In 1976, while Johnny Grey was still in architecture school, he cooked up a “punk Gothic” kitchen for a friend. It was the opening salvo in his war on cookie-cutter kitchens. With encouragement from his aunt, the renowned cookbook author and shopkeeper Elizabeth David, he designed what he calls “sociable kitchens” and promoted the principles that make them work. Today considered one of the world’s most influential kitchen experts, Mr. Grey, 63, estimates that he has produced more than 500 kitchens, and his company, in Hampshire, England, takes on about 20 projects a year. A recent example — a pool house with cooking capabilities in Cambridge, England — piqued our interest during these dog days of summer. (This interview has been edited and condensed.)
Q. A pool house-slash-kitchen is a surprising combo. Aren’t you supposed to wait an hour after eating before going in the water?
It’s as much a sculptural installation as a functional space. The island, for instance.
The bottom is cast concrete that cantilevers out into a counter with an induction hob. The organic shape was inspired by woodland mushrooms — it’s meant to look like it’s growing out of the floor. There were a few exciting moments installing it.