Tag: Advantium

Designer Profile: Wendy Franz

Through our activities in the Chicago area, we came across Wendy Franz, owner and lead designer with Studio 912. We were so impressed we had to learn a bit more about her.

Kitchen space in Studio 912 Chicago studio

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Wendy: I have had a remodeling business with my husband since 1995. We operated our business out of our home, which was the perfect setup for me as it allowed me to be home and flexible for our kids as they were growing up. About 15 years ago, we remodeled our own kitchen and it was fun being able to plan every single spot in the kitchen for maximum use and efficiency according to how we use each area of the kitchen. It sparked my creativity and gave me a desire to be more than the person in the background handling operations and office matters. I wanted to be more involved with the customers and in the design process of our projects. In 2010, I investigated whether any of the local colleges had a specific degree or program specifically for kitchen and bath design and was so excited to find that Harper College in Palatine did. It was a certificate portion of their Interior Design Degree. I went in two different shifts, taking a 2 1/2 year break from school and being in business for myself due to the recession, but when I was able to return to the industry, I picked right back up where I left off school wise. So thankful that I did. It is truly a passion of mine, creating beautiful spaces for my clients that they love to wake up and come home to – a space that gives them a place of peace, comfort and refuse from the world around them.

Now that I have my own design studio/cabinet and countertop dealership (two of them actually, one near our home in Crystal Lake and one that I partner in with a fellow Harper student) and having the suburban location be in front of my husband’s woodworking workshop has given us a business that we can employ both of our daughters in. It’s nice to be working side by side with my hubby again and it’s such a huge plus to be able to offer woodworking piece in my designs to our clients, such as barn doors, tables, countertops and now, we’re starting to offer custom hoods too. Down the road, I hope to have time to create custom vanities too.

SRFD: Tell us about a recent project

Wendy: We just wrapped up project for a repeat customer who we had done woodworking for in the past. This time, she came to us to design her kitchen, using two of our three cabinet lines. We did the perimeter in a white transitional door style and the island/hood/cooktop cabinetry along with the butler’s pantry and a bar wall in a dark stained rustic cherry. We used three different Cambria countertop patterns along with a reclaimed wood table extension off of the island and reclaimed shelves. She put in eight different zones of lighting and very interesting backsplash tile. Can’t wait to get in for the photo shoot.

SRFD: A trend you are excited about?

Wendy: The combination of wood grain cabinets with painted. Or the use of different colors throughout a space. We’re about to have a kitchen installed that we designed in a sleek white Acrylux door style on the uppers and a lined dark Acrylux door style on the lowers with a couple of aluminum/glass door cabinets mixed in. Should be very elegant and classy.

Kitchen designed by Studio 912. As Wendy said, “I of course LOVE any design I can incorporate my husband’s handiwork in like this beautiful, reclaimed island top.”

SRFD: A trend you are over?

Wendy: There have been so many white shaker kitchens, but we like to do them with touches of uniqueness that make them anything but the typical cookie cutter kitchen (as can be seen in the kitchen above).

SRFD: Tell us about your relationship with Monogram.

Wendy: We have a Monogram Advantium Speed Cooker/Microwave along with refrigerator drawers at our Chicago studio and LOVE using them and showing them off. We are recommending Monogram to all of our clients and will be meeting with the Monogram folks to talk about how we can have a more involved relationship with them. Can’t wait!

Monogram at Modernism

Written by Courtney Kruer, Monogram Appliances

Monogram was on the road again in February, this time for Modernism Week’s signature annual event that celebrates midcentury modern design, architecture, fashion, art and culture. The celebration is held in beautiful and sunny Palm Springs, California, and includes over 350 fabulous events. These events range from the Modernism Show & Sale where Monogram exhibited our luxury appliances to signature home tours, films, nightly parties and so much more.

Being the only appliance brand at the show, Monogram sure drew a crowd with special thanks to our Executive Chef Jon Lidell. Jon flawlessly demonstrated the effortlessness of our signature Advantium speed cook oven and 36” induction cooktop with gourmet bites for the masses all weekend long.

You know you have the perfect chef when even seconds aren’t enough for the crowd. It’s safe to say that we converted plenty of consumers not only to be induction and Advantium lovers, but Monogram supporters as well.


After such a successful weekend, what’s the best way to celebrate in Palm Springs other than the legendary Twin Palms Frank Sinatra Estate?

Thanks to our Designer Engagement Leader for the West, Elise Raydo, the night was exquisite. The intimacy of the gathering in such an iconic setting, where Sinatra’s original recording equipment is still held, had the Monogram team and guests in complete awe.

Every bathroom except one was the original and almost all of the furniture was historic, which made you feel as though you were truly celebrating with Frank himself.

Jon Lidell served up some lovely bites for appetizers made in our pizza oven and the what seemed like endless courses served by Workshop Kitchen + Bar outside by the piano shaped pool were to die for. Talk about Elevating Everything!

Designer Profile: Ellen Cheever

Written by Christina Dragota, Monogram Lead Product Specialist

We had the pleasure of having Ellen Cheever join us for one of our Monogram Training Sessions at our Chicago Monogram Design Center this past July. She has spent the past 44 years significantly outlining the kitchen and bathroom design world, not only for consumers, but also for the industry. From just having come off her trip at EuroCucina in Milan, she went through the upcoming trends pertaining specifically to kitchen and bath. While going through all of the sleek, contemporary images of kitchen design concepts she noted, “This is the first time I’ve seen Europe and America sharing similar trends across the design.” She continued explaining how this is an exciting time of collaboration throughout metals, technology and also appliances. While speaking with her, you get this immediate sense of knowledge of all she’s learned throughout her career, but in a way that is approachable, which is why we wanted to interview her!

Ellen Cheever

Ellen Cheever with Ellen Cheever & Associates in Wilmington, DE


SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Ellen: While I was in grade school, my mother gave me a hundred dollars if I could complete the task of remodeling our bedroom. Ever since that initial challenge, I was addicted and wanted to learn as much as I could about design. In the 70’s we didn’t have “Design Majors”, so the next best option was Home Economics which did focus more on home planning, but in college that was the closest thing.

SRFD: Tell us about a recent project you really enjoyed.

Ellen: We were working on a show house in Wilmington where they wanted our firm to do a Master Bath. It’s always challenging to make a functioning bathroom while still maintaining that showroom impression. We wanted to have that “wow” factor but with functionality, which I think we accomplished.

SRFD: What is a trend you’re over?

Ellen: Glazed white finishes.

SRFD: What is a trend you’re excited about?

Ellen: Contemporary wood veneers that are produced in manmade materials and also, innovations within appliance technologies. I think focusing on making equipment smarter and more intuitive but still friendly to Cooks that are a little uncertain about operating technology.

SRFD: What did you learn at the Chicago Monogram Design Center?

Ellen: It allowed me to expand my knowledge on the possibilities with induction cooking. I now appreciate more “combination appliances” like the Advantium. By seeing Chef Jon cook in it teamed with your presentations given on the versatility behind the product, it really made me understand its use, especially for smaller spaces.

SRFD: What is your favorite Monogram product?

Ellen: I loved the 30” integrated refrigerator with the combination drawer. The flexibility is fantastic, as well as, the look.

Your New Home Came with an Advantium Speedcook Oven in the Kitchen. Now What?

Written by Susan Cozzi, Manager of the Monogram Design Center in New York City

Like most homeowners at Lennar’s boutique waterfront condo, The Avenue Collection on the Hudson River, chances are you one-touched the reheat button for warming up a dinner and also made popcorn and tea in your Advantium.

To answer the question, the team at the New York Monogram Design Center thought—our chef, your kitchen—let’s have dinner. So Monogram partnered with Lennar to offer its homeowners an onsite chef demonstration dedicated to using Advantium, all while taking in a great view of the New York City skyline.


Monogram Executive Chef Michael and Chef Carl ensured that the menu for the evening covered all of Advantium’s special cooking features. Appetizers started with avocado toast as guests were surprised to find their “microwave” could also toast all their favorites in the morning.


Next, the Cajun marinated prawns with grit cakes were speedcooked to perfection. The door was now opened to all the possibilities for fast, healthy dinners, and lots of notes and tips were taken.


The next speedcooked entree was lamb chops served with ratatouille. Now the conversation got good as guests savored lamb perfectly browned and were surprised at Advantium’s versatility and skill in also cooking the vegetables gently. Owners learned they could also keep their dinner plates or dinner warming by using the warming drawer feature.


Baked apricots with rum and vanilla whipped crème fraiche demonstrated the convection oven baking function in Advantium and showed the value of being able to bake a full dessert without having to turn on a full-sized oven.

Since much of the joy of cooking comes from the process of learning something new, these new homeowners enjoyed the Monogram team stepping in their door and showing them the possibilities.

See more photos of this new community that was once vacant land:


Monogram Dream Kitchen Design Contest Winner: Sarah Robinson

The Monogram Dream Kitchen Design Contest was created to celebrate the imagination and creative vision inherent in beautiful kitchen design. All designs were required to integrate Monogram appliances and were judged across several award categories. We announced the winners last month and will be profiling each of them on Save Room for Design over the next few months.

The first place winner in Best Traditional Kitchen Design is Sarah Robinson from Jansen Inc. in Pensacola, Florida. We profiled Sarah here on Save Room for Design earlier this year.

Sarah Robinson, Best Traditional Kitchen Design first place winner

Sarah Robinson, Best Traditional Kitchen Design first place winner

We asked Sarah to tell us about her winning design:

“I found out about the contest after researching on the Monogram website. I had been in Louisville at the Monogram Experience Center the week before and learned so much! When I saw the call for submissions, I decided to submit a recent project.

This project was unique since we worked on about 80% of the home. The homeowners wanted to remodel their 1970’s ranch house to create an open floor plan fit for entertaining and making the kitchen the center piece. The home was their family home and it is located on Perdido Bay (in Florida). They are both retired now and wanted to update as well as to create a home that they could host many family gatherings. They utilized several Monogram appliances – 48” pro range, beverage center, ice maker, dishwasher, and my favorite, the Advantium oven. The homeowners had an Advantium years ago and said that it would be a staple in this kitchen. After learning and cooking with it, I have to agree with her!”

See more of Sarah’s designs on Houzz.

Sarah Robinson's winning kitchen design

Sarah Robinson’s winning kitchen design


Interview with Monogram Modern Home Chef Hayley Christopher

As you may remember, Monogram partnered with Dwell earlier this year on the Monogram Modern Home – a custom, 825 square foot home which showcased the craftsmanship and innovative features of Monogram’s newest and most popular high-end appliances. Over the course of six months, the Monogram Modern Home traveled to Portland, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Austin, Dallas and Boston. In each location Chef Hayley Christopher prepared delicious treats and appetizers for guests using the Monogram kitchen appliances. We interviewed Chef Hayley to learn a little more about her and her experience on the Monogram Modern tour.

Chef Hayley Christopher in the Monogram Modern home kitchen in Boston, Massachuetts

Chef Hayley Christopher in the Monogram Modern home kitchen in Boston, Massachusetts

SRFD: What did you learn participating in the tour?

Chef Hayley: The Monogram Modern Home tour (MMHT) was such a fabulous experience and unique opportunity for me as a chef. I have worked in catering for six years now and television for four, in both of those environments you learn to adapt quickly and “figure it out or make it work.” Since the tour was centered around an actual home traveling across the country, we had times where the house hit traffic, couldn’t get in the city, or had mechanical issues. I really had to put those adaptability skills to the test. Each city was different and awesome in it’s own way, but no two were the same so the approach couldn’t be either. The old adage proved true, you never stop learning or adapting. I think I really tapped in to my “go with the flow” mentality and just had fun enjoying the ride of the MMHT. It always worked out and blossomed into a great tour stop, creating valuable connections with the community.

SRFD: Any Advantium tips you’d like to share?

Chef Hayley: The Advantium is hands down my favorite piece of equipment in the Monogram Modern Home. The versatility of it allows you to multi-task in the kitchen and get back to the real reason people cook, allowing you to enjoy time with family and friends. No gimmicks, this oven can microwave popcorn, reheat a casserole, speed-cook a whole chicken, and perfectly cook a moist piece of fish with crispy skin. The guess-work is taken out of cooking so you don’t have to be a chef to operate it. Play with it is what I’d say, step back and let it cook for you, I’m sure you’ll love it just as much as I do!

Dwell Monogram Austin 007

Monogram Advantium, wall oven and French door bottom freezer refrigerator in the Monogram Modern Home kitchen


SRFD: What’s your background and how did you come to participate in the tour?

Chef Hayley: I am a chef by trade and have been working the hospitality industry for over ten years. A natural transition in Los Angeles was to television where I work as a chef, food and prop stylist, providing picture-perfect dishes for shows and cookbooks. Through catering, I cooked many events for Dwell Media and was delighted when they asked me to hop on board with this project. I am currently self-employed, owning and operating Haystack Kitchen LLC, which specializes in private chef services and food/prop styling.

SRFD: Favorite experience during the tour?

Chef Hayley: I had the privilege of working with many farm to table chefs over my career who taught me the importance and benefits of cooking seasonally. When I was asked to do this tour, I was elated about the idea of cooking seasonally in each city and drawing from local, native cooking styles. I’d seek out those local ingredients, some of which were indigenous to their location, draw from local influences and put my own California twist on it. Creating these menus was so much fun and I really got to geek out with it, researching and cultivating truly unique menus for each stop. The specialty cocktail in Dallas, for instance, used not only seasonal produce but also liquor from a local distillery to really make it personal. You just don’t get that experience cooking in one place all the time, I absolutely loved that challenge!

SRFD: Most frequently asked question?

Chef Hayley: It’s a tie between, “do you cook at home?” and “what’s your favorite thing to cook?” Oh man, everyone always wants to know that and it drives chefs crazy. I love to cook, but I also love to experience other people’s cooking styles by eating out. I am so fortunate that as a chef my “research” is both consumable and sociable, so needless to say I definitely try and take advantage of that.

SRFD: Any cities you would recommend the tour should visit?

Chef Hayley: If I’m selfishly planting a seed for some fabulous locations that I can play with pristine ingredients, I’d say Colorado for sure. The South, I love the south and try to get down to see my Godmother in Mississippi yearly, the culture, food and people are just so vibrant down there … Perhaps, Tennessee, Georgia, the Carolinas, heck, New Orleans. Honestly, anywhere would be fun…that’s the beauty of the States, so diverse, I’m just happy to be a traveling chef for a bit and get out of my comfort zone.


Delicious appetizers created by Chef Hayley at the Monogram Modern Home in Phoenix

Designer profile: Kirsten and Darrell Becker

The Monogram Experience Center (MEC) brings designers to Louisville, Kentucky, for three-day experiences to learn about Monogram, the design process, our appliances – and even cook with them! We interviewed each designer to learn a little more about their background and design experiences.

Today’s profile highlights Kirsten and Darrell Becker with Becker Studios in Santa Barbara, California.

Kirsten and Darrell Becker, recent participants at the Monogram Experience Center in Louisville, Kentucky

Kirsten and Darrell Becker, recent participants at the Monogram Experience Center in Louisville, Kentucky

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Kirsten and Darrell: We have always been taken by that relaxed, perfectly satisfied feeling you get in a space that’s done right. But we are more affected by what’s wrong in a space! When it just feels a tad bit off or seriously awkward, that’s what inspires us to look at it from different angles and create a certain mood and better flow that puts anyone that enters it in a “feel good” place. After working separately for many years, Kirsten, a designer, and Darrell, a custom builder, found that collaboratively, their work exceeded expectations, so Becker Studios was established as a one-stop shop for design/build projects. We always stick to two mottos. First: Dream. Design. Build. Then: Rearrange, Refine, and LIVE!

SRFD: Tell us about a recent project you really enjoyed.

Kirsten and Darrell: We recently completed a massive commercial development project – The Mill. The Mill is a marketplace featuring local merchants with Santa Barbara roots. We purchased the property, had a vision for it, designed it, processed it, built it and procured the proper tenant mix to bring it to life. What’s special about The Merchants is that they all produce and serve their products – beer, wine, BBQ and more – on site, so it is the ultimate inception to finish experience. The Mill also includes our offices and Becker Studios’ design outlet, Millworks. As a brand extension of Becker Studios, it features our own unique furnishings and designs. We sourced recycled barn wood from Wyoming and created custom, one-of-a-kind hardware, gates and panels to make it feel of era and authentic. It has been a long road, but the results are beyond what we pictured. We are thrilled to watch our vision come to life on such a large scale! Anyone can watch our journey through @themillsb on Instagram!

SRFD: A trend you’re over?

Kirsten and Darrell: Restoration Hardware knocking off every cool, unique relic that ever existed – and doing a great job at it!

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Kirsten and Darrell: Raw, authentic goods displayed at the heart of design. Living finishes are comfortable to soak in, plus they are low maintenance and better for the environment.

SRFD: What did you learn in Louisville?

Kirsten and Darrell: Appliances not only need to be user friendly and super functional, but also on the cutting edge of design. And not all designers are good cooks…even with Advantium at their fingertips!

Follow along with Kirsten and Darrell on Instagram at @beckerstudios.

Designer profile: Melissa Helvey

The Monogram Experience Center (MEC) brings designers to Louisville, Kentucky, for three-day experiences to learn about Monogram, the design process, our appliances – and even cook with them! We interviewed each designer to learn a little more about their background and design experiences.

Today’s profile highlights Melissa Helvey with Great Floors in Spokane, Washington.

Helvey Headshot HiRes

Melissa Helvey, recent participant at the Monogram Experience Center in Louisville, Kentucky

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Melissa: Throughout my childhood I had always said I wanted to be a lawyer when I grew up. My senior year in high school I took an interior design class, just to fill my required course load. The first day of class we visited a home construction site, and the minute I stepped in and looked around at the framing and everything coming together. I knew instantly that was what I was meant to do.

SRFD: Tell us about a recent project you really enjoyed.

Melissa: I recently finished a kitchen remodel. My client found me at a Home Show back in April and she came up to me with a sketch on a napkin of her kitchen and said.. I NEED YOU … She had a dreadful existing kitchen that was so small and materials so dark it was like being in a cave. WE worked closely to find a design and materials that would make the space feel more comfortable to be in and more functional. Throughout the project she would send me photos almost daily, so excited about the progress. At the end of the project she called me in tears. I said, Mary, what’s the matter? Are you not happy with your kitchen? She said, “I LOVE it! I can’t tell you how much I love it and how much I appreciate all your help.” It wasn’t an award-winning design or even very creative, but this really captures why I do what I do. I love being able to help people have a better life. Help them through what can be a very difficult process and experience their joy at the end.

SRFD: A trend you’re over?

Melissa: Hand-scraped hardwood floors. They still very popular in the inland Northwest…and I think they should be banned 😉

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Melissa: I still love the greys. I know it’s been trending for quite a while, but in my neck of the woods were pretty slow to catch on to the trends.

SRFD: What did you learn in Louisville?

Melissa: I was so impressed with how much research and thought goes into the Monogram product line. It was so amazing to see the 3D printing technology and learn how it has improved and sped up the research process.

I wasn’t familiar with all the capabilities of the Avantium technology. I called my husband back at home the day we learned about it and told him we were getting one!