Tag: interior designer

Chicago Monogram Design Center Happenings

Written by Mackenzie Elliott, Monogram Lead Product Specialist

Cabernet & Credit Event

In celebration of Design Chicago, the Monogram Design Center hosted several events throughout the week, including a “Cabernet & Credit” Design CEU course led by Vintage View’s Marketing Director and wine sommelier Jacob Harkins. Designers enjoyed fine wines from The Artisan Cellar, a pizza oven product demonstration and amazing appetizers prepared by Monogram’s Executive Chef Jon.

Click HERE to see Chef Jon’s interview with Jacob Harkins

Monogram team, Chef Jon and Richard Anuszkiewicz (A2Z) with Richard Living Designs

Sherwin-Williams Event

Inspired solely by Sherwin-Williams‘ color of the year, the Monogram Design Center had the pleasure of hosting the 2019 Sherwin-Williams Color of the year “Cavern Clay” launch party. Executive Chef Jon spent the evening entertaining guests with Cavern Clay colored appetizers and a specialty bourbon apple crisp cocktail created to compliment the color of the year.

The Cavern Clay Cocktail

Elle H-Millard, CKD (Industry Relations Manager at NKBA) and Suzie Williford (EVP of Industry Relations & CSO at NKBA)

Mimosas at The Mart

Design Chicago came to a close with Mimosas at the Mart and discussing all things kitchen and design with designers and kitchen & bath professionals from across the country.

Monogram team

 

  • Mimosas at the Mart: Monogram Team

Designer Profile: Nicole Ellis Semple

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.

Photo credit: Leslie Schwartz Photography

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.

Photo credit: Leslie Schwartz Photography

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.

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: Patricia Davis Brown

We had a great time at the Monogram Designer Summit in February with all of the designers and participants. As a follow-up, we interviewed some of the designers to learn a little more about their background and design experiences. Today we’re featuring Patricia Davis Brown with Patricia Davis Brown Designs LLC based in Vero Beach, Florida.

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Patricia: I think I was born a creative and I would have found my way to the arts one way or another. As a kid, I remember riding in the backseat of my parent’s car looking at the buildings as we drove past. To entertain myself, I would pick a really worn looking place and imagine how I could make it beautiful. I think you are born a creative, it is in your DNA. Even though I am educated in design and hold a license in interior design and certified in kitchen and bath design, I believe the talent is within, education or not.

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

Patricia: I like a challenge and to me, that is remodeling an old property into a great design. I am currently working on a project located on the intercoastal waterway. The view is amazing, but the original property was a designed poorly and really had never had the design thought out. I believe that they just had maxed the property lines with a building and it was oddly shaped and needed help. I am pretty sure there was no architect involved with the original design, the home had no distinct architectural direction. Properties like this need to be eclectic and the personality have to be designed into it. My style for this project is industrial contemporary. I am bringing in a balance of textures and letting the beautiful views beyond the windows play an important roll in the design. The main floors are concrete and the ceilings are open beamed with a painted rub through finish. I am maximizing all the windows to increase the views into the space.

SRFD: A trend you’re over?

Patricia: Carrara marble has been done and I think it is time for another countertop material to shine. I have never been one for trends. There are lots of material options out there and I think a designer that thinks outside the box is able to set the trends. Let’s just take marble tops as an example. A designer should expand their library of materials in countertop to include some amazing finishes that they can bring to their clients like, glass and lava stone. I love mixing countertops materials in a kitchen to create shapes and artistic details.

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Patricia: I am digging the use of metals in interior design. There are so many metal finishes to choose from, rose gold, brass, black, etc. and it gives designers the tools to create an original design for each and every client. I also, like the large groupings of chandeliers that are being used over islands and dining tables. White walls are trending now and I love how it sets up a blank canvas for popping art and other points of interest in a room.

2017 Monogram Designer Summit Recap

Written by Scott Powers, interior designer with J. Hettinger Interiors (shared in their March newsletter)

I Just returned from my second annual trip with Monogram Appliances.

The Monogram Designer Summit, held in Louisville, Kentucky, was a great opportunity to meet and mingle with approximately 80 designers from around the country in order to share and brainstorm new ideas for future products.

This year’s theme was Creating Empathy, standing in the position of others who may face different difficulties, and how we can be more caring and kind in our daily lives. I was very appreciative of being invited again, for the second time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were welcomed our first evening to The Louisville Palace in Louisville, Kentucky. The theater, which features Spanish Baroque décor, opened in 1928.

Our first full day was held at the Speed Art Museum, the oldest, largest, and foremost museum of art in Kentucky. The day consisted of various talks and exercises dealing with physical limitations and how we as a society deal with them. And for those that are dealing with some sort of limitation, how we can be more empathetic. This was a real eye-opening experience, and I am so glad I was asked to participate.

On our last night we were treated to dinner at the Hermitage Farm, where a number of past thoroughbreds reside, including a number of champions and Kentucky Derby winners.

What a privilege it has been to be a part of this incredible design summit with Monogram. I appreciate the opportunity it affords me to become a more well-rounded designer and to pass this knowledge on to benefit my clients.

Warmest regards,

Scott Powers

Designer Profile: Fred M. Alsen

The Chicago Monogram Design Center (MDC) brings designers to Chicago, Illinois, 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 Fred M. Alsen with fma Interior Design.

Designer Fred M. Alsen with fma Interior Design

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Fred: There was never an “Ah ha” moment for me; being a designer is just part of who I am. I go into people’s homes for the first time and I start rearranging the spaces’s furniture and tchotchkes in my head. You could say there is a constant conversation going on between the room and I.

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

Fred: When I was asked to talk about a project I enjoyed, that was a tough one for me. I truly enjoy every project I work on. If I don’t feel there is a fit with the homeowner, or I can make a difference in the space, I don’t take a project. Recently, I installed a kitchen in a townhome, in a building which once was a banjo factory!

Before we even go inside, the street of homes is interesting. It is the very well-heeled neighborhood of Lincoln Park in Chicago and the street has multiple homes on it which run in the tens of millions. The building, the old banjo factory building, runs perpendicular to the street and is constructed from gorgeous old Chicago brick. The color of brick is so hard to explain, but it almost a putty-based color with a hint of a warm rose hue – with a slight undertone of copper. I mention this, as the exposed brick carries over into the home’s interior, specifically the kitchen, and this played a role in the color direction of the kitchen.

The request for the remodel included replacing the poor attempt of the previous remodel done to the home before current owners (a couple who are academics and their teenage son). They wanted a layout which worked for the way they lived and used the space (there was just no work flow to the kitchen prior), and of course, increased storage. The husband and son do the cooking and the wife likes to bake on weekends. This is the space where their living converges and the desire was for a more authentic feeling to this space. With a 13’ ceiling, original wood posts hailing from the banjo factory days, and the exposed Chicago brick, I just couldn’t wait to conspire with history on this project!

The previous kitchen only incorporated half the kitchen area and was not laid-out for multiple cooks to work together. The husband wanted his own prep and cooking area – clear of “other traffic.” The wife desired a separate area for her baking and cleaning – and, most importantly a place for family to gather in the kitchen to eat and work.

Before we even started in the kitchen, we replaced the 3” red oak flooring (also installed during last remodel) throughout the 1st floor. The staircase also received a new look with a 5” natural walnut plank to each step to lend a current look. One of my favorite aspects of this remodel was seeing the old white plain glass windows replaced with Marvin wood divided glass in a bronze finish; an architectural detail, which gave a nod to the old iron windows which are normally found in old industrial buildings. I designed custom window sills made out of salvaged wood beams and embedded copper elements in them to pick up on the original copper air vent pipe we found hidden within the old granite box backsplash. The extent of that copper air vent pipe was a “surprise” we discovered during the remodel!  Rather than fighting it – we honored it and it became a beautiful architectural detail.

When I first walked into the space, an 8’ high drywalled pantry with sliding closet doors (also housing the refrigerator), stuck out like a sore thumb! I could not wait to see that go. What are the other highlights of the space?

  • We installed floor to ceiling Alder wood warmly stained a taupe-grey cabinetry, the “Coastal” color from Greenfield Cabinetry.
  • Incorporated the original wood post and beam as the “new” kitchen footprint. The wall incorporates a broom pantry for cleaning supplies, a pantry which houses office supplies for when they work at the kitchen island and this includes two file drawers, as well as a dry food pantry, tray storage and a baking pantry. This area houses a Monogram French door wall oven. The wall also incorporates upper wall cabinets in quarter sawn white oak with cerusing (also known as liming) from Greenfield Cabinetry. I added an additional custom aspect to the cabinets with “autumn” textured glass panel doors. This area now houses china and bar glassware.
  • The base drawer cabinet houses the baking supplies needed next, which I placed next to a wine cooler.  When this counter area isn’t being used for baking prep it also serves as a bar area for when the couple is entertaining. Above these cabinets are a row of cabinets for storage of items only needed a few times a year – all accessed by a custom walnut and iron rolling ladder, which is so beautiful it doubles as art when it is “stored” on the wall on other side of kitchen.
  • Around from the baking counter, is the original location of sink, which continues to be the main clean-up sink. We also added an instant hot / cold filter water tab for convenience of people wanting water or a hot beverage – so they don’t have to get in the main cooking / prep area.
  • A pull-out trash cabinet and dishwasher are on either side of the sink.
  • Next to the dishwasher are drawers and cabinet with roll-out shelves which house the everyday glassware, dishes and silverware – giving easy access for everyone without having to disturb anyone who is in cooking area. Note the use of roll-out shelves here. I can’t imagine life without these!
  • Turning this next corner is where all the cooking / prep happens. There is another double trash can pullout cabinet, this to the left of newly add prep sink, followed by a three drawer base, with a hidden drawer inside middle drawer, housing lids, pots and pans with a upper wall cabinet for frequently used cooking / can food items.
  • We moved the Monogram French Door Refrigerator to the end of this run so it is easily accessed by everyone, not only by the person cooking but for someone wandering into the kitchen for a snack.
  • The family’s narrative really needed a gathering spot and the large island is just that perfect spot.  In the middle of the room, it features Quarter Sawn Oak in a barnwood stain with liming from Greenfield Cabinetry and a Monogram Induction cook top with the Monogram Advantium under it.  The family loves this as it also acts as the microwave. There are a set of four drawers on each side of the cook top to house spice racks, knife storage and other cooking utensils.
  • At the one end of the kitchen, we recessed a Smart TV which I framed out in salvaged wood. The family loves this to search for recipes, Skype, double as a large computer monitor when working from home and to just simply watch the news.

Our ultimate luxury is to share time with loved ones and this kitchen now invites in this family. We defined their life patterns and then honored them via thoughtful design and product choices. When you walk into the first floor of this home now, it breathes in its’ surroundings and there is no bigger compliment I could receive from a space, than just this.

SRFD: A trend you’re over?

Fred: I’m so over the white painted trend. I get it. It is timeless, but white kitchens are being installed in spaces, where white shouldn’t be used, as it is too stark compared to the other finishes in the home. I’m all about the natural neutral and think a naturally neutral painted kitchen can be quite the stunner. In fact, this was the exact situation with my parents kitchen when I remodeled it a couple of years ago. I used the “Silktassle” paint color from Greenfield Cabinetry for the naturally neutral paint color. My parents had wanted white, but they have oak trim in the home and white cabinetry would’ve felt really out of place in their space.

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Fred: Trending ahead? I love to watch what the trends are doing but I really design to the vernacular of the home; I listen to what the house is saying. No one will probably ever walk into a kitchen I designed and say, “Oh Fred Alsen must’ve designed this.” With that said, I do find the trend of blues in the kitchen pretty interesting. Blues tend to not reflect food well – it just isn’t a color we associate with food in our culture. When was the last time you ate a restaurant with blue décor? (Probably never.) Anyway, I’m excited to see where blues go in the kitchen, specifically navy. Blues started appearing in kitchens, bright blue painted cabinetry for example, a couple of years ago. Recently we are seeing a shift to navy. Everything from the kitchen’s perimeter featuring navy cabinetry with a gray island – to a kitchen featuring white cabinetry on the perimeter and a navy island. My feeling is this is a new twist on white kitchens. Why? White is timeless, and so is navy. We also tend to become braver with our cabinetry color choices in a stronger economy – so between this fact and so many of us are tired of seeing white cabinetry, I’m very curious to see where navy trends.

SRFD: What have you learned from working with the team at the Monogram Design Center in Chicago?

Fred: I love working with the team at the Monogram Design Center in Chicago!  They are very knowledgeable and passionate about their products. It is a win-win for both my clients and me.  I can quickly get the specs and information I need to design the client’s kitchen and then I can send clients into showroom to get first-hand experience how the products work and preform while enjoying lunch or dinner with the Chef on duty!

Thoughts on Empathy

Nancy Hugo, Certified Kitchen Designer and attendee at last week’s Monogram Designer Summit 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky, shared her thoughts about the theme of the conference – Empathy – on her blog, Designers Circle HQ. Take a look and let us know what you think!