People Issue: James Treble

DesignBUILD Hot Seat with James Treble

James Treble is a Sydney based Interior Designer, TV Presenter, brand ambassador and writer, who loves sharing his passion for houses, colour, good design and recycling. With over 20 years’ experience within the building and design industry, James is a source of knowledge and is recognised as a leader within the industry.

Through his passion, expertise, and hardwork, James owns his own Interior Design Business developing, consulting and designer interior spaces. He also designs external finishes for predominantly new home builds and developments.

You may also recognise James from Network Ten’s, The Living Room, in which he has been on for the past four seasons as a regular Interior Designer for their Interior Design challenges as well as other separate informational segments. Not only is he a TV personality but he also writes regularly for Homes Plus Magazine and is an Ambassador for Planet Ark.

We sat down with James to explore the world of the multitalented, super busy and interior design extraordinaire to get an insight into his world.

DB: Tell us, how long have you been doing what you do and how did you get into this role?

JT: I have worked in the design and building arena for the past 25 years but have worked for myself for the past 11 years.

It was quite an evolution [getting to where I am now]. I first started in the real estate industry studying 3 years, two nights a week, for my Advanced Real Estate Certificate. I later moved into Kitchen Design, Bathroom Design, Colour Consulting and then combining all these into working for myself and running my own practice.

DB: We know you’re a very busy man with all your commitments. Aside from owning your own business, what projects have you worked on?

JT: I have worked with well over a thousand clients on their own homes, as well as some small residential developments and apartment blocks. My work is 90% residential but I also take some small retail/commercial jobs through referral or by their merit

DB: What makes the projects you work on unique/different/interesting?

JT: With the projects I work in, each home has its own challenges and a large part of my work is dealing one on one with my clients therefore being a mediator between the contracted building and the client, ensuring all information is passed on correctly and both sides are happy with the result for both the design and the budget.

DB: In saying that, what have made these projects such a success?

JT: I’ve had homes win HIA and MBA Awards and my work has led me into television and magazine work so I’d like to think it’s the success of both my work and my adaptability, knowledge and passion which has made this possible.

I think, you must be passionate about what you do, even if it’s sweeping the floor, do it with conviction – or that’s what my dad used to say!

DB: You have definitely succeeded in creating and leaving your footprint within the industry but there must be some positives and negatives of the nature of your job and/or industry. Can you identify some?

JT: Running any small business present challenges. At the moment, I’m still adjusting to the fact that my business is growing at a fast pace, and as part of this evolution, I have taken on a very talented, young award winning assistant, Amy Pacewicz, to help with my work load. This therefore presents challenges in training, learning to let go and have faith in her knowledge as well as educating existing clients and contractors that they don’t have to come to me directly for all answers.

DB: What’s the best thing about your job?

JT: Big question! I love my job – and subsequently, I am trying to deal with referrals and client demands as well as my media commitments which have resulting in me working 13 days a fortnight. This is a problem for anyone who loves what they do, so my present challenge is stepping away a little and striking a better work/life balance. It’s a work in progress but I love my job.

DB: It seems that you’re very passionate about what you do.

JT: I don’t think I could be more passionate about my job. The building and design industry is exciting, challenging, ever changing and a part of everyone’s lives as they live, work and exist inside the spaces which are created by our industry.

DB: Aside from your job, what else are you passionate about?

JT: Another real passion for me, which I have had since I was young, is recycling and upcycling. I think we waste so much and in general, all of us what to be environmentally aware. The building industry is responsible for a large chunk of raw material consumption, which can affect the environment in many ways. It is, however, also one of the fastest acting industries adapting to change this situation, and turn environmental choices and advances in technology into new products and systems, allowing everyone to live and work in a more sustainable way.

It’s very exciting to be working in the building and design arena, and for this reason, I was so excited to come on board with Planet Ark as their newest ambassador. This allows me to use my knowledge, passion and profile to increase people’s environmental awareness, as well as making them aware that we can all have a positive effect on our surroundings, even in a small way.

Me being part of Planet Ark and joining their dedicated and hardworking team was a very natural step for me and combines my passion and my work, into something I believe in.

DB: Aside from owning your own business, what’s your greatest personal achievement?

JT: [My greatest achievement is] to be told by your son that he wants to be just like you when he grows up! These are words that make everything else sink away.

I believe if we can inspire young people, and show them, by our actions – not tell them, to try and inspire them to become better people, be themselves and believe in themselves, then this is our best work.

DB: You’ve definitely inspired a lot of people within the industry with the work that you do, but who inspires YOU?

JT: I am fortunate to be involved with students at the South Western Sydney Institute, Lidcombe TAFE, SWSi. This allows me to meet emerging students as well as be involved in open days through the year. This is a great opportunity for me to see fresh, eager and open minded students who are about to enter the industry and they inspire me.

I always feel excited and very positive when I see how talented they are and the amazing knowledge of technology and skills they possess. It sounds funny, as of course I have designers whose work I follow and they are my hero but it’s the honesty and eagerness of these students, which really gets me excited!

DB: You’ve tackled a lot to get to where you are now but what are you afraid of?

JT: This is a big question! I think I’m most afraid of not having enough time! Time is not my friend. I wish days could be longer so I could get everything I need to do done.

DB: Lastly, for someone aspiring to be you or who you are within the industry, what advice would you give them?

JT: Be yourself. Don’t copy others. Don’t let people tell you you’re not good enough. And most importantly, be honest with yourself and work hard!

We can all be better, we can all learn – I’m still learning new things all the time even though I teach others. Never be afraid to say ‘I Don’t Know’, but go away and make sure you learn the answer so for next time, you’ll know!

To find out more about James Treble and his work, visit www.jamestreble.com

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