Designer brings kitchens front and center
Mick de Guilio's designs include a tiered sink system with a sliding removable cutting board that doubles as a drying rack, knife sharpener and dish towel rack. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Mick De Giulio’s Orecchiette con Broccoli
A typical Pugliese simple pasta is perfect to serve for entertaining or as a simple but elegant meal for two.
1 pound orecchiette
1 pound broccoli
4 ounces feta cheese
5 ounces Parmesan cheese
5 garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt/pepper to taste
Chop broccoli and steam or boil with lemon juice. Lightly sauté sliced garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Cook orechiette to al dente, and place in large bowl. Add broccoli, garlic, remaining olive oil and cheeses. Mix well.
Serve with a red wine such as Chianti or Primitivo, a regional classic.
Updated: September 27, 2012 8:42AM
Until 20 or 25 years ago, homes centered on a family or great room.
The kitchen was tucked away in the back. Then something happened. Cooking got hot and kitchens assumed a more central location in our homes and in our lives.
Today’s homes are likely to revolve around the kitchen, and that’s exactly how Mick De Giulio of de Giulio kitchen design in Wilmette believes they should be.
“People have come to realize that we like it (the kitchen); we live there, why not make it the center of our lives,” he said. “Twenty years ago kitchens were second place, acoustics never worked too well — the small kitchen next to the vaulted ceiling of a great room.
“Now we’re looking at kitchens not separate from living space but part of it.”
De Giulio, a Kenilworth resident, designs kitchens all over the world, from an old, Italian villa to a Miami Beach condo. Over the summer he was selected to design the Kitchen of the Year for “House Beautiful” magazine at Rockefeller Center in New York City.
De Giulio’s kitchens are designed to blend seamlessly into living spaces. Sinks with unique offset drains seem more sculptural than functional; refrigerators resemble cabinetry and are recessed into the wall, camouflaging their utilitarianism. Sliding cupboard doors of stone are cantilevered to open smoothly, cleverly belying their practical function as “appliance garages.”
When he starts the design process, he tries to capture the essence of his clients, using what he calls “personality driven design.”
He creates kitchens that reflect the owners and their surrounding home, gently persuading his clients to embrace the quirks in the space and pushes them to be edgier.
De Giulio started as a carpenter in his father’s wood shop where he learned how to create cupolas and octagonal windows, as he describes in his book, Kitchen Centric (Balcony Press, 2010), co-written with Karen Klages Grace. The lessons proved invaluable as he progressed into design.
“I learned about proportion, about joining wood, about different types of wood and about mixing materials,” he states. “I learned how to experiment and think creatively and most important, I learned there is no end to the possibilities when you dream.”
The kitchen guru started de Giulio kitchen design in 1984, in a small space carved in a shuttered Ace Hardware.
By 1995, business had blossomed, and he took over the entire space. Today, besides the Wilmette showroom, he maintains a metal workshop in Michigan where his 15 artisans custom craft light fixtures, range hoods and other items used for his kitchens.
A 24,000-square-foot Skokie warehouse serves as his woodworking shop and is also where he recreates kitchens for clients.
“Clients can see everything,” he said. “They love it. They have a sense of control before (the kitchen design) is installed.”
De Giulio has no desire to slow down. “It’s more fun than it’s ever been,” he said. “We have more capability with tools and technology; we can solve problems more quickly. I’m still being challenged.”
That’s good news for anyone interested in a kitchen-centric home.