Three Balls Red meets: Tim Neve

An interior stylist, author, designer and educator, Tim Neve is one of the most exciting names in Australian design.

Needless to say, The Three Balls Red team were thrilled to work with the talented Novacastrian on our new showroom bedroom display, showcasing pieces from his latest collection, Muse. We sat down with Tim to talk about the inspirations behind Muse, the importance of investing in quality artisanal pieces and his tips for styling a hotel-style bedroom and renovating a home.

Congratulations on your Muse collection.
It's truly beautiful. What were your inspirations?

Thank you! It takes around two to three years for me to create each textile collection. The research and concept phase is always the longest part as there’s always ideas brewing. For Muse, I looked to ancient architecture and mythology. I mixed arch motifs with feminine forms in a palette of warm and earthy clay tones. Interestingly, I have a little note on my iPhone that I wrote down the last time I was in Athens. As I looked at the inspiring architecture, I jotted down words like ‘mosaic’ ‘urns’ faces’ - all of which became patterns in the final collection all of these years later.

We love that the cushions, throws and art is all handmade in Australia. Do you think that globally, there’s a renewed appreciation for handcrafted pieces as opposed to mass produced homewares. If so, why do you believe this so?

When I first starting designing textiles (Muse is my fourth collection) I approached it from an interior decorating perspective so the base cloths are always high-quality, and the production method is custom, local and handmade. This of course increases the price point, which is accepted in our industry. What I didn’t expect is to see such a big shift in the mainstream market in Australia in recent years. My designs are no longer thought of as ‘expensive’ but simply as investment, quality pieces. I think we had a few years of low-price point (low quality) homewares in the mainstream market and all quickly realised that these ’trendy' items didn’t last and made all of our homes look the same! I’m glad we all take a moment now to consider our purchases, where they come from and how they are made (including the design itself).

How would you describe your own personal aesthetic? 

This is a cliqued response but it is true - my style is always evolving. In the past, I have been known for my relaxed, tactile aesthetic so it’s often an evolution of that and kind of inspired by nature itself. I teach interior decorating for Design School these days, and when I do a ’show and tell’ for my students of past work, they always comment how interesting it is to see the style evolve over the years. I wouldn’t have it any other way, though. I can’t stop creating - and can’t wait to see what the years and decades ahead will bring. Who knows!

As a stylist, author and designer, what are your top tips for styling a bedroom like a luxe hotel or serene sanctuary?

 I love making a bed! It’s one of the best jobs as a stylist. Layering different textures in bed linen and contrasting patterns and colour to create a unique palette. I always choose natural fibres like 100 per cent linen for sheeting, and steer clear of white sheets - opting for a natural, oatmeal colour for my base instead. Of course, a throw is always the finishing touch - but don’t work too hard to contrive the look [they are called ’throws’ for a reason!].

Are there any faux pas when it comes to styling bedrooms?

At the end of the day, we really only need one pillow to rest our heads on, so if your cushion count is getting into the double digits - it might be time for a cull.

What are your main influences when styling a space?

 More and more, I’m drawn to spaces with interesting architectural features and strong natural light. The more open and inviting you can make a space, the better. Once I have that backdrop sorted, it’s all about layering - each and every furniture piece down to the smallest homeware has to work with each other in terms of materiality. As soon as you change one piece, it can throw off the whole scheme, so it’s a continual process of mixing and matching until you get it ‘just right’.

You have renovated your own properties. What is one renovation tip you could share with our clients?

Don’t be timid. My most Insta-worthy renovation was the Bay Haus bathroom that I executed in bold terrazzo wall tiles, brass tapware and a peach concrete basin. Even I had to stop and think for a moment if it was ’too much’ as so often we hear that we have to be neutral or play it safe for resale value. However, the bold choices went on to basically viral-status online, shared so many times and featured in international design magazines. It really struck a chord. When the time came to sell the Bay Haus, someone who loved that style became the perfect new owner, loving the look as much as I did when I created it. The lesson - go with your instinct.

What are some of your biggest interiors/home decor splurge to date?

 In recent years I’ve started to invest more in art. When I was younger, I would have filled my walls with DIY art or mass-produced pieces, but now I see the value in a real artisan piece. So far, it’s mainly limited-edition prints that I’ve got my hands on, but would love to commission a piece from some of my favourite artists in the future. There’s nothing nicer than using art as a starting point for an interior scheme - pulling out the colour, textures and shapes to create an entire room. There’s a great gang of Aussie artists at the moment producing amazing works, which are perfect for interiors. We are spoilt for choice.

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