by Donna De Palma
Interior designer, Mary Anne Brugnoni, owner of Brugnoni Design, went from graphic designer to interior designer after she redesigned the logo and marketing materials for one of her top clients.
“I created a new corporate identity for the accounting firm, DeJoy, Knauf & Blood, ten years ago. Every time I visited their office, I’d comment on how outdated their lobby was. The best way I can describe it is shabby 80’s. The lobby just didn’t reflect what a great company it was. Finally, one day, my client asked me to redesign the space—and their conference room and employee lounge—to complement the rebranding,” Brugnoni says.
According to the designer, it was the most fun she’d ever had on a project. She consulted one of her clients at a local college, hired a business coach to come up with a plan to achieve her new goal, then headed back to school. In 2012, with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and a brand new associate degree in Interior Design, Brugnoni set her sites on kitchen and bath remodeling. After a two-year stint at a bath and kitchen showroom, she developed enough experience to go solo last year.
Self-employed for more than 25 years, Brugnoni has switched from page layout to room layout and space planning, which she says, is one of her favorite aspects of interior design. “I’m just working on a larger canvas,” Brugnoni says, and her latest kitchen remodel for an 80’s California contemporary, shows her skill and design savvy.
The goal of this kitchen remodel was to replace outdated white laminate wood-trimmed cabinets, improve flow and update fixtures. “This kitchen had great bones. Picture a cedar ceiling with six skylights. One-third of the ceiling is vaulted,” Brugnoni says.
Existing hardwoods in a warm neutral tone meant this room featured lots of wood. “The challenge was to select wood for new cabinets without feeling as though you were in a houseboat.” Brugnoni suggested two-toned cabinets with lower cabinets from quartersawn oak to match features in an adjacent family room and creamy white upper cabinets to match the paint color of the kitchen walls.
She specified different pulls for upper and lower cabinets: dark copper for lower cabinets and a brushed nickel for uppers. “This kitchen had a ‘Bermuda triangle’ of appliances, three separate pantries, and an existing island that had the wrong dimensions for the room.” The designer moved the frig into one of the pantries and made the island longer and slimmer to create the impression of a more spacious kitchen.
She specified a slate backsplash in grey tones to keep the look contemporary. The overall neutral color scheme draws attention to granite selections: Yellow Rain granite tops the island with perimeter countertops finished in White Kashmir granite.
A curved, brushed nickel faucet by Hamat and deep Blanco sink in cream add organic elements to this modern redesign. Brugnoni says, faucets are “the jewelry of a room,” and should make a bold design statement.
“When selecting hardware or fixtures or any design element, it’s good to ask yourself, do you want a monotone look or are you seeking contrast and the drama that provides. That will guide your color choices and the materials you choose,” she says.
An existing desk in the kitchen was updated with new cabinetry. The designer repurposed a rectangular stool; its seat reclaimed from a vintage 1940’s sewing machine.
A door separating the kitchen and dining room was replaced with a pocket door, circa 1930’s, from Historic House Parts in Rochester, New York. “This find didn’t even need refurbishing, just new hardware. It’s one of my client’s favorite design choices,” “she says.
The designer, who’s comfortable making color selections after 25 years as a graphic designer, also likes to prepare drawings for her installers. “It’s always better to have project drawings in front of you, even when laying tile, so there are no questions as to how the finished design should look.”
Brugnoni’s design philosophy is simple. “I like to ensure that the design of your new kitchen or bath will be timeless. Trends are just that, trends. Good design is a synergy of aesthetic, function and imagination.”
Contact Brugnoni Design at [email protected], or at 585.264.9964.