Author: Megan

Hi, I’m Megan and I randomly ended up in Louisville, Kentucky, about 15 years ago. Never expecting to stay in this beach-lacking both Southern and Northern city, I have grown to truly love my unexpected home.

Designer Samantha Oaks’ Fashion Career Led Her Straight into Interior Design

Written by Kim Mays, Monogram content strategist

Samantha Oaks used her fashion experience to design the rooms in her home out of necessity. “I built a custom home a few years ago and the builder didn’t have a designer,” she said. So, Oaks decided she knew her style best and took on the role herself. “Designing for me came organically. I came from a fashion industry background and was always inspired by color, shapes, and mixing materials,” Oaks explained. Working with her builder, she was able to design her ideal home: “We created the most beautiful space together, and I fell in love with the build and design process,” she said. That love became her new career six years ago and in 2015, she started Lucien Porter Design.

Oaks looks to many fashion icons for home inspiration. “For me it all starts with fashion: Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Helmut Lang, and Christian LaCroix just to name a few,” she said. Other designers Oaks admires are also inspired by fashion and she sees that in their work. “I find elements of fashion in designs by Martin Lawrence Bullard, Curtis Elmy, and Powell Architects,” she added.

She loves bringing together unconventional details in her designs. Said Oaks, “I lean towards simple and clean with a little character like doors from the late 1800s and adding a contemporary twist. Each room will have a subtle wow factor but still maintain an overall flow.”

For kitchen designs, Oaks likes to use a variety of elements for texture and color. “I love mixing materials! One of my favorites is incorporating reclaimed wood in shelving or countertops,” she said. Oaks is also a fan of Monogram appliances; particularly the Advantium oven, which comes in handy for busy families. “I love recommending the convenience and function of the Advantium,” she said.

In fact, Oaks has an Advantium oven at home that she uses a lot. “I use my Monogram  Advantium oven every day,” she added, “It’s great for large meals or baking or just cooking for one.” Oaks also loves her Monogram range’s griddle feature, which she frequently uses for “gooey grilled cheese sandwiches and Sunday morning pancakes.”

Said Oaks, “If I weren’t a designer, I’d probably… be a chef. I cook anything from crusted red snapper in the oven to lobster paella and homemade chocolate chip cookies, too.” We’d love to be a guest at Samantha’s table just to taste all the delicious dishes she creates in her stunning kitchen with her Monogram appliances.

Pattern Addict and Designer Drew McGukin

Written by Kim Mays, content strategist for Monogram

A part-time college gig selling real estate in Atlanta brought Drew McGukin into the world of home ownership. “I fell in love with the whole process—begged my broker to hire me as her assistant. 10 years later, I had built a huge business selling 70+ homes a year,” said McGukin. That’s how he realized he had a keen eye for space. In 2008, he took a break from real estate to follow his new passion as he enrolled in The New York School of Interior Design. Now, he’s the lead designer in his own firm, which he started in New York in October 2010. McGukin also recently joined the Monogram Designer Council, where he shares ideas and suggestions with the Monogram team and other designers on the council.

As a self-proclaimed “pattern addict,” McGukin is known for his bold choices in home design. As for kitchens, he feels that bold choices should be expressed through use of unique materials. “I recently wallpapered walls, cabinetry, and my refrigerator in a chic Surfaces by David Bonk vinyl. It’s easy to clean and adds a nice layer,” he said. The island in this kitchen was designed out of copper so the natural patina will change over time, adding further depth and color to the kitchen.

“I also love thoughtful decoration in kitchens,” said McGukin, “people often forget to add artwork, mix in beautiful shapes, and accessories.” After installing a small art piece as cabinet hardware on a cabinet over his refrigerator, McGukin says “Who says we have to use a basic cabinet pull?”

If the kitchen is the “soul” of the home, designers need to capture the soul of the client and build a design around that in much the same way McGukin has done with his kitchen. He recommends a two-fold approach:

  1. Make strong decisions and thoughtfully design an envelope around timelessness and function.
  2. Allow your inner decorator to enjoy some freedom in the layers, color, texture, and overall mood of the space.

One big mistake people make in kitchen design according to McGukin is “trying to tick all the boxes.” Instead of trying to include every cool bell and whistle you like from other major kitchens, step back and try to make a list of what is absolutely important. Sometimes you have to let go of something you want to fit in something you really need—like nixing a second wall oven to fit in that Monogram Advantium oven.

McGukin loves how Monogram delivers products with a modern aesthetic that are also reliable and amazingly functional. “It’s inspiring to see how beautifully Monogram is integrating design and a designer’s vision into the basic tenants of their products,” says McGukin. He also feels that his clients enjoy Monogram’s breadth of options and deliver greater value than other luxury brands.

As for his time on the Designer Council, McGukin loves all the people and the team from Monogram. He also has a solid plan for his tenure: “I hope to be a strong voice for actual, true, good-old-fashioned interior design on the Monogram Designer Council.” We’re happy to have you aboard and thoroughly enjoy hearing your ideas, Drew.

Mid-Century Modern Renovation by Studio 513 Architects

Photographs © Greg Benson

Written by Brad Barker, AIA, LEED AP, Studio: 513 Architects, LLC

I did what most architects do, Graduate architecture school, obtain my license and buy a house that needs to be fixed up. Where else could I explore my creative talent early in my career? I found a one- of-a-kind mid-century modern house in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Much of the town saw a boom in the 60’s and 70’s, but most of the mid-century modern style was incorporated into restaurants and office buildings. The house had been changed over the years and did not reflect its former style. My goal was to bring it back to its former glory while incorporating touches of current design. I used the main living space to accentuate the details I fell in love with, such as the open floor plan, post and beam structure, and great views to the lush wooded lot.

Photographs © Greg Benson

Before and during architecture school I worked in a restaurant as a cook for eight years. I learned that having good quality appliances was key to cooking good food. So, when I was selecting appliances,  Monogram had the clean line style I was looking for with the true tested name of GE behind it. It was a perfect fit for my kitchen.

Photographs © Greg Benson

 

Monogram Elevates Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival

This past weekend, Monogram sponsored the Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, for the third time. They impressed attendees by highlighting Monogram’s luxury appliances and dynamic chefs alongside fabulous wine, food and an exquisite ocean view.

As the sponsor of the Culinary Stage, Monogram shone by highlighting its induction cooktop, wall ovens, column refrigerators and microwave drawer. Chef Jon Liddell of the Monogram Design Center kicked off the weekend by cooking live on The Rhode Show from the Culinary Stage. Chef Justin Chapple, Culinary Director At Large for Food & Wine, also partnered with Monogram this year and hosted live cooking demonstrations from the Culinary Stage during the festival.

Additionally, Chef Justin and Chef Jon flipped artisanal pizzas in the Monogram Hearth Oven, keeping attendees lined up all weekend for more.

 

Justin Chapple to Headline Monogram’s Tasting Tent at Newport Food & Wine Fest

Written by Kim Mays, Monogram content strategist

If you haven’t already made plans, you should join us in attending the yearly Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival on September 19 through the 22. The event features world-class wines and award-winning chefs mingled with the extraordinary beauty of the Newport Mansions including The Breakers, Marble House, and Rosecliff. The festival is sponsored by Food & Wine magazine, and this year Monogram Appliances sponsors the culinary stage. On that stage, Food & Wine culinary director at large and amazing chef, writer and video star Justin Chapple will create some delicious dishes while dishing out some of his Mad Genius Tips to attendees.

Chapple has been featured in People, The Oprah Magazine, and Real Simple, and has been twice nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award for his work as host of the popular video series Mad Genius Tips. Prior to joining Food & Wine, he was a cook at a fine French restaurant, Allegretti, which has since closed. When interviewed for Save Room for Design, Chapple admitted missing restaurant work in general, but loving that he has managed to make a fulfilling career in the food industry.

As a kid in the days before Food Network and Cooking channel, Chapple “loved watching Jacques Pépin, Martin Yan, and the Two Fat Ladies on TV.” These classic TV chefs inspired him to cook at home, but it was a certain family member who gave him the impetus to go into the field fulltime. “Really, my Grandma Barbara taught me to love food enough to make a career out of it. She was an outstanding cook and would create incredible meals practically out of thin air,” said Chapple.

That love of feeding family and friends is one of his favorite aspects of cooking. “Nothing gives me more satisfaction than knowing someone is enjoying one of my creations,” Chapple said.

When it comes to developing his own recipes, he’s often inspired by other restaurants. Though he loves eating at different places and trying new foods, he sometimes only needs to read about a dish for inspiration. “Believe it or not, I read menus even if I don’t get to a restaurant for a meal,” Chapple said.

Chapple is very excited to attend the Newport Food & Wine Festival—“I definitely can’t wait to see these mansions that everyone is telling me about,” he said. He is eager to make pizzas and more in the Monogram tasting tent, where he knows he’ll get to meet many people attending the events. “Hopefully, they won’t mind me taking lots of selfies,” he quipped.

Though he wouldn’t give us his secret recipes in advance, he did admit that he will be demonstrating some Mad Genius Tips during his cooking demonstrations. One in particular will be about how to poach eggs in advance, “yes, it’s actually possible!” Chapple said.

In the Monogram Hearth Oven, Chapple will be making a summery pizza with turkey sausage, Brussels sprouts, and pesto. “It’s so yummy and believe it or not, in the Monogram Hearth Oven, it takes only two minutes to cook!”

We will be attending the Newport Food & Wine Festival to enjoy the many delicious wines and foods as well as to take in the beauty of the mansion homes. But our favorite spot will definitely be in the tasting tent with Justin Chapple and we hope you will join us!

A Modernist at Heart

Written by Kim Mays, content strategist for Monogram

A modernist at heart, Nicholas Moriarty found a way to satisfy his intellectual and creative sides: interior design. As a child, he “spent countless hours watching This Old House,” which delved into the ways an older space could be renovated to become something more modern and spectacular. It prepared him for his ultimate career path, where he shines among his peers.

Bucktown living room designed by Nicolas Moriarty

“I’m a modernist at heart,” Moriarty said. His favorite design periods are Bauhaus and Art Deco, which were both very forward-thinking at the time of their popularity, and aspects of both are very relevant today. “The design principles of these eras never really faded away—they just adapted,” said Moriarty.

In that vein of thought, Moriarty feels that the new Monogram Minimalist Collection speaks to his design aesthetic and epitomizes the modernist principles. The elimination of handles and knobs wherever possible harkens to the Modernist principle where removal of ornamentation and excessive decoration was important to the style. Modernism also brought forth the ideal that craftsmanship was of utmost importance, which Monogram also takes very seriously. Each appliance is meticulously engineered to function as fabulously as it looks. And to Moriarty, they’re worth every penny: “The amazing cost to quality ratio [for Monogram appliances] is second to none in the industry.”

Monogram Minimalist Collection single wall oven launching in 2020

When designing modern, upscale kitchens, Moriarty feels that balancing functionality with aesthetic can be quite challenging. “As a home cook, I inherently know the ins and outs of a properly functioning kitchen’ sometimes minimal design is at odds with this,” he said. To ensure the cooking space functions as well as it looks, his team spends a great deal of time guiding their clients through the entire design process so they can provide a kitchen that looks sleek, but still provides the right tools and space for culinary creativity.

Moriarty hopes that as a designer, he can engage with brands like Monogram to pass on his insights. “I want to help push the industry forward in any way I can.” Being on the Monogram Designer Council is one way he is sharing his ideas and gathering input from other designers. Moriarty loves “the comradery that exists between all of the designers,” and said “I truly appreciate how receptive Monogram is as a company to constructive criticism. They want to make the industry better with us, which I think speaks volumes about who they are as a brand.”

We agree, Nicholas. And we look forward to learning more about what our designers want and need through their investment in the Designer Council.

Monogram Designer Council – Caroline Torchin

Florida designer and Monogram Designer Council member Caroline Torchin creates modern, luxury spaces for her clients, which include both vacation homes and permanent residences. She believes “the kitchen is the heart of the home,” and for good reason—it tends to be the place where meals are shared, entertaining happens, and family congregates.