Meet The ASPIRE HOUSE McLean 2020 Designers: An Exclusive Interview With Jonas Carnemark

Jonas Carnemark is designing two spaces in ASPIRE HOUSE McLean: the kitchen and the master bathroom. While the kitchen featuring black stone counters with white veining focuses on connectivity, the luxurious bathroom leaves the outside world behind in a relaxing home spa environment. Both provide elements of wellness with sleek, modern vibes found in the KONST SieMatic and KONST Union brands. Learn more about what four concepts Jonas always keeps in mind, as well as his other passions, including CARNEMARK design + build and his band, in an exclusive interview with Sherry Moeller.


Rendering of the kitchen designed by Jonas Carnemark in ASPIRE HOUSE McLean. Rendering by Mick Ricereto.

Sherry Moeller: Describe your room at the show house. How did you come up with the concept and what’s the backstory?
Jonas Carnemark: I’m excited to be designing two rooms in the ASPIRE HOUSE: the kitchen and the master bathroom.

The kitchen is all about connectivity—a state of being that has grown all the more important during the days of COVID-19. Never has creating connections to family, friends and the flow of information been more critical to individual well-being. Matte black SieMatic cabinets conceal appliances and pop against the white stone backsplash with striking black veins. The counters—in black stone with white veins—intensify the contrast, while large drawer bases maximize storage and accessibility. Designated work zones, double islands, wider aisles, and a gracious seating area make possible seamless (and socially distanced) interaction between residents and their guests. A 75-inch LED panel basically functions as a big on-wall iPad. But I like to think of it as a super-sized Dick Tracy Watch. Instead of catching criminals, you can virtually zoom in on family and friends, pull up your favorite Epicurious recipe, or watch a how-to video on sous vide—all from your prep island. No matter what the new normal looks like, the connected kitchen will no doubt serve homeowners well for years to come.

In the bathroom, the design centers on the luxury of wellness. More than a home spa, the soothing space elevates everyday rituals by tapping European sources for bath fittings and furniture. A state-of-the-art steam shower from Effegibi promises to renew and relax. The company’s easy-to-install steam generators and slim control panels put steam quality, density, and hygiene, as well as chroma- and aromatherapy, all at the touch of an intuitive screen. Fantini bath fixtures coordinate effortlessly with minimalist Noorth bath furniture, featured together here and in the other bathrooms throughout the Show House. Also from Noorth, the freestanding Azuma tub, flanked by two exotic sculptures, itself resembles a piece of art beneath an expansive window. Materials throughout—coupled with a dramatic groin-vaulted ceiling—amplify the sense of serenity as the chandelier, artwork and accessories complete this welcome respite for water and wellness.


Rendering of the master bathroom designed by Jonas Carnemark in ASPIRE HOUSE McLean. Rendering by Mick Ricereto.

SM: What’s a favorite element you plan to incorporate into your space at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean?
JC: I’m a big fan of The Galley in my SieMatic kitchens. So I’ve outfitted one of two islands in the kitchen with a super-functional 60” Galley workstation. More appliance than sink, the Galley allows designers to choose from various hard-working components to create a custom hub where one can prep, cook, serve, entertain, and clean up—all in one convenient location. How’s that for connectivity?

The Swede in me favors the steam shower in the master bathroom. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to indulge in a handful of crazy-good destination spas. Whether in the BVIs or Canadian Rockies, it’s the steam that gets me every time. As the fog rolls in, so do the memories, transporting me to all of the amazing places where I’ve enjoyed a perfect steam.


With two parallel workstations to keep circulation open, Jonas Carnemark designed this recent kitchen with a wall of light gray SieMatic cabinetry housing a sink, pullout pantry, refrigerator, freezer drawers, dishwasher, and dual ovens. Photo by Anice Hoachlander.

SM: What projects have you done in the past that most resemble or relate in some way to what you plan to design at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean? Or is this a completely different concept?
JC: In a recent kitchen project, a roomy addition helped us create a modern chef’s kitchen for a McLean couple eager for more space to cook and entertain. Instead of one large island, we opted for two parallel workstations to keep circulation open. A wall of light gray SieMatic cabinetry houses a sink, pullout pantry, refrigerator, freezer drawers, dishwasher, and dual ovens. At one end, false doors open to reveal a walk-in pantry, while a dedicated bar with wine fridge occupies the other end. Two cozy seating areas invite guests to settle in and socialize nearby.

We had a lot of fun with a whole-house remodel for a couple in suburban Virginia, too. In their master bath, a frameless steam shower glows against a marble wall, with its requisite plumbing hidden behind a contrasting limestone water tower. A silky, smooth freestanding tub stands like sculpture beneath a picture window, direct set for clean lines visibility, while bold modern art finds a comfortable frame in a nearby carved-out niche.


Jonas Carnemark designed a master bath in a Virginia home with a frameless steam shower and a freestanding tub that stands like sculpture beneath a picture window. Photo by Anice Hoachlander.

SM: Have you participated in other show houses and why?
JC: Yes. Back in 2009, we had the pleasure to design the kitchen in the CharityWorks GreenHouse, the region’s first carbon-neutral show house. It was a great opportunity to partner with local designer Barry Dixon, with whom we’ve now completed a dozen kitchens. SieMatic cabinetry was a natural match for the project, given the German manufacturer’s longstanding commitment to sustainability.

SM: What’s next for you design wise—are there some projects you’re particularly excited about? Are there any projects you’d love to tackle, sort of a design bucket list?
JC: We’re looking forward to pushing on the health and well-being concept, not only in the bathroom, but also throughout the house. Having worked at the forefront of accessibility and sustainability in years past, we look forward to helping homeowners find innovative ways to live healthy and connected lives in the post-pandemic world.

Proceeds for ASPIRE HOUSE: McLean will benefit the ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME Diversity in Design Scholarship Fund. Click here to learn more, and purchase tickets for the event; opening August 21 through September 14, 2020.


About the Designer | Jonas Carnemark wears a lot of hats. He puts on a SieMatic cap as owner of the region’s exclusive showroom for the luxury German cabinetry. He dons a KONST hat to source the best in European bath products. And he grabs a well-worn CARNEMARK cap for the design + build firm he founded 33 years ago. Turns out the fixation blurs into his off hours. The Swedish-born designer also has dedicated hats for the aspiring home chef, the extreme skier, and the self-taught audio engineer. Last but never least, Jonas sports a black porkpie hat to perform with HüsBand, his four-member band known for its original lyrics and non-derivative pop rock sound. Whatever hat Jonas wears, he keeps the same four concepts in mind: function, sustainability, livability, and the Scandinavian philosophy of hygge. Fans find ample evidence for each design credo in his work and in his play. For more info, go to CARNEMARK design + build, KONST SieMatic, KONSTUnion, and HüsBand.


Sherry Moeller is a contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine, see more of her work here.

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