Category: Interview

A Florida Kosher Kitchen for Entertaining

Rochelle Flug and Eva Staiman of EVRO Interiors have been designing kosher kitchens for more than 35 years. When they were hired to redesign this Southeast Florida kitchen, the client wanted her dream kitchen with plenty of room for hosting – from weekly Sabbath dinners to frequent parties.

“The client desired an elegant and traditional tone, while still having the aesthetics reflect the 21st century,” says Flug. “When we married those styles together, I like to call the result 21st Century Updated Transitional.”

The design process started with the countertops. The client found a quartzite slab with a vein of light purple. This inspired the deep purple island.

“We used a light gray as the neutral in this space, because the client has many different colored tablecloths and textiles she uses when entertaining,” says Flug. “This backdrop allowed her the option to add the color she desired through décor and floral arrangements.” The design team used mirror-front cabinets that give the visual illusion of open shelving, without exposing the cabinet’s contents.

When it comes to kosher kitchens, functionality is key. Given that there are two of each appliance, the space must be maximized and beautifully appealing.

“Monogram ovens are our No. 1 choice when designing a kitchen,” says Staiman. “Not only does the remote-enabled option allow for easy accessibility when away from the home, my clients love being able to leave the racks inside during the self-clean mode. Monogram is a natural favorite.”

An Urban Firehouse in Dallas

Written by Kim Mays, content strategist for Monogram Appliances

An inspired love for modern architecture and a need for a unique local event venue led Ginger Curtis, to create the Urban Firehouse in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The elegant, contemporary space serves as home to Urbanology Designs, but also contains private offices and a large event rental space with kitchen area that features Monogram appliances.

As president of Urbanology Designs, Curtis loves the unique architecture of the former fire house. The former bays where firetrucks were housed now features paned glass windows and large double doors that open to a spacious rental area with polished concrete floors and modern accents. It’s perfect for a small wedding reception or company party. From the photo gallery, you can see it is a flexible, beautiful space that follows Curtis’ “relaxed, modern, California-casual vibe” that can be found in a lot of her designs.

The Urban Fire House includes five areas: the engine room, conference room, kitchen, private bathrooms, and an outdoor patio with expansive back garden. Flooring in the conference room is wide white oak plank, which stands out nicely against the painted walls done in All White by Farrow and Ball, which is used extensively throughout the venue. The cabinetry in the kitchen continues the wood tone with rift sawn white oak cabinets with slab fronts. Says Curtis, “I absolutely love our cabinetry—it really makes all the appliances and décor sing.” The countertops are Cambria quartz, which continues the bright, airy California-coast feel.

According to Curtis, her team is in love with the Monogram appliances: “Not only are they beautiful and functional, but we get compliments on them all the time. By far our favorite feature is the Autofill water pitcher in our column refrigerator.”

We love the look of this unique, multi-function space and are honored that they chose Monogram to finish out the kitchen space.

Meet the Council: Lori Gilder

California designer uses Monogram to highlight soul, spirit and style

Lori Gilder considers herself one of the “lucky ones” because, at an early age, she already knew what her life’s work would be.

Fascinated by architecture, interiors and puzzles as a child, she knew she wanted to explore how those elements collided to create unique living environments.

Now running her own design firm, Lori says her approach to design is to, “…create chic and classically modern interiors that are elegant and tranquil – by blending organic and natural materials – that integrate seamlessly with the surrounding architecture and landscape.” Monogram helps Lori achieve those goals in the kitchen with clean lines and minimalist design.

Being a part of the inaugural Monogram Designer Council and having a voice within the product development space is very exciting to Lori. “I’ve been most interested in the launch of the Minimalist Collection, as this design aesthetic speaks directly to our client base,” says Lori. As a luxury interior designer, her clients rely on the knowledge and expertise in all aspects of sourcing and product specifications. Lori believes in Monogram’s quality of craftsmanship, state-of-the-art technology and product aesthetic.

Photography by Karyn Millet

Her design firm collaborated with Monogram on a recent project. “We gutted and renovated a 1958 mid-century home in Beverly Hills,” says Lori. They removed a fabulous, 60-year-old, original, pink, metal General Electric kitchen – that was still working – and reimagined it with more organic aesthetic and natural materials. “Partnering with Monogram, and integrating updated GE brand appliances into this modern project, proved to be a huge success for us and for our client.” Lori expects the appliances to last for years to come, just as the pink predecessors.

Photography by Karyn Millet

Now more than ever, Lori is convinced it’s time to rethink how kitchens are designed. “The function of the kitchen is evolving into the ultimate living space,” says Lori. It takes on several roles throughout the course of a day. It’s where meals are prepared and served, where families lounge, where business deals are made and where parties gather. The kitchen really is the heartbeat of a home.

Designer Samantha Oaks’ Fashion Career Led Her Straight into Interior Design

Written by Kim Mays, Monogram content strategist

Samantha Oaks used her fashion experience to design the rooms in her home out of necessity. “I built a custom home a few years ago and the builder didn’t have a designer,” she said. So, Oaks decided she knew her style best and took on the role herself. “Designing for me came organically. I came from a fashion industry background and was always inspired by color, shapes, and mixing materials,” Oaks explained. Working with her builder, she was able to design her ideal home: “We created the most beautiful space together, and I fell in love with the build and design process,” she said. That love became her new career six years ago and in 2015, she started Lucien Porter Design.

Oaks looks to many fashion icons for home inspiration. “For me it all starts with fashion: Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Helmut Lang, and Christian LaCroix just to name a few,” she said. Other designers Oaks admires are also inspired by fashion and she sees that in their work. “I find elements of fashion in designs by Martin Lawrence Bullard, Curtis Elmy, and Powell Architects,” she added.

She loves bringing together unconventional details in her designs. Said Oaks, “I lean towards simple and clean with a little character like doors from the late 1800s and adding a contemporary twist. Each room will have a subtle wow factor but still maintain an overall flow.”

For kitchen designs, Oaks likes to use a variety of elements for texture and color. “I love mixing materials! One of my favorites is incorporating reclaimed wood in shelving or countertops,” she said. Oaks is also a fan of Monogram appliances; particularly the Advantium oven, which comes in handy for busy families. “I love recommending the convenience and function of the Advantium,” she said.

In fact, Oaks has an Advantium oven at home that she uses a lot. “I use my Monogram  Advantium oven every day,” she added, “It’s great for large meals or baking or just cooking for one.” Oaks also loves her Monogram range’s griddle feature, which she frequently uses for “gooey grilled cheese sandwiches and Sunday morning pancakes.”

Said Oaks, “If I weren’t a designer, I’d probably… be a chef. I cook anything from crusted red snapper in the oven to lobster paella and homemade chocolate chip cookies, too.” We’d love to be a guest at Samantha’s table just to taste all the delicious dishes she creates in her stunning kitchen with her Monogram appliances.

Pattern Addict and Designer Drew McGukin

Written by Kim Mays, content strategist for Monogram

A part-time college gig selling real estate in Atlanta brought Drew McGukin into the world of home ownership. “I fell in love with the whole process—begged my broker to hire me as her assistant. 10 years later, I had built a huge business selling 70+ homes a year,” said McGukin. That’s how he realized he had a keen eye for space. In 2008, he took a break from real estate to follow his new passion as he enrolled in The New York School of Interior Design. Now, he’s the lead designer in his own firm, which he started in New York in October 2010. McGukin also recently joined the Monogram Designer Council, where he shares ideas and suggestions with the Monogram team and other designers on the council.

As a self-proclaimed “pattern addict,” McGukin is known for his bold choices in home design. As for kitchens, he feels that bold choices should be expressed through use of unique materials. “I recently wallpapered walls, cabinetry, and my refrigerator in a chic Surfaces by David Bonk vinyl. It’s easy to clean and adds a nice layer,” he said. The island in this kitchen was designed out of copper so the natural patina will change over time, adding further depth and color to the kitchen.

“I also love thoughtful decoration in kitchens,” said McGukin, “people often forget to add artwork, mix in beautiful shapes, and accessories.” After installing a small art piece as cabinet hardware on a cabinet over his refrigerator, McGukin says “Who says we have to use a basic cabinet pull?”

If the kitchen is the “soul” of the home, designers need to capture the soul of the client and build a design around that in much the same way McGukin has done with his kitchen. He recommends a two-fold approach:

  1. Make strong decisions and thoughtfully design an envelope around timelessness and function.
  2. Allow your inner decorator to enjoy some freedom in the layers, color, texture, and overall mood of the space.

One big mistake people make in kitchen design according to McGukin is “trying to tick all the boxes.” Instead of trying to include every cool bell and whistle you like from other major kitchens, step back and try to make a list of what is absolutely important. Sometimes you have to let go of something you want to fit in something you really need—like nixing a second wall oven to fit in that Monogram Advantium oven.

McGukin loves how Monogram delivers products with a modern aesthetic that are also reliable and amazingly functional. “It’s inspiring to see how beautifully Monogram is integrating design and a designer’s vision into the basic tenants of their products,” says McGukin. He also feels that his clients enjoy Monogram’s breadth of options and deliver greater value than other luxury brands.

As for his time on the Designer Council, McGukin loves all the people and the team from Monogram. He also has a solid plan for his tenure: “I hope to be a strong voice for actual, true, good-old-fashioned interior design on the Monogram Designer Council.” We’re happy to have you aboard and thoroughly enjoy hearing your ideas, Drew.

Justin Chapple to Headline Monogram’s Tasting Tent at Newport Food & Wine Fest

Written by Kim Mays, Monogram content strategist

If you haven’t already made plans, you should join us in attending the yearly Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival on September 19 through the 22. The event features world-class wines and award-winning chefs mingled with the extraordinary beauty of the Newport Mansions including The Breakers, Marble House, and Rosecliff. The festival is sponsored by Food & Wine magazine, and this year Monogram Appliances sponsors the culinary stage. On that stage, Food & Wine culinary director at large and amazing chef, writer and video star Justin Chapple will create some delicious dishes while dishing out some of his Mad Genius Tips to attendees.

Chapple has been featured in People, The Oprah Magazine, and Real Simple, and has been twice nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award for his work as host of the popular video series Mad Genius Tips. Prior to joining Food & Wine, he was a cook at a fine French restaurant, Allegretti, which has since closed. When interviewed for Save Room for Design, Chapple admitted missing restaurant work in general, but loving that he has managed to make a fulfilling career in the food industry.

As a kid in the days before Food Network and Cooking channel, Chapple “loved watching Jacques Pépin, Martin Yan, and the Two Fat Ladies on TV.” These classic TV chefs inspired him to cook at home, but it was a certain family member who gave him the impetus to go into the field fulltime. “Really, my Grandma Barbara taught me to love food enough to make a career out of it. She was an outstanding cook and would create incredible meals practically out of thin air,” said Chapple.

That love of feeding family and friends is one of his favorite aspects of cooking. “Nothing gives me more satisfaction than knowing someone is enjoying one of my creations,” Chapple said.

When it comes to developing his own recipes, he’s often inspired by other restaurants. Though he loves eating at different places and trying new foods, he sometimes only needs to read about a dish for inspiration. “Believe it or not, I read menus even if I don’t get to a restaurant for a meal,” Chapple said.

Chapple is very excited to attend the Newport Food & Wine Festival—“I definitely can’t wait to see these mansions that everyone is telling me about,” he said. He is eager to make pizzas and more in the Monogram tasting tent, where he knows he’ll get to meet many people attending the events. “Hopefully, they won’t mind me taking lots of selfies,” he quipped.

Though he wouldn’t give us his secret recipes in advance, he did admit that he will be demonstrating some Mad Genius Tips during his cooking demonstrations. One in particular will be about how to poach eggs in advance, “yes, it’s actually possible!” Chapple said.

In the Monogram Hearth Oven, Chapple will be making a summery pizza with turkey sausage, Brussels sprouts, and pesto. “It’s so yummy and believe it or not, in the Monogram Hearth Oven, it takes only two minutes to cook!”

We will be attending the Newport Food & Wine Festival to enjoy the many delicious wines and foods as well as to take in the beauty of the mansion homes. But our favorite spot will definitely be in the tasting tent with Justin Chapple and we hope you will join us!