Professionals on the 10

What’s better than getting the info straight from the professionals?? Here’s a look at our one-on-one interview with our very first professional..

Monique Varsames –  Owner  and Designer, Moka Designs


Monique designs and selects finishes for today’s homes. With a unique perspective she has the ability to combine classic styles with meaningful  trends.

Check out  what Monique has to say

1) What is the most common mistake a person can make in choosing new finishes for kitchens?
 The biggest mistake people make is choosing finishes that are “Here one day gone tomorrow”. When you are designing a kitchen you want it to be personal for sure, but you also want it to be a functional work and gathering space. Choose a design that will work for your everyday life. Ask yourself, “How will my kitchen layout work with my day to day living? You want to choose finishes that are classic and will stand the test of time. Mixing trends with classic finishes can accomplish the ultimate goal of having a kitchen that is both functional and pleasing to the eye.
2) We are seeing a huge demand for mudrooms and always looking for ways to improve these sought-after spaces. What do you think are some good mudroom ideas?
 Again, people need to really look at how their daily lives work. Do you have kids and how many? Do you need a lot of storage? Do you like open concept feel (cubbies versus closed door storage?  When I design a mudroom built in, I try to meet the needs of many of these questions. I personally like the locker style cubbies with shelves above. The locker style gives flexibility to many storage needs. It allows children (and adults) to have their own designated space. Shelves above can either have door fronts or sometimes I even use natural woven baskets to add texture to the room and the baskets also serve as a storage space and keeps things organized and clutter free. For flooring in a mudroom, I like using a natural stone or Italian porcelain material that will withstand heavy traffic. Travertine or slate tiles are always a good choice.
3) My children’s bathroom always seems to be looking run down. Any ideas for a small renovation to freshen up a kids bathroom?
 Adding a soothing new color to the walls is always the quickest way to freshen up any space.  Regrouting tile, without having to replace it, makes the space feel cleaner and gives it that “New” feel. Adding artwork to the walls and making it a fun, inviting space can also help.
4) My living room is the largest room in the house and ironically the most underused. Any ideas for this space to make it more family friendly?
 Great question. We had this same problem at our own home. It was the only room in the house that we did not use on a daily or even monthly basis. It just sat there and looked “Pretty”. I decided one day that I was just going to turn it into a music room. I brought all the kids musical instruments into the space, gave them access to the piano and changed my attitude about how the space was going to be used. Even though it still is the most formal room in our home, the kids now use it everyday to practice violin, work on the paino or simply  to just have a quiet read. The biggest mistake we all can make, especially with a living room, is that most of the time it just becomes a room that is used for family gatherings or small house parties. We as homeowners set the tone on how a room is going to be used. If you want the more “Formal, used only twice a year room”, then you do what works for you. There is no right or wrong way to use a room.  I just didn’t want to live that way. Life is too short. I want to enjoy the beautiful artwork we have collected over the years, I want my family to enjoy the warm, inviting space. Simply put, its all a matter of function and how we approach the spaces we live in. Adding items or furniture to a space, like a nice wooden chess table with chairs or (in my case musical instruments) can help draw family members together in a space. Make the room personal. Make it inviting…….
5) What are your top three favorite paint colors?

Thats a tough question. There are so many wonderful colors to choose from.

If I had to pick only three then I would say: #1 Iceberg by Benjamin Moore, #2 Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore and #3 Woodlawn Blue also by Benjamin Moore.

Not only is Monique a creative designer but also a super talented vocalist.
Be sure to check out her music and get inspired.
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