Smartie Spotlight – Nickolas Gurtler

Feb 26, 2019 | Design and Interior Decoration

}  4 minute reading time

Introducing our newest blog feature that you’ll see on the reg, The Smartie Spotlight! We’re all about sharing all the smarts and this week’s focus is #designsmarts with interior smartie Nickolas Gurtler.

Nickolas Gurtler –

Famed for his cleaver use of glass and crystals, pops of vibrancy, and his latest obsession – coloured stone (twinning, it’s ours too!), you just know when you’ve walked into space curated by the trend-setter that is Nicholas Gurtler.

We’ve been ogling and googling him for some time –  The latter describes him as: ‘One of Australia’s leading designers by Habitus Living’. FYI.  – and late last year we decided enough (online stalking) was enough and reached out to the designer himself.

We’ll set the scene…

The Attendees: Bronte Taton (SHFL Marketing coordinator) & Nickolas Gurtler (interior designer extraordinaire)

The Location: Dimattina Coffee Roasters

The food: 2 large coffees- what else!?

Passionate and full of energy, Nicholas has a zealous outlook on life to match his equally unique and edgy design style. When we sit down his cheerful demeaner is infectious.

A self- described goof, with the ambition of Neil Whitaker and the cheekiness of Prince Harry, Nicholas Gurtler is the interior designer to keep an eye on. Realising he had an appetite for interiors from a super young age, Nickolas never doubted which industry he would one day lead.

‘We used to move houses a lot when we were kids, so I was forever restyling the new home. I would also rearrange ornaments whenever I visited friends’ houses, it was kind of an obsession’.

As we sipped on our lattes, Nickolas casually described his upbringing. His mother was a fashion designer whose incredible knowledge of fabrics, colours and positioning influenced their home life and, unsurprisingly, their décor (Can this family be any more talented? Yep, keep reading). His grandmother was also a talented wardrobe master in London’s West end (#flawless).

In his early 20’s, Nickolas worked for the likes of Chanel, Gucci and Tiffany & Co – the dream. (Ok, I’ll admit I did ask a few questions about fashion, but you can’t blame a gal!). A visual merchandising position became available and Nickolas’s natural flare for interiors came to the forefront.

‘Fashion Merchandising is regimented process, but I wouldn’t stick to this- I was always changing the displays and sending photos back to Gucci’s head office about how I thought it should change. I would disregard the merchandising brief because the stock we had at Gucci Perth was limited and not as high fashion as it was overseas’.

Style and rule breakin’ – can we get a hell yasss.

After cutting his teeth in the fashion world, Nickolas realised his passions lay a little closer to home: interiors. Resulting in him enrolling full-time into an interior design course. The rest is history.

When you have an uber talented architect like Nickolas Gurtler in front of you, it only makes sense to pick his brain (which we assume is designer too) and ask him all the pressing questions you can think of:

Career highlight

Since launching Nicholas Gurtler architects in 2014, his two-career highlights include being named Australia’s leading Designer of the Year (2018) by Habitus Living and having a feature in Belle Magazine for his Applecross project.

‘When you see your work displayed on the glossy pages of a magazine, it feels like a tangible embodiment of all of your hard work’.

East Coast vs West Coast design

Forever overshadowed by New York lofts and Parisian apartments, Australia has some tough comp to live up to. But in reality, we have a very loud and recognisable voice in the design world that reflects our way of living (mainly consisting of outdoor barbies on those balmy nights!). Think: big porch, timber, corrugated steel and verandas. With our abundance of native plants and warm climate, Nickolas believes the key to a good design is the consideration of the environment.


‘In Melbourne, people have an appreciation for vintage, eclectic design and they certainly aren’t afraid to mix and match colours and textures’.


‘Here people play it a little safer. They like creams and browns with a more minimalist approach to design’.


‘WA is beachy, so naturally our design aesthetic tends to be inspired by the coast. (it’s totally dependent on the context – a coastal design in the hills just won’t work!). To subtly incorporate that coastal feel, consider slip covered sofas and linen features and then let me do what I do best (even if I’m pushing you outside of your comfort zone).’

Every design should be..

According to Nickolas, every design should be – One word- Tailored. This plays a big part in Nickolas’ ethos when designing and relates back to his dreamy fashion couture chanel-for-days days.

‘People have things made for them; to fit their body comfortably, in colours and materials that compliment them. So why not apply the same to interior design? For a timeless look, each design should be unique and bespoke- not replicated and done’.

The latest Trends to hit the Interior design scene


‘At the moment I’m loving the organic, glamorous look of Marble- each piece is unique and oh-so chic’

Black tapware

‘This trend is here to stay – the monochromatic colour scheme is going nowhere’ (Pic of Alder tapware now available at Smart Homes For Living)

When considering trends, it’s important to know how it will translate in your space. Nickolas’ interior designer crush of the moment is Kelly Wearstler; an avid marble user and pioneer of mixing and matching eclectic items (go check her out! She’s as inspiring as she sounds we promise). Sometimes however, it’s the smallest things that act as inspo:

I was watching the bohemian rhapsody movie recently and there was a scene in the manager’s 80’s office and it occurred to me that a lot of designers are producing that exact look right now. I felt inspired by the use of glass and was banking ideas in my head for future designs.’

Go-to Interior furnishing brand

Nickolas’ go-to brands of the mo’ are:


Mobilia (seriously cool, unusual pieces)

Gratzia & Co

King Living

Hmmm ok, these have officially become our new interior furnishing haunts!

Advice for self-starters

Before you think of launching your career Nickolas recommends considering your life experience.

‘Before you start, go and see as much of the world as you can. Visit museums, see architectural feats, experience inner-city living and see and experience how differently people live.’

New Home Buyer Tips

Nicholas suggests overseeing the plan and considering the following:

  • Storage
  • Kitchen space *hint* a scullery is a big YES from Nickolas
  • How you use the spaces? I.e. Is the lounge room moving away from being a tv room to being a room for socialising?

Nickolas’ Smart Homes For Living Lookbook pick

‘I love Mod Chic and that’s definitely my go-to style but I would love to start experimenting with industrial and glamming it up – I recently used a stunning black steel door in a vanity and paired it with glass, stone and marble- it was so lush’ 

If you’re feeling like a bit of design expert now, head to Pinterest, create your ‘dream home’ design board and we’ll help make it a reality! Or call our team and we’ll get our design smarties on the job 😉

Written by Siobhan


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