Art Deco living with serious sophistication

Kristy Sadlier

Posted on February 06 2021

Art Deco living with serious sophistication | Norsu Interiors

At home with… 
Caitlin Nicolas

We are feeling like a couple of proud Mums again as we take you on another home tour of one of our clever norsuHOME Interior Designers, Caitlin - sharing her top tips and tricks on merging new and traditional by selecting contemporary objects and fittings in keeping with the heritage of her period home...

Join us as we step inside her edgy, stylish Art Deco apartment in the second instalment of our At home with series.

If you are a lover of sophisticated, simple design and period architecture, you are going to want to see this one. Think high ceilings, tonnes of natural light, and the most considered and cohesive palette that perfectly balances the personalities of both herself and partner Sam.



Caitlin recently purchased this Art Deco apartment with her partner Sam in Melbourne's sought after suburb St Kilda after being drawn to all the natural light, along with ceiling heights, and period features such as ceiling roses and the ornate fireplace.

Caitln's style is a little more edgier than our typical norsu pastel-pink look, which is why we were drawn to recruiting her in our norsuHOME team.

There's an instant feel of cohesion and consistency when you step into this home. Every single piece has been carefully selected, which makes a huge impact when it comes to the balance and flow of the space. 

We were thrilled to sit down with Caitlin to hear all about her cosmetic renovation, and get her top tips on styling in her signature look - without an overload of blush - and a couple of her renovation secrets along the way...


Where to start when designing a room?

This can often be the most overwhelming part of design process. My advice would be to start with with a piece of artwork that you love. From there, you can select your pieces (furniture and accessories) that connect to the tones and colours in your artwork. The stunning limited edition Jen Sievers print was the first item I chose for my living room, and when it came time designing the space, everything in this room (including the sofa) has a reference back to this piece.

What renovations did you complete before moving in?

Being a small space, we knew instantly that we needed to maximise the storage in the apartment. The existing main bedroom wardrobe was half the size, finished short of the ceiling, and was positioned on a different wall which didn't make the best use of the space. We decided to completely replace this with custom cabinetry running along the entire length of one wall, and it has been the best decision we made.

Are there any tips you can give when designing custom wardrobes?
My advice would be to build your wardrobes as close to the ceiling as possible. If you have any gaps between the top of the wardrobe and your ceiling, add a bulk head to conceal the void space and eliminate the annoying and hard to reach 'dust shelf'.

My biggest priority when selecting the right wardrobe was the door profile. I wanted a style that looked contemporary, but also in keeping with the Art Deco style of the home. These shaker style doors work perfectly, but they can become extremely expensive when finished with 2pac or a vinyl wrap - so we opted for raw cabinetry doors and painted them ourselves to keep the costs down.

With Sam now working from home most of the time, we needed to convert the smaller second bedroom into a study. In order to maximise the footprint of the room, we made the controversial decision to completely remove the existing wardrobe to open up the space, and opted for a Mustard Made Midi Locker positioned in the void area behind the door for additional storage.

We also decided to give the entire apartment a freshen up by painting it in Dulux Vivid White throughout. I chose Vivid White so there was no 'yellow reflection' - especially with all the natural light that spills into the apartment. This has completely lifted the entire vibe in the space and made it feel larger too. Once the walls were white, the power points appeared too off-white, so we also replaced them for a brighter white, which instantly changed the feel and gave the whole space a more more modern look and feel.

And finally, we restored the existing doorhandles as we loved their charm. They were covered in many layers of paint from almost a decade of use, so Sam painstakingly stripped them back to original, and they are now one of our favourite features.


How did you create a space with so much cohesion?

I have considered these details carefully to ensure there were seamless connections between items in each room. I specifically chose Ethnicraft timber pieces throughout the home from the Wall shelves and Nordic entertainment unit in the living room, to the Spindle bedside tables in the bedroom, and the Whitebird Console/Desk in the study, because I wanted to to ensure the timber tone is consistent throughout the home. 

I've also connected the Mint Euphoria rug in the bedroom to the Globe West Juno Boris sofa in the living room to create a sense of flow between the zones.

Another tip I'd add is to think about cohesion beyond your furniture and accessories. One major area is your feature pieces/fittings especially lighting. All our light fittings are visible from the one vantage point in the home, therefore we paid particular attention to ensuring they all connect in some way to one another, and tell a story as you walk from room to room.


Caitlin's top design tips

Texture is so important to create interest. One of the most textual elements in the home is the Armadillo Paloma rug in the living room. I absolutely love this rug for the deeper pile. It's soft underfoot, and is super forgiving with stains and spillages, and I don't have to vacuum every time Sam drops crumbs on the floor! 

We've used lots of contrasting pops of black against the vivid white in the space, as we love the impact it makes.

Don't be afraid to play with colour in your furniture. Opting for a mint coloured sofa is not something many would do, but if it's a considered purchase with reference to other objects in the home, it can definitely make an impact.

Really consider your lighting selection, think about how they all complement one another in the space. It is easy to fall into the trap of selecting individual pieces that you love but might not necessarily work together.

Caitlin's final words on apartment styling…

Look at your home as a whole - start with pieces that you love, and build from there in a cohesive and consistent way. Don't be afraid to put your own spin on your design, and have some fun along the way!

Thank you for inviting us into your home Caitlin. We’ve loved every moment and are wish you and Sam many happy years in here. xx

Want to chat with Caitlin?

If you’d like to get in touch with Caitlin to discuss any aspect of her apartment, or have her help style your own place, you can reach her at or follow her on Instagram at @caitlinnicolas_designs




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