Category: Designer Council

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.

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

The Monogram Designer Council was created to serve as the consultative voice for our brand decisions and showcase Monogram’s commitment to the design community. Comprised of 18 designers from over 10 cities, we brought the Monogram Designer Council together to cultivate a vision on everything from the design of our products to the experience of ownership. Each designer’s expertise will help Monogram realize timeless design trends and available opportunities.

 

 

Sleek, Modern Florida Kitchen Seamlessly Integrates with Monogram Appliances

In Boca Raton, Florida, designer Caroline Torchin creates modern, luxury spaces for her clients, which include both vacation homes and permanent residences. Torchin 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. She also is a big fan of Monogram appliances and recently was named a member of our Monogram Designer Council, where she and more than a dozen other designers from around the country will meet and help influence upcoming Monogram designs and features.

Torchin recommends Monogram appliances to many of her clients because she sees how it ties her goals together. “My main goal is to give function as well as aesthetics, and I think Monogram nails it,” Torchin said. “I think the efficiency, the speed, the technology, is on point.”

 

Her latest kitchen design featured Monogram appliances for a condominium client who enjoys cooking, and who sought a modern, timeless design for their kitchen. Though her designs tend to lean toward rustic chic, she loves how this kitchen features a bit more glam and shine. The cabinet finish is in dual tones of acrylic gloss white and gloss oak. The wood grain brings warmth to the kitchen along with the Pompeii quartz countertops in White Macaubas, which feature veins of a natural, warm gray.

The seamless countertops were quite a challenge to install in this 7th floor condominium. The elevator was only 8-feet tall, and the long countertop was 11-feet in length. After the client specifically requested keeping the countertop seamless, the only option was to hire a crane company to hoist the 11’x4’ quartz countertop up to the client’s balcony on a rather windy day. Thankfully, the installation went off without a hitch and the kitchen looks just as sleek as the countertops.

 

The walls were painted using Benjamin Moore Decorators White, and the flooring features 24” x 48” porcelain tiles, which hold up well to traffic. Each piece of the design flows seamlessly into the next, which is exactly what Torchin loves about the space. “The flush installation of the appliances complements the sleekness of my design,” Torchin said. The highlight of this is the Monogram integrated panel refrigerator clad in matching gloss oak to blend with the cabinetry. It’s unobtrusive and elevates the design to a whole new level.

We are thrilled with the look of this modern kitchen and are excited to be a big influence on Caroline Torchin’s designs. We look forward to working with Caroline and the others on the Monogram Designer Council this year.

 

Modernism Week Condo Kitchen

When interior designer Staci Munic bought her condo in the historic William Cody Tennis Club Homes, she learned the community would be added to the Modernism Week home tours—if she could get her home remodeled in time. Challenge accepted.

The home was built in 1966 by influential desert modern architect William Francis Cody. It had been through a remodel in the 1980s, so Munic wanted to bring it up to date while paying homage to its modernism roots. After many challenges, including putting in a large steel I beam so she could enlarge her kitchen without the ceiling crashing down, her space was on the tour and ready for guests to “ooh and ahh” over her smart, modern take on mid-century design for 2019.

The former galley kitchen is now a bright (thanks to a generous skylight), open space, ready for the former-chef-turned-designer to entertain her friends and family. “I need to breathe in my kitchen, and I need to be able to interact with my family and friends while I am preparing meals and cocktails,” said Munic of her new space. “When it’s just me at home, it makes me so happy to be able to view and take in my entire living space from behind my kitchen counter,” she added. Indeed, the kitchen design flows well into the living room—the entire condo is painted in Edward Dunn Whisper and the flooring throughout is 33” square porcelain tile that looks remarkably like terrazzo, which brings a consistency and seamlessness to the whole space.

Munic’s relaxed, casual chic style can be felt through all of her designs, including her own. She feels that great lighting is a key element to each of her designs, and she takes pride in her ability to provide a well-lit, extremely useable space. The large skylight in the center of her kitchen brings in the cheery Palm Springs sun and extends the warmth of her wood cabinetry, which includes her custom panel refrigerator. On top of her cabinets, Munic used Silestone White Zeus Extreme for durability and brightness. Her backsplash features tiles in a warm gray.

With her culinary school background, Munic loves to cook, so her full Monogram kitchen brings function along with its aesthetics. “I am infatuated with my induction cooktop and my Advantium oven,” said Munic. “I’m not sure which one I love more, but they are jealous of each other, for sure. And don’t get me started on my dishwasher,” she added. Munic also loves the smart kitchen technology provided by the WiFi connected appliances. “What I think I love most about my Monogram appliances is that they are all made in America… by people who generally care about making people’s lives better through engineering high quality, performance appliances,” she said.

Staci Munic’s 2019 nod to mid-century modern design shows that you can keep the feel of the 1960s while bringing your kitchen into the 21st century. Monogram is proud to be a part of her home and excited to work with Munic and other designers on the 2019 Monogram Designer Council.