BCB Homes has had the honor of working with Mick on a few homes in the past and currently! We are very excited to start another home with this mastermind! See below the amazing interview “The Independent” published.
Alfred Hitchcock once said, “Happiness is a small house, with a big kitchen.” And there is one name that comes up time and time again when luxury homeowners begin designing their beloved kitchens: Mick De Giulio. He’s been designing some of the most distinctive kitchens for over 45 years. His work has been widely featured in numerous top design publications including Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, Interior Design, and Traditional Home, to name a few. Indy caught up with De Giulio to learn more about his methodology, vision, and his recommendations.
You’re one of the most influential kitchen designers in the world. How did you end up with such a distinct niche?
I started very young. I think that was essential to give me the base to do what I do and think the way I do.
When I was 16 years old, after school and on weekends, I started working at my father’s cupola shop in Royal Oak, MI. I learned a lot about woodworking there. I left college after one year to help my dad when he didn’t have any other employees or money to speak of, as he still worked full-time at Ford Motor Company as a tool and die maker. Using what I had come to know about building cupolas, I started making cabinets at night —and made a hope chest for my girlfriend (she’s now my wife).
My dad saw what I had done, and became intrigued with the idea of making cabinets along with cupolas. He put an ad in the local paper advertising kitchen cabinets, even though neither of us knew much about kitchens. He turned the calls over to me and by the time I was 20, I had designed and installed a handful of kitchen projects.
That was the foundation. I just kept evolving, kept experimenting, kept pushing and playing with materials, and began to learn about proportion and scale.
I left the Detroit area with my wife and children when I was 26, taking a job as a designer with a company in the Chicago area. Four years later, in 1984, I started my own company.
My “niche” evolved too, over these 45-plus years. I have done commercial interiors and designed entire interiors of clients’ homes at their request. I also do product design (which I love), both for my own brand of products and for companies such as SieMatic and Kohler. But there’s always a connection to kitchen design.
Explain what a kitchen means to your clients.
The thing my clients have in common is that the kitchen is most important room in the house. They do everything there, not only preparing and having meals, but also hanging out with family and friends. For my clients, the kitchen is not only the heart of the home, it’s also the soul and essence of comfort and shelter in the home.
You create incredibly beautiful kitchens both for residential and commercial clients. How does your methodology differ for each?
My method is always the same, whether I’m designing a kitchen for a homeowner, a large commercial space for chefs and demonstrations, or a single product such as a sink or light fixture. The first part is listening and getting a feeling from my clients about what they love and about what they see coming out of the project in the end. That includes picking up on cues and clues from them that may not even be related to the project at hand.
The second stage in any design project, and one of the most important, is identifying the design challenge . . . figuring out what needs to be solved. Sometimes, that’s not obvious. Other times it’s very obvious but still needs to be clarified or pinpointed.
The last stage is challenging myself as a designer. I continue to ask myself, in every project, “Can this be better or am I compromising? Can I take it to another level still?”
Do you have a design philosophy?
I believe that spaces, and even objects, can be much more than the sum of their parts. They should be infused with a feeling or a spirit.
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