James Treble hardly needs an introduction to an Australian interior design audience. The award-winning interior designer, TV presenter and writer has over twenty years’ experience in the building and design industry. Somewhat of a renaissance man, James is a qualified real estate agent, kitchen and bathroom designer…and all-round interiors expert!

We’re delighted that James will be an ambassador for Decor + Design 2019. Follow him on Instagram – @designerjamestreble – for sneak previews of what to expect at the show. James will also be presenting a workshop as part of the Australian House & Garden International Seminar Series. Register now to attend the show to receive updates when the full program is released.

Ahead of the 16th edition of Australia’s No.1 Interiors Trade Event in July, we sat down with the ebullient design maven to find out more about his inspirations, favourite places and his new TV show…

How would you define your own design style?

I like an eclectic mix of styles and these continue to change – like all of us – over time. My style often evolves after visiting a new destination or after completing another client’s home.

Essentially, I’d say I’m a Global Traveller! I love mid-century modern, with a definite Palm Springs undertone, a little Moroccan styling, some Italian influences. Then throw in a heavy use of tribal elements! This may sound confused, but to me it makes perfect sense!

Who doesn’t dream of Palm Springs? Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s house on the cover of Tim Street-Porter’s book ‘Palm Springs: A Modernist Paradise’ Image: Tim Street-Porter

You’ve worked all over the world. Who are your favourite interior designers?

I’ve travelled much of the globe, but there’s still so much to see and of course it’s always inspiring to see how others live around the world…how they use colour, what they include in their homes.

I’ve worked with clients in the Netherlands, and in Italy where we have extended family. Although historically I love both Frank Lloyd Wright and Donald Wexler. Both are architects but the lines blur when you see how their designs influenced so much of the way we live. However, it’s Australian design that I love to be inspired by and to support.

With the ladies going first, I love the playfulness of Sibella Court and her great use of colour, and Catherine Heraghty of The Stables creates such soft layered spaces which feel so Australian.

I can’t go past our rock star export Greg Natale, who has remained so grounded and real regardless of his amazing success, and who doesn’t enjoy the eye candy that Steve Cordony continues to produce in his unique and stylish way.

What’s the most-read book on your shelf?

This is super easy, it has to be THE ARCHITECTURE OF HAPPINESSBy Alain De Botton. I’ve read and reread it so many times, I love how he works through the philosophy and psychology of where we live, how our homes look and the power it has on our personalities and lifestyles.

I admit to loving books so much! My partner Sandro and I could open a book shop. I have them everywhere in my studio ready to flick through for ideas or to simply clear the head. I particularly love two Aussie publications being AUSTRALIAN HOMES – 70 YEARS WELL LIVED – by House and Garden because it’s a time capsule of Australian houses and styles, and I also love TWENTY-ONE AUSTRALIAN ARCHITECTS – BREAKING NEW GROUND – Created by Tanya Buchanan and the team at Belle and beautifully edited by Karen McCartney, as it showcases Australia’s premier architects.

If pressed, what piece of your furniture or home would define you?

The SWAN CHAIR by ARNE JACOBSEN, created in 1958. It’s such a timeless piece of furniture, so stylish, yet so comfy and practical with its swivel base. It works as well in a modern home today as much as it did last century!

The iconic ‘Swan’ chair by Arne Jacobsen. Image: Design Within Reach

I realise I’m supposed to be defining myself, so I guess I’m adaptable, well-built and perhaps a little too comfy, and I can swivel! BUT I’d also like to think I’m standing the test of time, after 7 years on National TV and almost 30 years in the building & design industry, I’m not looking too shabby!

If you could live in anyone’s house, whose would it be?

It’s not actually one famous house but rather a location. It’s Gallipoli in Puglia/Italy, located on the inside of the heel of the boot , if you know your world map. This historic, once fortified town sits on a small island jutting into the sea, with its architecture being shaped over the past 3000 years by most of the well-known cultures of the past.

The Mediterranean fort town of Gallipoli, Italy. Image: Reddit

We stayed there two years in a row as we loved it so much, eating amazing food, drinking spritz, and swimming all day and night with the Mediterranean on one side, and a pictorial history of architecture on the other, including domes, arches and columns. This is true paradise for me.

You’ll be speaking at the Decor + Design show in July this year. What else is in on the agenda for you in 2019?

It’s a busy year for me with travel and work. We’re taking the kids away in April driving from San-Fran to LA. They’re super excited about Disney Land, I’m super excited about Palm Springs, where I’ve lined up some house visits (stay tuned).

I return with my partner Sandro to Italy at the start of September where I’m MC’ing a wedding for some wonderful friends in Tuscany at a stunning location VILLA GAMBERAIA (you must check this place out)!

The gardens at the 14th century Villa Gamberaia in Tuscany. We’re sure James will have an awful time. Image: Tuscany Toscana

Afterwards we’ll be spending time in Sicily with a quick skip over to Malta, then ending the month in Bologna for Cersaie, The International Bathroom and Tile fair. This will be my 5th annual visit and I’m as inspired by this medieval city as much as I am by the latest tiles and tap-ware designs. Oh and of course a quick stop over in Roma to see the family and throw a few coins in the fountain!

I continue to work in TV where I’m co-host of YOURMONEY – AUCTION DAY being 6 HOURS’ LIVE TV, every Saturday from 8.30am. It’s a long day, but sadly I love it! My co-host Sophie Hull is a dream to work with, and in addition to live auctions and lots of real estate info we get to talk house design and architecture all day…and I call this work!

After 7 years on The Living Room on TEN, I decided that 2019 was a time for me to move on from this show. I’ve loved transforming homes over the years on some ridiculously low budgets, and I’ve also worked with some amazing people and made long-lasting friendships along the way.

But closing this door has allowed others to open and I’m glad to announce that I’ve joined the cast of OPENHOMES on NINELIFE, which will air later in the year, so my love affair of houses and Australian design continues!

I’m so very lucky and proud to be able to do what I love so much.

James Treble will be bringing his inimitable zest for life, expert eye and design skills to Decor + Design, 18 – 21 July 2019 in Melbourne. He will be taking part in the Australian House & Garden International Seminar Series, joining other taste makers like Steve Cordony and Diane Bergeron.

Register now to attend Australia’s No.1 Interiors Trade Event, and be notified when the full speaker program is released in April.