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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Make strong decisions and thoughtfully design an envelope around timelessness and function.
- 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.
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!
Written by Kim Mays, content strategist for Monogram
A modernist at heart, Nicholas Moriarty found a way to satisfy his intellectual and creative sides: interior design. As a child, he “spent countless hours watching This Old House,” which delved into the ways an older space could be renovated to become something more modern and spectacular. It prepared him for his ultimate career path, where he shines among his peers.
“I’m a modernist at heart,” Moriarty said. His favorite design periods are Bauhaus and Art Deco, which were both very forward-thinking at the time of their popularity, and aspects of both are very relevant today. “The design principles of these eras never really faded away—they just adapted,” said Moriarty.
In that vein of thought, Moriarty feels that the new Monogram Minimalist Collection speaks to his design aesthetic and epitomizes the modernist principles. The elimination of handles and knobs wherever possible harkens to the Modernist principle where removal of ornamentation and excessive decoration was important to the style. Modernism also brought forth the ideal that craftsmanship was of utmost importance, which Monogram also takes very seriously. Each appliance is meticulously engineered to function as fabulously as it looks. And to Moriarty, they’re worth every penny: “The amazing cost to quality ratio [for Monogram appliances] is second to none in the industry.”
When designing modern, upscale kitchens, Moriarty feels that balancing functionality with aesthetic can be quite challenging. “As a home cook, I inherently know the ins and outs of a properly functioning kitchen’ sometimes minimal design is at odds with this,” he said. To ensure the cooking space functions as well as it looks, his team spends a great deal of time guiding their clients through the entire design process so they can provide a kitchen that looks sleek, but still provides the right tools and space for culinary creativity.
Moriarty hopes that as a designer, he can engage with brands like Monogram to pass on his insights. “I want to help push the industry forward in any way I can.” Being on the Monogram Designer Council is one way he is sharing his ideas and gathering input from other designers. Moriarty loves “the comradery that exists between all of the designers,” and said “I truly appreciate how receptive Monogram is as a company to constructive criticism. They want to make the industry better with us, which I think speaks volumes about who they are as a brand.”
We agree, Nicholas. And we look forward to learning more about what our designers want and need through their investment in the Designer Council.
One of the nation’s leading design events of the year, the Kips Bay Decorator Show House, is in its 47th year of production. Each year, a home in New York City is chosen to be redesigned and decorated for tens of thousands of people to tour. The proceeds of the tour go to the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, which provides important after school enrichment programs for NYC children. This year, the home is a stunning double-width Georgian townhouse with 12,425 square feet of space. Monogram luxury appliances partnered with AJ Madison to sponsor the kitchen, and worked with Peacock Cabinetry’s Christopher Peacock on its design. The result is an inviting, functional kitchen that’s any cook’s dream.
Peacock’s inspiration for the kitchen was to create, “A simple, clean and open kitchen, that is easy to use with practical materials.” He was certainly on the mark with this design. His design is upscale, made with sensible materials, and gives serious attention to details. Peacock says he sees this as “… a great place to kill a bottle of wine,” and we couldn’t agree more. It’s comfortable and begs for you to sit at the island for conversation over a bottle of Cabernet.
It started with Peacock Cabinetry’s Montauk cabinet collection, which is a modern kitchen cabinet that features classical elements. They were painted a deep, dark green with a hint of blue and feature brushed brass and walnut hardware. The countertops are pure white by Cambria. Peacock kept the walls in simple white, which lets the handsome cabinetry take center stage.
When asked about his favorite element of the kitchen, Peacock chose the open shelving in front of the windows. They’re suspended by brass hardware and feature riveted brass accents—an elegant way to display favorite pottery and glassware.
The true focal point of the kitchen, however, is the unique mosaic backsplash made from sliced English flint veneer. The flint is an irregular stone known for its amazing hardness, so it is an incredibly durable, yet unexpected choice for a backsplash. It really sets off the stainless of the Monogram range and looks gorgeous next to the cabinetry.
The kitchen island features the same color as the cabinets but has a pure black Cambria top with a butcherblock inset. Carved walnut drawers feature the phrase “It is what it is” beneath the brass hardware. Though the ceilings in this room are low, the flower shaped light fixture overtop of the island brings a glow to the entire room and provides much needed light for prep work.
Peacock loved the seamless fit and classic looks of the Monogram luxury appliances in this kitchen. We think they really make this stunning room fit for a chef or any serious cook. “I have to say I am really thrilled with the finished room. Designing a show house kitchen is always challenging given the time constraints, but I feel we achieved our goal. The room is sophisticated visually, well appointed, and beautifully executed. The reaction from the audience is just what I hoped for and the selection of state-of-the-art appliances makes it a dream kitchen to work in,” said Peacock. The Monogram luxury appliances installed in this kitchen include a custom-panel refrigerator, 48” pro range, Advantium oven, and single wall oven. If you’re in the New York City area, take a tour and see this elegant house in person.
When interior designer Staci Munic bought her condo in the historic William Cody Tennis Club Homes, she learned the community would be added to the Modernism Week home tours—if she could get her home remodeled in time. Challenge accepted.
The home was built in 1966 by influential desert modern architect William Francis Cody. It had been through a remodel in the 1980s, so Munic wanted to bring it up to date while paying homage to its modernism roots. After many challenges, including putting in a large steel I beam so she could enlarge her kitchen without the ceiling crashing down, her space was on the tour and ready for guests to “ooh and ahh” over her smart, modern take on mid-century design for 2019.
The former galley kitchen is now a bright (thanks to a generous skylight), open space, ready for the former-chef-turned-designer to entertain her friends and family. “I need to breathe in my kitchen, and I need to be able to interact with my family and friends while I am preparing meals and cocktails,” said Munic of her new space. “When it’s just me at home, it makes me so happy to be able to view and take in my entire living space from behind my kitchen counter,” she added. Indeed, the kitchen design flows well into the living room—the entire condo is painted in Edward Dunn Whisper and the flooring throughout is 33” square porcelain tile that looks remarkably like terrazzo, which brings a consistency and seamlessness to the whole space.
Munic’s relaxed, casual chic style can be felt through all of her designs, including her own. She feels that great lighting is a key element to each of her designs, and she takes pride in her ability to provide a well-lit, extremely useable space. The large skylight in the center of her kitchen brings in the cheery Palm Springs sun and extends the warmth of her wood cabinetry, which includes her custom panel refrigerator. On top of her cabinets, Munic used Silestone White Zeus Extreme for durability and brightness. Her backsplash features tiles in a warm gray.
With her culinary school background, Munic loves to cook, so her full Monogram kitchen brings function along with its aesthetics. “I am infatuated with my induction cooktop and my Advantium oven,” said Munic. “I’m not sure which one I love more, but they are jealous of each other, for sure. And don’t get me started on my dishwasher,” she added. Munic also loves the smart kitchen technology provided by the WiFi connected appliances. “What I think I love most about my Monogram appliances is that they are all made in America… by people who generally care about making people’s lives better through engineering high quality, performance appliances,” she said.
Staci Munic’s 2019 nod to mid-century modern design shows that you can keep the feel of the 1960s while bringing your kitchen into the 21st century. Monogram is proud to be a part of her home and excited to work with Munic and other designers on the 2019 Monogram Designer Council.
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.