Tag: interior design

Designer Profile: Laura Umansky

Following our exciting partnership announcement with designer Laura Umansky, we wanted to learn a little more about Laura and her design background.

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Laura: Creating beautiful environments has been important to me for as long as I can recall. As a child, I would draw home plans, sketch my room layout, and design my personal space from top to bottom. Luckily, my mother let me have control of this from a very young age. Most likely because she was not interested in interior design at all!

In undergraduate school, I studied Art and didn’t hone in on the profession of Interior Design until late in my college career. After graduation, I knew that I wanted to dive head first into interior design and I started working for a fantastic designer who showed me the ropes. After a year, I enrolled in graduate school and, in 2005, received my Master of Architecture Degree. Studying Architecture definitely had a huge impact on the way that I approach interior design and how I structured my firm.

I started Laura U Interior Design in 2007 and we are celebrating our 10th anniversary this year. It is such an incredible milestone and I couldn’t be prouder of our team. I am so excited to see what we can all accomplish in the next 10 years!

SRFD: Tell us about a recent project.

Laura: Currently, I am working on my own home: a 1925 Tudor Revival in a Historic District of Houston. It is a fantastic home and I love the neighborhood. Being a historic home, it has had it’s share of challenges: foundation issues, termites, etc… All things you may expect with a home that is nearly a century old, but none of them are really fun to deal with.

What is fun to deal with is the design of the home and bringing it back to it’s original glory. It will be a gorgeous and stately home when it’s finish; perfect for the Monogram appliances that are going in our new kitchen and butler’s pantry!

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Laura: As I write, I am at High Point Market in North Carolina. I love market because I get to see all of the brand new introductions from the best design houses and manufacturers in the business. Right now, I am very excited to see the classic contrast of Black and White everywhere! I love the crispness of this pairing and you will see plenty of this in my new home when it is unveiled in the Spring.

SRFD: A trend you are over?

Laura: I am never really completely over any trend because it always comes back around at the right time. For example, who saw macramé being 2017s go-to wall art? For this very moment, I can do without large scale floral wallpaper. It is gorgeous but I think I have seen it implemented just enough to get me through the next decade!

SRFD: Why are you partnering with Monogram?

Laura: Monogram is everything my Classically Current design philosophy is grounded in: it is synonymous with luxury and livability. My Monogram appliances are timeless in look yet are modern in performance. As a mother of 5-year-old twin girls, my home must be beautiful, warm and welcoming to our friends and family, and it has to support our busy (aka crazy) daily lives. Monogram appliances easily check each of these boxes!

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Designer Profile: Mary Kathryn Strong

The Louisville Monogram Experience Center (MEC) brings designers to Louisville, Kentucky, for two-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 we’re featuring Mary Kathryn Strong with Trey Strong Custom Homes and MK Strong Design based in Lubbock, Texas.

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Mary Kathryn: I have always paid attention to design even before I knew it would be my job. I used to listen to my grandmother talk about antiques and how she was always planning her next decorating scheme. She had an interior designer that she loved for many years and they would talk about different textiles, colors and interior styles. She taught me that if you love something like a piece of furniture or color, you can make it work for you and the rules are there aren’t any rules!

SRFD: Tell us about a recent project.

Mary Kathryn: One of my recent customers built a beautiful, traditional, two-story home. My style is probably a little more sleek than ornate, but they had huge, rare pieces of Baroque artwork they wanted all over the house. It was fun to incorporate them and have them against such clean and spacious backgrounds.

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Mary Kathryn: New trends that aren’t really new … I’m glad color is coming back. I love a neutral house, but I need a little “pop’ here and there.

SRFD: A trend you’re over?

Mary Kathryn: I’m over all or nothing. I don’t like all grey or all taupe. Or all white. I like to mix and match the grey and tan. I think of it like jewelry. Gold and silver can be mixed and be timeless. I feel the same about a house.

SRFD: What did you learn during your Monogram experience.

Mary Kathryn: First of all, I thoroughly enjoyed my Monogram experience. I learned more than I could ever imagine about how a dishwasher works 🙂 I thought it was really cool to understand the technology behind refrigeration. The cooking experience with the chefs was a great lesson in heating your oven and pans before cooking. Most important, I am using Monogram on my next kitchen design project!

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Historical Home Renovation with Ember & Brune

Initially clients Adam and Sarah came to Ember & Brune because they were having a difficult time finding their forever home. Adam and Sarah were moving from Chicago to the suburbs and had trouble finding everything they wanted in a home. They decided to buy a home and remodel it, and hired Ember & Brune. The firm looked at the house before Adam and Sarah closed on it and came up with a plan to add an addition, while also reconfiguring the existing space to make this historical house everything they wanted in a forever home. All while being budget conscious. As a full-service Design – Build firm, Ember & Brune designs the project, builds it and even provides interior design services to help furnish it!

Take a look at the final reveal Ember & Brune blog post as well as the intro and in progress posts.

 

We interviewed the team at Ember & Brune to learn a little more about the project.

SRFD: Any surprises on this renovation?

Ember & Brune: Endless. We were gutting the existing interior and adding an addition on a home that was built in 1910. Some things we found behind the walls were fun and interesting, like Saturday Evening Post magazines used as insulation and perfectly preserved. While others were scary like old electrical and gas lines that were still live and never properly disconnected and disposed of.

SRFD: What component of the project are you most proud of?

Ember & Brune: While it is impossible to pick just one component, I will say we are very pleased with the coffered ceiling in the kitchen. When our architect told us we could not open up the first floor without a hefty beam running down the middle, we decided to get creative. We designed the coffered ceiling to completely conceal the beam while adding an architectural detail in the kitchen. We tried to stay true to the home’s historical charm. The coffered ceiling has added so much character to the space.

SRFD: Tell us a little about the kitchen.

Ember & Brune: The clients like to entertain so a large kitchen was a must. The island is perfect for entertaining and comfortably sits their guests on the opposite side of their kitchen’s main cooking hub.

 

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Photographer, Designer and General Contractor

Following up on last week’s profile of photographer and designer Jamie Sangar, we wanted to learn a little more about her background and most recent project – her own home.

Photography: Jamie Sangar

As a little girl, I never imagined myself being a general contractor.  General contractors carry tape measures and wear hard hats. I was going to wear tutus and make-up. In my wildest imagination I never guessed that general contractors could do both!

When my husband and I decided we wanted to build a modern, energy-efficient home in Indianapolis, Indiana, our options for homebuilders were pretty slim, to say the least. In a market with much more conservative taste overall, and neighborhood homeowner’s associations that have a tight hold on architectural styles, the challenge was real trying to find the perfect land that would allow us to have neighbors, since we aren’t the country-dwelling type, as well as the design freedom to build a modern home. So, before even getting started on the land search, we knew we were up against two major roadblocks.

Thankfully, we were pleasantly surprised to quickly find the perfect land. It’s as if fate was on our side. We knew that our next step was to find the perfect architect. Even though we are both artists (my husband, a Visual Effects Supervisor, and me, a photographer by trade) and can easily visualize and design things on our own, we put the upmost value in hiring an architect, that could not only design a functional home based around the way that we live, but also, build a home that fit the land. We lucked out with lots of tall, mature trees, and a hill that our house would set atop—all things that we wanted to help dictate our home design, rather than knock-down, flatten, and plop a house on top of.

Photography: Jamie Sangar

After meeting with three different architects, we chose to work with Jason Wolfe at Demerly Architects, who was the perfect match for us in terms of style, personality and being willing to work with, what some would consider, a tough budget for a custom home that offers some high-end technology and appliances. He had ideas on where to save money to help offset those luxuries we weren’t willing to give up.

After having our plans priced with two local builders, and feeling frustrated by the price that came back both times, we decided that if we were going to make our dreams a reality, we were going to have to get our hands dirty. And by “dirty,” I mean, take on the responsibility of being the general contractor on our build.

I managed the day to day progress, scheduling the sub-contractors, managing material deliveries, working with our lender, meeting with potential subs, getting quotes, keeping the job site clean, hiring and firing, all while managing a full-time photography business and two children.

Photography: Jamie Sangar

Our exterior walls are SIPs panels (structural insulated panels) built by Thermocore, which means that not only is our home very insulated and energy-efficient, it meant that our walls were built indoors in a factory, unexposed to the weather elements, and then delivered on two semis to the job site. A crane and a framing crew would then set the walls, which drastically cut down on framing labor and time. So within days, our home had a roof and we were ready for the rough-in stage.

Photography: Jamie Sangar

Next was the fun part. That’s when all of the finishes and final design came into play! I knew I wanted to be minimal but warm and inviting, sleek but introduce textures, and add pops of color through furnishings rather than with wall or tile colors. The palette was simple; white walls, polished chrome finishes, black windows and maple hardwoods.

Photography: Jamie Sangar

The most important room to us was the kitchen. I love hosting, cooking and entertaining, so our main “splurge” was our kitchen appliances. An example of finding ways to offset the cost of our commercial-grade kitchen “must haves” was to design and build our own cabinets from Ikea. Ikea’s white glossy lacquer cabinets were the clean and efficient look we were going for!

Photography: Jamie Sangar

I’ve always had a passion for interior and architectural design. It’s just something that’s in my blood and I’ve followed for years through social media outlets, magazines, and in stores. But the most fun and applicable way for me to put that knowledge to use was by building our own home.  With this home, unlike our last home, I wanted a clean and modern neutral palette. Our last home had lots of color incorporated by different colored painted walls. My plan with this house, however, was to incorporate color with furnishings, while keeping the floors and walls neutral. This has allowed for a consistent look and feel throughout the entire house, while each room has a unique flair based on the furnishings.

Photography: Jamie Sangar

I especially have a love of mid-century modern design, so while our home is brand new, those same ideals were used in the design of our home. The idea that large expanses of glass be used to bring the outdoors inside, with a large open floor plan concept, we’ve topped that idea off with lots of mid-century modern furniture and decor. Another goal with the design of the interiors was to be as minimal as possible, while still being comfortable. An example of this is designing our closets so that our dressers fit inside there, rather than in the bedrooms. This allows for more floor space and less surfaces that likely end up finding clutter, and not to mention, dust. We also chose wall-mounted vanities in every bathroom to give the illusion that the rooms are larger than they are, by being able to see the floor underneath. The same is true for our master bedroom with floating nightstands. From an exterior standpoint, we chose a front door that is one that you would’ve seen in the 1950s, and we chose to make it orange, to contrast our two-toned grey siding.

Photography: Jamie Sangar

Now that we’ve gotten comfortable in our new home, I decided to carry on with my design passion, and start Mod Abode. I view Mod Abode as a blend of all of my passions; photography, design and architecture! It also gets me involved in a social media community that shares those same interests. I get to take pretty photos of design elements and credit those who are responsible for designing or carrying such cool things in their stores. I am not quite sure where Mod Abode might lead me, but my hope is that new doors open that let me expand upon the things I’m always eager to learn more about.

Photography: Jamie Sangar

Photography: Jamie Sangar

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Mind-Blowing Technology

New Jersey-area kitchen and interior design Remya Warrior attended the Design Bloggers Conference in Los Angeles, C.A., earlier this month. On her blog Remya shared her thoughts about one of the conference sponsors, Monogram. As she said, “Technology is definitely the future and when a company makes a product that is practical as well as sustainable, then you have my VOTE.”

Read the rest of Remya’s blog and let us know what you think.

MONOGRAM SPONSORS DESIGNER BLOGGERS CONFERENCE

Monogram is honored to be a sponsor for the 2017 Designer Bloggers Conference March 5-7 at The Beverly Hilton. This is the premier event for interior design bloggers and writers from around the U.S., allowing them to come together and learn from some of the world’s best thinkers, influencers and brands. While sophisticated styling and exceptional craftsmanship set Monogram apart…

#Empathy

Written by Paula Kennedy, CMKBD, with Timeless Kitchen Design This weekend I just finished being an extra for a few commercials with the Improv Alive group that I’ve been practicing with for the last three years. Whenever I tell people I’ve been taking Improv classes, they say, “Oh that must be fun!” But honestly it’s more about getting out of my…

KBIS Recap

Written by John Nichols, Monogram Marketing Manager

Each year I look forward to starting the year fresh, full of new ideas and excited about the possibilities in the year to come. There is one industry show that embodies everything I enjoy about starting a new year – the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS). The show continues to raise the bar each year. It was once again co-located with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders’ Show as part of Design and Construction Week. This year’s show was held in Orlando, Florida, and, as expected, it did not disappoint.

Of course, there are always plenty of new trends and technologies announced and launched as part of KBIS. This year two themes stood out as being incorporated in the exhibits, product offerings, and the general buzz with the trade community.

The first theme was home control. Home control includes the advancements in home automation or making homes “smarter.” Manufacturers continue to find ways to incorporate smart technology into more products, simplify controls, and find more cost-effective ways to integrate it into their products. The primary way automation is being integrated into the home is through products that operate by gestures and proximity sensors, and especially, products connected through WiFi to operating systems and other products in the home. Ultimately, the idea is that products can predict your needs before you have to dictate or manually act to utilize a product. Some of the best examples I saw at the show, include:

  • Pfister Auris – a voice-controlled faucet that offers filtered water and precise measurements of water at specific temperatures, which are perfect for cooking.

pfisterauris

  • U by Moen – creates a customized shower experience via your smartphone. You have the ability to start the shower, customize the temperature, and even get alerts when your shower is ready.

moenu

The second theme that continued throughout the show was kitchens moving toward cleaner designs that focus on efficient living. The clean designs focus on getting rid of clutter and competing lines, and hiding appliances with cabinet panels or cabinet configurations. These kitchens still infused life and fun into the kitchen design with use of color and combining finishes in cabinetry and countertops.

  • Wellborn Cabinet showcased their Best of KBIS kitchen entry. They also launched their new line of Aspire cabinetry that is full-access frameless product.
Wellborn Cabinet KBIS Display

Wellborn Cabinet KBIS Display

  • Häfele’s Tab collection of cabinetry hardware allows the clean lines of the cabinetry to be the kitchen showcase. The hardware can be top mounted on drawers and bottom or side mounted on swinging cabinets. With a variety of colors and finishes, some designs make the hardware almost invisible.
  • Poggenpohl showcased a new line of chrome-plated lacquers in 14 colors, including green, gray, and blue that offers a clean look with a splash of fun.
  • Masterbrand Cabinetry showcased their Omega brand of cabinetry that integrates different finishes into the kitchen.
MasterBrand Cabinets KBIS booth

MasterBrand Cabinets KBIS booth

Hopefully you enjoyed the show as much as I did. Maybe you got a few ideas or a new perspective. I might have come away with a new project – the show just about pushed me over the top on a kitchen remodel. I hope my wife doesn’t mind!

GE Cafe Black Slate appliances at KBIS

GE Cafe Black Slate appliances at KBIS