Decor + Design & AIFF 360 brand ambassador James Treble hardly needs an introduction. The award-winning interior designer, TV presenter and writer has over 25 years’ experience in the building and design industry.

In addition to his vast expertise and experience in home renovation and the construction of new homes, James is a qualified interior designer, colour consultant and real estate agent. To say he loves anything to do with the home would be an understatement!

James is well known for various roles on Australian TV over the past 10 years, including seven years as the resident Interior Design expert on the popular program The Living Room. James is currently presenter on Open Homes Australia and the design judge on Renovate or Rebuild, both on NINELIFE.

James Treble on Channel 10’s The Living Room. Image:

In the lead up to Decor + Design & AIFF 360, the virtual interiors trade exhibition taking place September 28 – October 2, James will be keeping the design industry updated on show features and exhibitors. He will also be hosting a live virtual workshop on Wednesday September 30.

We asked the in-demand designer some questions to uncover his inspirations and get a sneak peek at what he’ll be talking about.

How would you define the ‘James Treble aesthetic’?

Ha, what a question! Well, it’s definitely a fusion of styles rather than one clear statement. I love mid century modern, more so after visiting Palms Springs last year – yes, remember traveling? – but I also love the relaxed aesthetic of coastal homes that have a Mediterranean influence, with a sprinkling of Moroccan pattern and room layout thrown into the mix!

Palm Springs inspiration via Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s ‘Villa Grigio’. Image: Tim Street-Porter

I find myself using the term ‘new century modern’ to describe the modern take on the MCM design period, and ‘global traveler’ to represent the global fusion, creating my two key Interior Design phrases! This may sound a little mixed, but to me it sounds perfect.

What’s one design rule you live by?

This has evolved over time, as I used to be all about ‘less is more’ and then ‘more Is more’, as both of these can still be true in the right space. However recently, especially due to the many ways COVID has impacted our lives, I now focus on ‘practical design’ as my design ethos!

We have all been forced to question the necessity of our purchases – i.e. where do the things we buy come from, combined with budgets that have become a little tighter. The spaces we create and live in still need to look great, but they especially need to be practical, in both design and material selection.

I’m already in the process of creating a whole series of free on-line videos under the ‘Practical Design’ banner, where I’ll be sharing a range of spaces and homes I’ve recently created, explaining my design process, the material selections and my tips and tricks. Keep an eye out as ‘PRACTICAL DESIGN’ is on its way!

 Which artist or designer from history would you choose to be in isolation with?

Artist Sandro Nocentini. Image: Saatchi Art

I’m actually already in isolation with a very talented painter and sculptor, my Sulman Prize winning partner Sandro Nocentini, so our walls are always filled with colours, stories and inspiration! If I needed to add another, it would have to be Philippe Starck! I was stopped in my tracks seeing him at a coffee shop in Milan a few years ago, so much so that I uncharacteristically left him alone, instead of walking up to touch him!! His ability to fuse creativity between both product and spatial design shows what a true creative visionary he is!

 Why is interior design important for the world right now?

I think with much of the world experiencing some form of lock down, the way our homes affect our lives and our moods, is more relevant than ever. Great design has the power to create spaces that suit our individual needs. More than simply ‘beautiful looking spaces’ they need to function well, be practical to use, maintain and allow us all to exist in them in a positive way. This allows us all to blossom and grow instead of being slaves in maintaining them.

Let’s face it, I’m sure many people are stuck in ugly, badly design homes right now, so there is a fantastic opportunity for the design industry, to assist these people, and help them create homes that not only make the best use of their location and budget, but more importantly can help every day become a more positive experience.

Through good Interior Design practices we can turn our homes – and those of our clients – into the nurturing and inspiring spaces they should be, allowing them to reflect the story of those who live there.

You’ll be taking part live in the first virtual International Seminar Series at Decor + Design & AIFF 360 in September. Can you give us a sneak peek at what you’ll be talking about?

One of the benefits of being online is that I can present live from my own studio, a space that has been my savior, especially during lock down. I spend a lot of time there, meeting with clients, but also by myself; it’s my creative safe zone.

In my workshop I’ll share where I work, how I have set up the space to make the best use of natural light and created different zones so I can focus on the different parts of my business. There I’m surrounded by all the creative bits and pieces that I use every day, plus the inspo pieces I’ve collected from around the world!

In addition, I will share some of my processes and steps I follow when creating spaces, as well as some insights into how I assist my clients, particularly in helping them to make decisions and keep the selection process moving along, how I present information and documentation to both the clients and the builders, ensuring a clear transfer of information.

“Because COVID has affected all of our businesses, I’ll also discuss how I’ve been dealing with its impact to come out the other side stronger and possibly better. We are all discovering new ways of personal interaction, and confidently relating ‘via screen’ to both clients and suppliers has become a necessary talent. My years of experience in presenting on TV and public seminars has allowed me to hone some useful skills & tricks, that have become important during isolation, so I’m gladly going to share these as well, as being comfortable ‘on screen’ is now more important than ever before.”

If you’re an emerging or even experienced interior designer, James’ workshop on Wednesday September 30 will be essential viewing. Don’t miss this chance to learn valuable tips and tricks and interact live with a master of the trade.

Register now for AIFF 360 and reserve your workshop place!

Follow James on Instagram @designerjamestreble