Interior designer Nola Charles reveals Gosford apartment transformation

She has worked all over the world from LA to North Queensland and the Southern Highlands. Interior designer Nola Charles has now transformed her Central Coast apartment. Check out the before and afters.

Apartment Designer
Nola Charles interior designer's Gosford apartment on John Whiteway Dr.

She has been an interior designer for 52 years, working on big country houses in the Southern Highlands, resort projects in North Queensland and recently doing some work in LA.


Nola Charles has now decided to put down roots in Gosford, renovating a 20-year-old apartment on John Whiteway Dr with sweeping views of the Brisbane Waters.


Purchasing the property with her husband for $645,000 in May last year, Mrs Charles said that the decision to settle was an accident of fate – the pair were looking for a renovation project, but when they saw the apartment, decided to make it home.

Apartment Renovation Before and After
BEFORE: The apartment was well-presented but neutral, with little character.
Apartment post renovation picture
AFTER: The main living area now includes signature design pieces.

“We made a pact that we wouldn’t do it for re-sale – we wanted to bring out all the stuff we’d been storing - although I could fill another three or four apartments with my collections,” she said.


With a black colour palette, an Italian feature light and splashes of colour from her many unique artworks, Mrs Charles said that there was no other way to describe the apartment but a “John and Nola” design.


“I’m an interpretative designer so I interview people and get into their headspace and design very specifically for them,” she said.

Kitchen pre renovation picture
BEFORE: The kitchen was dated and lacked pizzazz.
Kitchen renovation After Pictures
AFTER: Features now include a hidden pantry and low front kitchen bar.

“That’s why I think my business has been such a big success - people ask how I get into their head. Maybe some people would describe the house as retro or even fashionable because neutral white on white seems to be going out now and colour back in.”


The state of the original state of the apartment was certainly neutral.


While it was in great condition, the carpeted apartment included beige walls an all-white kitchen and bathroom with dated cabinetry.


The transformation is like chalk and cheese, with dark walls accentuating the view and design.

before the bathroom renovation
BEFORE: All white bathroom with mint tile pattern.
after the bathroom renovation.
AFTER: The new bathroom includes black tiled walls, a freestanding bathtub, black and timber textured vanity and a trendy hanging wall mirror.

The main bathroom for example, features black tiled walls, a freestanding bathtub, black and timber textured vanity and a trendy hanging wall mirror.


“The bathroom is like my sanctuary and we didn’t move any plumbing – proof you can completely transform without structural change,” Mrs Charles said.


“The kitchen is designed to be ergonomic. We were brave enough to take the high front off the kitchen have to be a bit tidy, but I love the huge expanse of bench, which you don’t get in a lot of apartments.”

Modern apartment renovation
BEFORE: Nothing too eye-catching....apart from the view.
Modern Apartment living room renovation
AFTER: Check out the pop art and incredible hanging light feature.

Another standout feature is the mirrored wall in the main living area, which Mrs Charles calls it ‘architectural mirroring’ because it is not meant to be noticed, designed to reflect the view and make it look bigger.


Real estate agent Blake Dunn from Raine and Horne Gosford sold the apartment to Mrs Charles and said that it had the best view in Gosford.


“When they purchased it, it didn’t need any work, it was already quite nice, but they’ve just taken it to a whole other level. It is spectacular and unique,” he said.


“Renovating can be a great alternative to buying off the plan. For the same money they would have spent to buy something quite basic in Sydney, the have created one of the nicest apartments on the Coast.”



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