The brilliant, calming colors of the ocean with a splash of Italian elegance. That was the inspiration for the home that Chef James Briscione and his wife and business partner, Brooke Parkhurst, imagined they would build when they moved their family from cramped quarters in the city to their hometown of Pensacola, Fla. “We started our lives together in New…
Tired of traditional luxury brands and eager to try something new, Nantucket designer finds options, innovation, and luxurious details with Monogram. New construction is hard to come by on the charming island of Nantucket, where a commitment to historic preservation is alive and well. So when Melanie Gowen, a Nantucket-based designer and real estate agent, was offered the opportunity to…
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Monogram has the pleasure of working with so many talented and impressive designers across the country. Sarah Nelson, kitchen and bath designer with Kowalske Kitchen & Bath, is a true design professional we enjoy partnering with, and wanted to learn a little more about her background and experiences.
SRFD: How did you become interested in design?
Sarah: My passion for design started very young. As a child, I would insist my parents “re-decorate” my room every six months … from the pillows to the paint color. It was always changing – thankfully, they embraced my hobby! Even as a child I knew that a room was not just a space. It was a place where memories were made. A room should not only be aesthetically pleasing, but also functional, inspire an emotion, and give off a feeling that makes you want to stay awhile. I use that motto everyday while working with my clients.
I have been specializing in kitchen and bath design for nine years. At Kowalske Kitchen & Bath, we are a full-service design build company. From the design phase to execution of work. In addition, we cater to numerous other projects that include whole house transformations.
SRFD: Tell us about a recent project.
Sarah: Currently, I am working on renovating a 1940’s lakeside cottage. I wanted to keep a lot of the details that would have been original such as the hardwood floors throughout (which were in great shape), arched doorways, and moldings. We kept finishes cohesive due to a smaller, cozy floorplan. However, we did not skimp on any details! Painted cabinets with mullion glass doors, Brazilian quartzite countertops, bead board throughout, made-to-order etched chandeliers, custom iron railings, and a collection of items from the clients’ European travels. It will truly be the charming cottage it once was.
SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?
Sarah: I am excited to see the use of stained cabinets again instead of painted. I will say, a painted white kitchen is SO timeless and classic. Of course it’s always beautiful! BUT I am loving the look of lighter wood tones paired with a printed bold tile. It tends to look more livable and unique. Another trend I look forward to is more metals-gold/brass, rose gold, etc.
SRFD: A trend you’re over?
Sarah: The porcelain wood plank. It seems to be overused. It was once a specialty item and now it’s everywhere. I get it…the look of wood with all the low maintenance factors of a porcelain tile. I still recommend as needed 🙂
SRFD: Tell us about your experience with Monogram.
Sarah: We had worked with Monogram to create a working showroom display. The goal was to design a kitchen that could appeal to many different tastes. It was a blank space and we wanted to showcase our products with an emphasis on the appliances. It includes a 36” dual fuel range with matching vent hood, the integrated fridge and freezer columns (which have a surprising amount of storage) and the 30” Advantium convection/micro. The microwave convection oven has been most popular as it has many functions, whether it may be heating up a cup of coffee quickly or cooking a full meal. We have enjoyed every aspect!
Monogram as a whole appeals to our clientele based off their ability to provide innovative products, transitional sleek designs that accommodate any desired style, and a strong customer service team with a lot of knowledge.
Monogram has the pleasure of working with so many talented and impressive designers across the country. Nicole Ellis Semple with Kuklinski + Rappe Architects 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.
SRFD: How did you become interested in design?
Nicole: Even as a child I was always specific about the aesthetics of my environment: the colors, the placement of furniture, finding practical objects that were beautiful. My mother is a pretty serious seamstress and crafty gal so I grew up around textiles, color, woodworking, and painting. My father is handy and took up woodworking and remodeling our house, and several of my uncles are in the construction trades. Design and construction were always a part of my life.
In my seventh grade shop class we had to design and draw a house floor plan and something clicked for me. I came home that night and told my parents that I wanted to be an architect.
SRFD: Tell us about your recent projects.
Nicole: We worked on two projects recently that involved subtle plan changes with a big impact on the spaces: one is a very contemporary design, the other quite traditional.
Our Little Green Kitchen is a bold renovation of a small condo kitchen that previously had bland finishes and a poorly planned layout. The client wanted a colorful geometric backsplash with coordinating cabinets. We created a color blocked space with a much better work flow. Despite the bold pattern and color, the space is bright, fresh, and well-proportioned now.
Inversely, we recently completed a very traditional English cottage style kitchen on the North Shore. We reconfigured a winding floorplan in a small home to create a generous galley kitchen, a butler’s pantry that doubles as a laundry room, relocate a basement stair, and improve a bathroom. The house is small, but by cleaning up the plan and lightening the color palette, we were able to make a dramatic improvement.
And I’m excited about a third project that will be complete this summer: we moved the kitchen in a project we completed 15 years ago from one side of the house to the other. This is our third project for this client, and as her tastes and times have evolved, she decided she wanted something completely different. She put total trust in us to turn the house upside down and I’m not sure who’s more excited about it – her or us!
SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?
Nicole: I appreciate the increasing desire to live simply in small spaces. Our best innovations come from serious space or budget constraints. I love exploring how to use the existing envelope of a home to make it work better without an addition. Subtle changes can have a much higher impact in small spaces. And when clients decide to pare down their belongings, those improved spaces feel so much lighter and brighter!
SRFD: A trend you are over?
Nicole: As classic as it may be, I’m really over standard white Shaker cabinets and basic white subway tile. I’d much prefer to see a similar rhythm and clean lines achieved in other ways. At the very least, we like to play with the edge profile or panel to give it a little oomph. If you’re already paying for a designer’s expertise and/or custom cabinetry, why select something so ubiquitous? Make it personal!
SRFD: Tell us about your engagement with Monogram
Nicole: We’ve been using Monogram for years now. They are a go-to for solving space problems and innovative technology: a 48” wide range with an oven cavity large enough for the heftiest of Thanksgiving turkeys, or a just-right sized built-in refrigerator for a small condo. We appreciate the consistent pace of innovation and that Monogram seems to have a perfect product for every client. They were a joy to work with for our Little Green Kitchen, which is fully equipped with Monogram appliances.