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Here’s Some Advice from Mick De Giulio, Kitchen Whisperer

Plus, a local jewelry designer expands to home goods, a huge lighting sale, a class in floral design, and more

De Giulio’s new Luxe Home design   Photo: Courtesy of Mick De Giulio

This Week’s Top Story

Mick De Giulio is one of the best known kitchen designers, having created the cooking areas for Washington’s Blair House, Chicago’s Ritz-Carlton Residences, even test kitchens for Sub-Zero and the Tribune. With a new installation at the Luxe Home showroom (222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Ste. 121, luxehome.com), featuring translucent washed-oak finishes and De Giulio’s signature metalwork details (think wired glass, polished stainless steel, German silver, and silicon bronze), Chicago thought we’d ask the pro how to make any old kitchen relevant for the way we live today.

What trends are you seeing in kitchen design?

Open plans continue to be popular. Clients love a kitchen that is the main hub connecting family living spaces. We are also doing three things: creating fresh and clean looks using wood floors for warmth and texture, plus interesting ceilings; relaxed, comfortable, and informal styles, which are achieved with texture; and distinctive spaces rather than slick minimalist designs that have been so popular over the past few years. Even gold is making a comeback.

Are there new ways that people are using their kitchens?

People continue to want kitchens to be spaces where their families can relax and be together. Soft, upholstered chairs and comfortable furniture are important, as are elements such as fireplaces, coffee stations, and TVs. People love lots of function, too, so we rarely design a kitchen that doesn’t include a multi-functional sink with cutting boards and other accessories.

Any tricks of the trade you can impart to our readers?

Take your time to plan the space. Don’t look at a new kitchen as just cabinets and countertops, but rooms to live in with great natural light, views if possible, and good appliances. For equipment, check out steam ovens—they are fantastic—and induction cooktops.

How would you describe your new installation, and why is it relevant to home cooks today?

When I design a display, I like to show something that is somewhat unexpected. This space features new twists on some of my favorite materials, including textured white oak, polished stainless steel with touches of raw bronze and German silver. It’s clean, fresh, and classic; an interesting mix of metals; very warm and textural. Everything in our showroom is available as part of a kitchen design. Our designers are pleased to discuss a project, and my recent book, Kitchen, can be a great resource guide for ideas.

Interior Intel

Jewelry designer Winifred Grace (5642 N. Clark St., winifredgrace.com) has just added to her Andersonville boutique an array of jewels for the home. Along with ceramics by Danielle Bitner, who studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, Winnie will be carrying one-of-a-kind Moroccan pillows woven from sabra cactus-plant fibers, vintage Turkish rugs, and cast-bronze “Tree of Life” wall hooks made entirely in the Windy City.

Jonathan Adler (676 N. Wabash Ave., jonathanadler.com) just received a cache of new furniture, including woven-leather chairs, Dutch-inspired wooden cabinets, and glam velvet sofas. Experts at the boutique on Wabash offer free consultations to anyone needing help incorporating Adler’s cheeky designs into their homes.

Sales

Restoration Hardware (1300 N. Dearborn Pkwy., restorationhardware.com) is having its annual Summer Clearance Sale, with loads of outdoor items going for 60 percent off (plus 20 percent more if you join their rewards club). Expect a one to two-week delivery, so you can still luxuriate outside while August is in full swing.

Everything is illuminated at Idlewood Electric’s (114 Skokie Valley Rd., Highland Park; 317 W. Northwest Hwy., Barrington, idlewoodelectric.com) Summer Display Sale, with prices ranging from 50 percent to 70 percent off. Stop by the Highland Park or Barrington showroom for some of the best lighting deals on wall sconces, statement chandeliers, floor lamps, and more. The sale goes through Labor Day.

Events

On August 2 from 6 to 8 p.m., Flowers for Dreams will teach people how to arrange flower crowns at Travelle Kitchen + Bar (330 N. Wabash Ave., travellechicago.com) at the Langham Hotel. The $75 class includes all necessary tools and flowers, plus bites and bubbles. Wear your crown to Lollapalooza, or let it dry and use it as a chic dining room table centerpiece. Every bouquet Flowers for Dreams creates and sells in its shop is sourced ethically—and benefits a local nonprofit. Space is limited, call 312-923-7705 to RSVP.

Ask your deepest, darkest, or most mystifying decorating problems and a Design Within Reach (755 W. North Ave., dwr.com) pro will come up with creative ways to overcome them during the boutique’s Design Therapy session on July 29 from 12 to 2 p.m. It’s part of DWR’s summer Design Days; RSVP here.

The Randolph Street Antique Market (1340 W. Washington St., randolphstreetmarket.com) is back this weekend for its third market of the summer running Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This week’s theme is Tropical Punch, and includes 300-plus vendors hawking antiques, artwork, furniture, and fun (like a kid’s area and beer). Get your tickets for the West Loop/Fulton Market fair here.

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