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La Vita Bella

A Hyde Park kitchen rehab for noted men’s fashion stylist Marlon Gilmore channels Italian style and sensibility.

Renowned kitchen designer Scott Dresner was enlisted by a close friend to create a custom Italian kitchen with a modern, streamlined look that accommodates his eclectic art collection and makes entertaining a breeze.


La cucina Italiana—lussuoso, elegante, minimalista. In other words, modern Italian kitchen design is all things luxurious, stylish and streamlined. And those qualities were exactly what Marlon Gilmore, a men’s fashion expert and stylist at Neiman Marcus, was after when he asked friend and renowned kitchen and bath designer Scott Dresner to develop a concept for his Hyde Park rehabbed brownstone. “It’s no secret that Marlon is one of the most stylish men in Chicago,” Dresner quips.

“We’ve been friends for years, so it was fun coming up with a design that was as unique as he is.”

Built for an avid art aficionado, the design also provides an uncluttered backdrop for Gilmore’s eclectic collection, complementing rather than distracting from a floor-to-ceiling gallery wall. “Hidden” among the artwork is a flat-screen TV, which becomes barely indistinguishable from the meticulously orchestrated collection of canvases and framed art.

Art takes pride of place in this kitchen with a gallery wall that conceals a TV and a custom bench and foot rail that homeowner Marlon Gilmore commissioned from a local artist. 

As the true hearth of the home, the design provides an easy, open flow for entertainment, focused around a 16-foot-long custom island and a custom bench, stools and galvanized steel foot rail. These elements inject the space with a rustic, industrial sensibility that adds both warmth and texture.

“The kitchen was the last piece of the puzzle in my rehab. It was important to me that the kitchen have an eclectic and modern feel and blend in with the rest of my house,” Gilmore explains. A surprising material (at least for American audiences) was used to achieve the kitchen’s flawless aesthetic. The Stosa Cucine cabinetry and countertops are fabricated from Arpa Industriale laminate—in this case sourced from Milan—which is a staple of Italian kitchen design, offering both sophistication and durability.

Adding to the impression of supersleekness are concealed pantries, ensuring the design’s clean-lined geometry remains unhampered. There’s really only one word to describe the result: bellissimo!