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De Giulio’s Tenets of Good Design
Space and Light
I try not to put cabinets too close to windows. I also like to lower the height of windowsills to make them even or continuous with the countertop. The resulting view outside and the light streaming in feel so much bigger. I may give an island legs to make it appear lighter. I rarely install cabinets all the way up to the ceiling, which also allows for some nice uplighting. Clear or opaque glass-fronted doors on cabinets are possibilities.
Fresh and Clean
Natural wood finishes have a brightness about them, and when combined with other elements that convey purity (stainless steel, glass, lighter-valued natural stones, and tiles), a lovely clarity can be achieved. White is classic for kitchens. It will never be passé. Varying the shades of white gives depth and richness.
Mixing: Visual Texture and Counterpoints
It is not about mixing for the sake of mixing. It is about creating visual texture, and there is no right formula, but rather a right feeling. I like to put man and machine in the same room—something with a strong handcrafted quality and its counterpoint, something highly engineered like a velvet-brushed stainless steel refrigerator with hand-scraped maple floors. A hundred-year-old English bookcase with splits in the wood is stunning among cabinets with a finish of high-gloss white lacquer.
Proportion and Scale
Standard proportions have to be challenged. Adding or subtracting from standard measures sets the tone. I design countertops that range from three-eighths of an inch to six inches thick—and often mix several thicknesses in the same kitchen. I like to de-mass the refrigerator by semi-recessing it. Without that massive appliance immediately grabbing the eye, the kitchen feels more like a living space.
Composition vs. Continuum
Traditional design says cabinets run continuously and dominate a kitchen. I find a compositional approach more pleasing and artful. A custom-designed range hood is a relatively small financial investment compared to the visual return it can provide.
Quirks are good. Personality is good. The kitchen can be the link between people and the architecture of the house. Architecture and the kitchen do not have to match. Some of the most beautiful modern kitchens I have seen are in very old European houses and villas.
Excerpted from Kitchen Centric