Designer Focus | Nickolas Gurtler’s Bespoke Kitchen Design Service

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    Designer Nickolas Gurtler knows first-hand that the kitchen is the pulsing heart of the home, so we were excited to hear about the launch of his unique kitchen design service, where a combination of his signature materials, fixtures and finishes offer a rewarding design experience – from start to finish.

    Timeless materiality and luxurious functionality play a leading role when Melbourne-based designer Nickolas Gurtler is tasked with crafting an interior. Founder and principal of Nickolas Gurtler Interior Design, Nickolas is known for his tailored approach to residential design that is aesthetically sophisticated and functionality sound, so it made ‘symbiotic sense’ for Nickolas to launch Nickolas Gurtler Kitchens earlier this year.

    Offering a bespoke kitchen design service fit for a new build or a renovation, Nickolas’ new offering is a journey from design through to installation. In Nickolas’ words; “Basically a one-stop-shop for a kitchen renovation with a high-end designer.” We sat down with Nickolas to unpack what it means to build a well-balanced design solution for a kitchen where quality and detail take centre stage and to learn how he works with a client to achieve the best result.

    Produced in partnership with Nickolas Gurtler Interior Design

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    The Saville Residences by Nickolas Gurtler reflects the designer’s penchant for the highest quality natural materials such as oak and marble. | 3D renders by Afterglow Visualisation

    How does your kitchen design service compare with other interior design services?

    Nickolas Gurtler: Fundamentally, the service gives a kitchen client access to a high-end designer when these projects are often too small in scope. It’s also a one-stop shop; we take care of everything from the design to delivery. A Nickolas Gurtler kitchen is of the highest quality, locally built from incredible and rare materials. We are not constrained by the standard way of thinking that your run of the mill kitchen company is bound and source materials and finishes that aren’t available to the standard kitchen design companies. We also include decorative lighting, as we often integrate this into our kitchen designs. Everything is custom-designed with concepts that reflect a high-end designer.

     What can a client expect from your new design service offering ‘Nickolas Gurtler Kitchens’?

    Nickolas Gurtler: The first stage is a (complimentary) phone consultation with a team member to discuss the particulars of a client’s project, their project goals and answer any questions they may have about the process. We ask them to obtain basic plans and photos of the space to bring to their appointment. I then schedule a personal meeting with the client, where they enjoy some champagne in our office and talk through their project goals. Based on their project goals, I run through my ideas in terms of materials, layouts and example fixtures to develop a basic plan.

    A member of our team does a site measure while I work with our team to develop a comprehensive kitchen design with 3D renders by Afterglow Visualisation, down to the finest detail. We create a complete presentation including plans, elevations and a 3D visual in the second meeting. Finally, we present a fully costed and designed kitchen for feedback.

    Upon approval, we organise a full site inspection by our trades and organise for the old kitchen to be demolished for renovations. If we are working on a new build, we supply documentation to the builder required to prepare the site for installation. Our cabinet makers and stone masons construct the kitchen and deliver and install it on site.

    Then, I ensure the finished product is professionally styled before sharing with the client – and delivering them their champagne!

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    The Saville Residences by Nickolas Gurtler reflect the level of detail his kitchen design service offers. As part of the service, Nickolas develops a comprehensive kitchen design with 3D renders by Afterglow Visualisation.

    How would you describe your signature design aesthetic?

    Nickolas Gurtler: Our studio aesthetic sits at the point of tension between stringent minimalism and absolute glamour. We walk a delicate balance between the two opposing ideologies, which we call “restrained glamour”. Our work is heavily inspired by contemporary French and Belgian design and that of modern New York and Los Angeles. In addition, we are inspired by design and architecture of a historical nature and translated through a modern lens, and we have a particular affinity for the 1920s and 1970s.

    What goes into your process of designing and selecting key elements for a kitchen space? Is there an underlying framework that informs each of your designs? 

    Nickolas Gurtler: We have a design “formula” that acts as the basis for all our designs, but each project is very much a new beginning and an opportunity to design something unique and bespoke to the client. We always start with the natural stone – do we want extra durability? Do we want an incredible impact? Does the stone have a lot of movement, or is it more about colour and visual texture? From there, we select joinery materials like veneer, mixing and matching the stone against different finishes. Then we look at tapware, hardware and lighting – these act as the “jewellery”‘ for the kitchen, so we tend to emphasise how these interact with the other selections and how we can use these to finish off a beautifully resolved design.

    How does the client’s lifestyle play a role in the final design solutions/decisions?

    Nickolas Gurtler: Interior design is about the human experience, and that is crucial for all of our clients. Before we even begin the design process, we use our first meeting to get to know our clients, to find out how they like to live, cook and dine at home. We ask a litany of questions about their food habits, their baking preferences, how they like to store and present food – anything we would need to know to perfectly tailor their kitchen to them and are always on the lookout for opportunities to improve their experience in the kitchen through design. We also look at durability as this is always something pertinent to our clients – for those who cook less, we look at beautiful natural marble for example, but for those who love to cook or have children, we may look to granite or quartzite for their increased durability.

    How do you balance form with function when designing a kitchen?

    Nickolas Gurtler: Ultimately, the kitchen is utilitarian, so its function is always the prime consideration. We use our design knowledge and expertise to make every kitchen beautiful, like a clever joinery technique, a speciality finish or an outside the box solution to unusual architecture.

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    Nickolas is always adding ‘designer touches’ to his projects that aren’t part of a typical kitchen design, such as the ribbed effect with natural stone in the SFH Residence kitchen. | Image by Enceladus Studio

    What are some of your favourite finishes, materials, designer furnishings/lighting and appliances to work within this space?

    Nickolas Gurtler: Natural stone is one of our favourite materials and features heavily in our designs. Its ancient quality, enduring nature and timelessness really speak to us. We also love working with PVD finished tapware – there are so many incredible finishes that create that custom feel when used in our projects. We also love working with the new Polytec Venette colours – the finish is extremely practical and has a silky nature. You will always find beautiful lighting in our projects, and we like to incorporate wall sconces in kitchens as a punctuating moment of beauty to break up large swarths of materials. We particularly love lighting from local designers like Lost Profile Studio and Christopher Boots right now.

    In terms of design details and materiality, can you offer any insight on how these can elevate a kitchen?

    Nickolas Gurtler: Primarily, it is knowing when and when not to implement design details and how to select materials appropriately. Using the language of design, we know how to apply the design elements and principles for that incredible effect. We also find it is the way you interact with a kitchen that can elevate it, much like how it feels when closing the door of a luxury car – it’s these things that often get overlooked but contribute to the overall elevation of the space. We also like to use more common materials in innovative ways. For example, whether that be through creating a ribbed effect with natural stone or designing a clever detail in a recessed finger pull, we love to add that designer touches that simply aren’t available anywhere else.

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    When designing projects such as the WCS Residence, Nickolas Gurtler says he is constantly looking at how to elevate interactions with the kitchen in a way that he compares to the feeling of closing the door of a luxury car. | Image by Enceladus Studio

    “We use our design knowledge and expertise to make every kitchen beautiful like a clever joinery technique, a speciality finish or an outside the box solution to unusual architecture.” 


    – designer Nickolas Gurtler

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    Looking to layer textures in the KBS Residence kitchen while tapping into the clients’ love for the colour black, Nickolas introduced custom-designed full-height door hardware, black stained-oak joinery and a rangehood surround. | Photography by Dion Robeson

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    Flooring is an important consideration in Nickolas Gurtler’s kitchen projects. In the KBS Residence, Nickolas selected burnished concrete flooring for practical reasons, creating a subtle mirror to ‘bounce light around’ the kitchen space. | Photography by Dion Robeson

    What would you consider investing in when it comes to the kitchen?

    Nickolas Gurtler: Your stone, tapware and lighting – these are areas where spending equates to a more premium experience and finished product.

    In your opinion, what defines a sophisticated and timeless kitchen space?

    Nickolas Gurtler: A timeless and sophisticated kitchen is simply one that was well designed from the beginning –  trends fade but good design is eternal. Good design means the kitchen will be timeless because it is inherently beautiful and functional. Materials that have presence, integrity, and substance also define a well-designed kitchen.

    “Timeless and sophisticated kitchen is simply one that was well designed from the beginning –  trends fade but good design is eternal.”


    – designer Nickolas Gurtler

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    Nickolas Gurtler | Photography by Timothy Kaye

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