Designer Mick de Giulio is about to achieve rock-star status with the publication of “Kitchen Centric.”
It’s a book he describes as “part art book, part fantasy and part field guide.”
Written with former Chicago Tribune reporter Karen Klages Grace, the book features page after page of drool-worthy photos of de Giulio’s favorite kitchens. On May 5, de Giulio treated Winnetka Women’s Club members to a sneak peek at the book during a launch party for the group’s annual housewalk.
“Kitchen design is all about making the functional beautiful,” de Giulio told the crowd, as one gorgeous kitchen after another flashed across the screen to “oohs” and “aahs.”
And de Giulio’s kitchens are certainly all beautiful, each in their own unique way. The book features a diversity of kitchens—18, to be exact—in settings that range from a rustic barn in Lake Forest to a sky-high penthouse in Miami Beach.
Quirky details and signature pieces, such as a stainless steel library ladder that slides along the pantry of a narrow urban kitchen, a hand-carved sink from Italy, or a pull-out cart in a butler’s pantry that rolls to easily serve guests on an adjacent deck, are a passion of de Giulio’s.
Called “one of the country’s leading innovators in kitchen design” by Bon Appetit, de Giulio believes that kitchens are more central to American homes than ever, and that kitchens today reflect the personalities of their owners more than ever.
“We’ve been going through a period of personalized designs that reflect the client,” de Giulio says. “The preference is that someone wants more countertop, more storage, or they like the color blue. But kitchen design can also be more, like infusing the essence of people into the space. That’s one of the challenges. Say your client is elegant, or conversely, laid back. How do you make that tangible?”
De Giulio sees his role as designer as being a leader—and a follower.
“Once your client is going in a good direction—it’s all about not railroading the design into what you want and what you are. It’s not about me,” he says. ”And you can see each client’s personality in the result.”
One example that shines through is the Lake Forest barn. The owners wanted to retain the 3-horse stalls, and although the space would have been more functional without the stalls, de Giulio understood that the client wanted the authentic feel. And the result was spectacular.
What’s next in kitchen design?
“More and more people are completely eliminating dining rooms from the design of their new homes,” he says. “And instead, they are incorporating both formal and informal dining areas in their kitchens. People don’t use dining rooms to the degree they could be, so they decide to allocate the space to something they’re using day-to-day.”