Tag: Monogram Design Center

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

Now Open in Denver

In October we opened a new Monogram Design Center at Specialty Appliance in Denver, Colorado. We interviewed Christina Dragota, Monogram Lead Product Specialist, to learn a little more about our new showroom.

SRFD: Tell us about the space.

Christina: It’s like a mini version of our Monogram Design Center in Chicago. People love that space because it not only helps them visualize what their kitchen could look like, but more importantly, what their home could feel like. We wanted to emulate that feeling, but on a more local level, so we decided to partner with Specialty Appliance and create a space that incorporates an innovative yet beautiful design.

SRFD: Why Denver?

Christina: It’s a great city that includes such a diverse manner of living where you can choose to be in a loft downtown, a cabin in the mountains, or both! The real estate business is thriving in Denver, so much so, that in this last year, home builders have increased production by 22 percent just to try to keep up with the incoming population. We wanted to tap into this growing market to really showcase what the Monogram brand is about and build a showroom where people can gather inspiration while learning about our products.

SRFD: What’s something there that is unique?

Christina: We have the first ever indoor, electric Pizza Oven, that requires no venting, NOW installed in a flush application (we don’t even have this in our Chicago location yet). No one has this technology available, let alone installed in this style, which is why we wanted to showcase it live. This allows people to come in our space to see, feel and use this exciting product. Seeing is believing- and we wanted people to take part in that experience.

SRFD: What else will be available in this space?

Christina: We offer cooking demonstrations with our on-site Chef and Design Center Manager so that customers are able to get an overall understanding of whichever products their interested in. When dealing with appliance technology, it’s important that the customer feels confident using it. Whether it’s using an induction cook top for the first time or wanting to perfect your Sous-Vide skills; we offer different types of demonstrations tailored to our customers’ interests. This way, they feel comfortable asking our Chef questions while enjoying meals prepared on our products.

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Designer Profile: Garrison Hullinger

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 Garrison Hullinger with Garrison Hullinger Interior Design based in Portland, Oregon.

SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Garrison: When I was a kid, my father worked for my uncle, who was a custom home builder. My brother and I would get dragged along to the job sites and I was always fascinated during lunch time to watch them draw out plans on napkins. That interest in remodeling and design has been a part of my entire adult life. My husband and I have remodeled numerous homes over the years, and many times I would get asked by friends and neighbors to help them with their design projects. I was always reluctant to help others, knowing I didn’t have the formal training. I finally took the dive in 2010 and started my design firm in the attic of my home and hired a young lady who had been laid off from a huge firm during the great recession. She had the technical skills and I had the ideas. I hired three more part-time employees and finally, neighbors and others could hire me for their design work.

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

Garrison: I’m really excited about a remodel project that we’re doing for a couple who bought the home a few years ago. The home was built in 1971 by Bob Rummer, whose homes are influenced by the Joe Eichler homes of Northern California. The home has a central covered atrium and all the rooms connect to the central core of the home, bringing a lot of daylight into the home. The owners have asked us to bring the home into the twenty-first century. We’re expanding the master closet, updating the bathrooms, creating a laundry niche (with doors off the hallway) and a completely new design for the kitchen. Amid all this change, we have made a very conscious decision to make sure none of the original concrete floors throughout the entire home are touched.

SRFD: A trend you’re over?

Garrison: I’d really like to see the accent wall in a room go away, though I don’t mind a feature wall. I’d much rather see someone go the extra mile and add wallpaper, shiplap, or reclaimed wood to a wall than simply paint it an obscure color they found on a paint chip at the hardware store.

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Garrison: Mixing metals. I’m so happy that clients are really understanding my desire to mix metals in a space – if everything is brushed chrome you’re more likely to hate it in a few years, but if you allow me to mix in some black, polished chrome, and even a little copper it will stay fresh much longer and won’t leave a time stamp on the project.

SRFD: What did you learn during the Monogram Designer Training Session in Chicago?

Garrison: I learned so many great things about cooking with induction cooktops while attending the Monogram Designer Training session. I was able to cook on the induction cooktop and see how much faster it heats up than the gas range and how much easier it is to regulate the temperature. It was so intuitive – and that’s saying a lot for someone who doesn’t cook much. Thank you again for the opportunity to spend several days in your gorgeous showroom in Chicago and to learn from the Monogram team.

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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!

Chef Jon: Sausage-ologist

Written by Georgie Vetter, Product Specialist at the Monogram Design Center

Monogram Design Center’s Chef Jon was in the kitchen this week making Nuremberg sausage, a traditional German bratwurst, from scratch for a delicious big game party today. Having grown up hunting with his family in Northern Michigan, Jon is a pro in all things meat related. Making sausage always brings Jon back home. He typically makes different types of homemade sausage a couple of times a year. Luckily, the Chicago team was able to witness the process and we learned that homemade sausage is fairly easy to make. Not to mention, much better for you.

First things first: safety and sanitization. Jon’s number one rule for making sausage is to keep everything cold. If there is any down time during the process, whether you’re taking a break or whipping up another batch, keeping your meat in the refrigerator is going to prevent bacteria from growing and spreading. Keeping the meat cold will also prevent the fats from rendering, which will be useful in the grinding process. He also recommends wearing gloves during preparation, this makes for a quicker process in general and not having to be concerned with having raw meat all over your hands.

Cuts of meat: Jon’s recipe calls for brisket, pork shoulder and belly.

Seasoning: Jon’s recipe calls for: salt, ground white pepper, ground mace (the aril that covers the nutmeg seed), ground nutmeg, and marjoram. Pretty simple!

Preparation:

Step 1: cube the meat into 1- inch pieces.

Step 2: Season your meat. Seasoning meat before grinding is important because during the grinding process, the different cuts of meat and seasoning will be combined more thoroughly if they have been mixed together once already before grinding.

Step 3: Grind your sausage using a meat grinder twice. Next, you are ready for casing!

Chef Jon hard at work making Nuremberg sausage at the Chicago Monogram Design Center.

Chef Jon hard at work making Nuremberg sausage at the Chicago Monogram Design Center.

Casing the sausage: Jon used natural casings sourced from a local Chicago market that were packed and cured in salt. Sausage casings can be tough to find in certain areas, so you can always order good quality casings online. Before stuffing, you must soak the cured casings in water for about 30 minutes. Jon uses a countertop tool made specifically for stuffing the casings. Alternatively, collagen casings are easily found online too.

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What to do with Nuremberg Sausage: Chef Jon says the best way to prepare a Nuremberg sausage is to heat it up in a frying pan with some butter, whip up (or purchase!) some sauerkraut, and serve on a toasted bun.

 Yum. Something tells me tonight’s gathering at Chef Jon’s is unbeatable!

Abt Inspiration Studio Opening

Written by Christina Dragota, Monogram Lead Product Specialist

Abt is the nation’s largest single-store retailer of electronics and appliances in the country, showcasing over 100,000 square feet of numerous products to choose from. Located in Glenview, Illinois, they are famous for being a one-stop shop, spanning from kitchen appliances to home entertainment systems. Already well-known within the industry, Abt decided to outdo themselves yet again with their Inspiration Studio.

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Bob Abt’s vision was “to create a completely unique and unexpected space that showcases the best luxury appliance brands available and exposes Abt’s customers to innovations in kitchen design.” In order to do so, Bob contacted colleague and internationally recognized designer, Mick De Giulio, who owns de Giulio Kitchen Design. Since the pair has worked together for over 25 years, “Bob gave Mick total artistic freedom to bring his vision to life through Mick’s unique style and creative eye.” The additional 10,000 square feet, located in the loft area of Abt’s famous atrium, features “twelve interconnected spaces with each devoted to a particular manufacturer, showcasing its own style.”

photo2 Monogram showcased its own style by displaying 22 of our unique products spread throughout the vignette, varying from our champagne-flushed induction cooktop to the commercial-modeled French door wall oven.

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In 2013, Monogram originally debuted our Design Center in downtown Chicago located within the Merchandise Mart, and continues to hold training, demonstrations and overall product experiences. Having another Monogram display within Abt’s Inspiration Studio, opens up more possibilities to those not living in Chicago but who still want the opportunity to explore new kitchen concepts.

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Sadly, Bob Abt never had the chance to see his idea come to life since he passed away in 2015, but his memory lives on throughout his family and his employees. He took a small family-owned business which started in 1936 and turned it into something bigger than what anyone could have imagined. “We named the space the Inspiration Studio because Dad was an inspiration to the entire staff at Abt who respected him not just as a boss, but as a mentor,” says Mike Abt.

Monogram is excited to be a part of what the Abt brand stands for and what the future holds.

Designer Profile: Richard T. Anuszkiewicz

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! Lead Product Specialist Christina Dragota interviewed Richard T. Anuszkiewicz, Executive Director of the Kitchen and Bath Division for Alt Breeding Schwarz Architects in Annapolis, Maryland.

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Christina: How did you first get into interior design?

Richard: Art and design have always been a natural passion of mine since I was young. I found my love for residential architecture and interiors when I received my first Architectural Digest in sixth grade!

Christina: What drives your inspiration for design?

Richard: I 100% believe in the idea of holistic inspiration. The idea that inspiration is around us everyday. The way a song can evoke emotions or the color of something in nature. I am always mindful of connecting with these synchronicities. The world is full of endless inspiration.  

Christina: After your recent visit to the Monogram Design Center in Chicago, what is your favorite Monogram appliance?

Richard: The Monogram 30″ Fully Integrated Glass-Door Refrigerator is so smart!  When fully integrated, the freezer drawer aligns perfectly with adjacent cabinetry, the convertible lower drawer provides users with functionality to best fit their needs and the glass door refrigeration is such a fun conversation piece.

Christina: What advice do you have for someone who is just getting into the interior design world?

Richard: Find your niche. For me, I love interior design but specifically luxury kitchens are my specialty. Narrowing your path at first will help you stay focused and can accelerate your career. That path will naturally widen as time progresses.  

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Christina: How did the NKBA 30 Under 30 help shape you in your career, how has your career changed since being in 30 Under 30?

Richard: The 30 Under 30 program was a milestone moment and a phenomenal platform to springboard from. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) as a whole has been instrumental in my career. Getting involved as a design student opened my eyes up to the Kitchen and Bath industry very early on. I have met so many fantastic people along the way, and specifically have a special bond with the “30U30 Fam.” These industry relationships mean so much to me. I am very honored for the opportunities I have received since being a part of the program.

Christina: What advice do you have for the 2016 30 Under 30 group?

Richard: Pay it forward! The NKBA is putting great efforts to empower the next generation of industry professionals. It’s important to engage and get others involved as well. There is a great synergy when connecting with your peers who share the same drive. Invest your time and it can open many doors!

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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.