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 Carrie Antonello from Tuscan Touch Designs in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Carrie Antonello, recent participant at the GE Monogram Experience Center in Louisville, Kentucky
SRFD: How did you become interested in design?
Carrie: I remember dreaming of having my own room as a kid – looking through magazines and redecorating it over and over in my mind. I loved imagining how fabrics, lighting, furniture and window treatments would look in ‘my room.’ So naturally, I became an engineer and went to work for GE Appliances. Wait, what now?! Well, I had other interests too. So interior design and decorating became more of a hobby while I built my career and learned from the masters at GE.
Once my husband and I started a family, I took the leap and changed careers starting my own interior design business using my passions, talent and also my business experiences to create a successful and fun second career.
SRFD: Tell us about a recent project you really enjoyed.
Carrie: Recently I was asked by a new client to help turn her unfinished attic into a combination yoga studio and ballroom dance studio. Quite a challenge for sure! Yoga calls for calm, quiet, zen-like qualities. The colors should be soft subdued and the decor simple. Now, how can I add a disco ball to that and still make it work? Working together, the client and I came up with a few tricks that resulted in a zen experience by day, and with just a few changes of glitzy toss pillows, lighting and accessories, provided the welcoming, energized party space for couples to swing the night away!
SRFD: A trend you’re over?
Carrie: I’m over or have never been a fan of the barnyard-animal decor in the kitchen. Chickens, cows and pigs may have their place in a recipe, but even with a cute chalk board in-hand, they just don’t belong on the countertop.
SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?
Carrie: I’m enjoying the new colors in appliances. Stainless is still very strong in the market, but homeowners are warming up to other colors and that makes my job so much more interesting. Generally, I see homes getting softer and warmer. Colors are richer and deeper than they’ve been in the past. At the recent International Home Furnishing Market in High Point, North Carolina, I couldn’t keep my hands off of the textiles. Area rugs, bedding fabrics, draperies and upholstery will be so plush and soft when they hit the stores in 2015!
SRFD: What did you learn in Louisville?
Carrie: So, so much! The MEC is such a beautiful space that is conducive to learning AND experiencing. It was beneficial not only to use the appliances, but also to compare the Monogram brand to competitors’ appliances. When it’s time to specify appliances for my clients, I can tell them first-hand what my experiences have been and guide them through the brand decisions.
Also, I loved seeing the new innovations in the Monogram line. Specifically, I was so impressed with the new Monogram Advantium wall-oven, that I replaced my own original 13-year old model with the new ZSC2201 shortly after returning to Raleigh. The addition of convection cooking, the added capacity and the storage drawer for trays were big selling points. But the real selling point for me, and for subsequent clients, is that the additional capacity and storage that the new speed-cooker offers, fits in the exact same cut-out as the old oven! So no reconfiguration is necessary and no valuable cabinet space is lost. I’ve converted quite a few homeowners to Advantium cooking! And once they’ve made that switch, selling the entire kitchen of Monogram just falls into place.
Lastly, networking with other designers and professionals was priceless. I’m still in touch with so many wonderful people that I met during my week at the MEC.