A significant part of the home improvement industry, there are many renovation companies dedicated solely to kitchen upgrades. And while there are plenty of great businesses in the space, the quality of design and craftsmanship can vary which is why the talented Melbourne-based interior designer Nickolas Gurtler decided to launch a standalone kitchen business to meet that gap in the market.
“We have often entered into projects where the kitchen had already been renovated recently by one of the larger kitchen renovation businesses, and usually, clients feel let down by the result. The reason for this often seemed to be that the clients had to make a lot of design decisions without the right type of expert design guidance, and the kitchen renovation companies were pushing them to make decisions that were easy or profit-generating,” says Nickolas.
Client dissatisfaction often resulted from what Nickolas identifies as a strong sense of homogeneity in the space. He saw a lot of the same kitchen designs with the same finishes, simple shapes and colours. In fact, Nickolas believes that one of the most repeated designs (the all-white kitchen) is dead. “There is just too much creativity to be exercised in life to have an all-white kitchen!” says Nickolas who, upon noticing this, began to consider how he could offer a more tailored solution.
Enter Nickolas Gurtler Kitchens, a one-stop shop where you can get the same level of design that you would get if you were undertaking a whole home design with the talented designer. “Clients can come to get the same level of design that they would get if they were working on a full project with us and the bespoke quality and finish that they would get working with our craftsmen,” says Nickolas whose kitchens start at $50,000 excluding appliances.
The process begins with an initial phone conversation, a personal appointment with Nickolas, a site measure, the creation of 3D visual plans and elevations and the kitchen manufacture too. “Our cabinet makers and stone masons construct the kitchen and deliver and install it on site,” says Nickolas. The process extends to new builds also where the Nickolas supplies the documentation to the builder required to prepare the site for installation.
The idea for the business was sparked during the first wave of COVID when many clients remarked on how their lives had changed – particularly when it came to the way they use their homes. “Unilaterally, every single person we spoke to spoke about how their kitchen was now functioning completely differently and most often wasn’t working – it was a classroom, a workbench, a dining space, a hobby space – and most of all it just wasn’t an aesthetically pleasing space to be in,” says Nickolas. These conversations led to an exploration of how the designer could bring tailored solutions and beautiful design to a wider audience.
“There are lots of kitchen design and renovation businesses, but they are limited to designs that are profitable and easy for them to produce, and from their limited ranges – something that happens even in the imported European kitchen businesses,” says Nickolas who hopes to bring a wholistic design perspective to the space. The approach sees particular focus on things such as feature lighting, innovative use of materials and an overarching consideration for how the space should feel.
Nickolas’ top three kitchen design tips
- Visual presence: Do you look at it every day and think to yourself “wow this is really beautiful.”? When you step into a beautiful kitchen, you just feel better.
- Functionality: There are lots of kitchens that look amazing but are hard to navigate around when you’re cooking. For example, is it an awkward journey between filling up a pot of hot water and the stovetop or accessing your main ingredients?
- Bespoke design: How well it has been tailored to the owner. For example, we had a client who was a big tea drinker, so we built a customised drawer specifically for all her different teas, and tea instruments, so she didn’t have to move around the kitchen whilst she was enjoying the experience.