing by the Design Influencers Conference. She has studied interior design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and holds a Certificate of Kitchen and Bath Design from Harper College. Claire is also a certified yoga instructor with more than 500 hours of training. In 2018, Modern Luxury Interiors, noted Claire as ‘One to Watch’ in the interior design industry.

Welcome Home to this Classic Farmhouse Kitchen

If you attended the Parade of Homes in Lakeville, Minnesota, this past September, you were able to take in the gorgeous farmhouse design of this home in person. Created by SD Custom Homes and decorated by Bria Hammel Interiors, this classically styled home seamlessly blends comfortable charm with upscale details, especially in the interior.

Photo credit: Spacecrafting Photography

The home’s interior designer, Bria Hammel Interiors, is based in St. Paul, Minnesota, and serves clients nationwide with residential design. They had worked with SD Custom Homes on previous projects and felt like they had a solid partnership with the home designers. One of the most important rooms of the home was the kitchen, and the two firms worked closely together to create a layout that fit with the farmhouse plan and flowed well for a modern family home. It serves as not only a place to create meals, but also as a hub of the home where people can gather at all times of the day.

Photo credit: Spacecrafting Photography

Both teams felt that having the sink under the window looking out over the front of the house created a beautiful focal point in the kitchen and allowed the island to be used as additional dining space. The windows bring in an abundance of natural light, which keeps the space bright and airy, and is a favorite aspect of this kitchen design.

Photo credit: Spacecrafting Photography

A secondary focal point is the area around the Monogram gas range top. The stainless and black range top sits against the gleaming, white tile backsplash and is flanked on each side by glass-door cabinets with curvy brackets beneath each. It’s a welcoming area where hearty meals can be cooked while family sits around the island for conversation and further meal prep.

Photo credit: Spacecrafting Photography

All the kitchen appliances are from Monogram, which Bria Hammel Interiors was very excited about. After touring the Monogram showroom in Chicago, they were taken aback by the innovative features offered by Monogram (especially the Advantium Speedcook oven) and the craftsmanship of the appliances. As they said on their blog, they take comfort in knowing “that whoever purchases this home will truly be getting the best of the best” with the appliances.

Photo credit: Spacecrafting Photography

We couldn’t agree more. Congratulations on designing an absolutely inviting kitchen and a lovely, gracious farmhouse home.

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.