How does a kitchen design business survive and thrive more than seven decades? It all started in 1946 with our founder, Merle Kleweno, who had a radical idea — a kitchen should be more than just a place to prepare meals. As we all know, today’s kitchen is the hub of family life and the hot spot for entertaining. Merle’s passion for redefining how kitchens should look and feel is reflected in how Kleweno designers continue to raise the bar for interior design by creating kitchens as rooms to be furnished with art for living.
What is your publishing background?
My father was in printing with GSA as I was growing up and I was able to spend time at his plant. I never met anyone that took so much pride in his job as my father. This was my first introduction to printing.
At the age of 24 I answered an employment ad for an account executive position with Relocating in Kansas City magazine. This company also published Kansas City Homes Gardens. I found that I loved working with small businesses and learning I had a good ear in listening for problems and helping to solve them. I then was asked to help the company expand. My wife and I moved to Las Vegas to launch relocating in Las Vegas magazine during the boom. My first Publisher role. I continued to sharpen my skillset and understanding for Publishing. In Las Vegas my son Evan was born and we wanted to find a way to get back to KC and I was approached by the Ashley group a division of Cahners Publishing, to launch The Kansas City Home Book, a hard cover annual luxury design book. After two years, and a very successful launch, I was asked to come back to KCH&G as Publisher. My life had now come full circle. These experiences and design products I managed and created help formulate what design KC is today.
What is your favorite issue?
Every issue is always exciting. When I pick up the first issue at the printer, it still feels like Christmas every time. However, for me our premier issue will always be my favorite. To take something from concept to actual inception is an amazing feeling, and it was always have a warm spot in my heart!
What is your home’s design style?
I am a minimalist…. I hate clutter (although you can’t tell that from my office always), I even have a hard time putting things on the walls… I like clean and simple, and lots of color.
Where and how do you like to spend time at home?
I absolutely love my primary bedroom, bath, and shower. Not that I spend all my time there, but every morning it makes me happy getting ready for the day.
If you could live anywhere, where and what would your dream home be?
Laguna Beach, CA right on the water. When I lived in Las Vegas we would drive the high dessert several times a year and enjoy Laguna
If you could make your current home better, what would you do?
Raise my basements ceiling so I could have a golf simulator.
What are your best memories of home when growing up?
I was born into an Italian family in Boston. I was raised in East Boston, and my memories of Sunday dinners with my whole family are some of the fondest memories of my life. As a result, I love to entrtain and cook. Growing up, we didn’t have much, but we didn’t do without. My parents were great providers.
Do you have a personal motto or life philosophy?
The World is very round. You get back what you put out. I live and die by that motto.