Tim has to be up there as one of the friendliest people in design. After 18 years as a director at Linley, he started his own eponymous studio in 2005 and quickly gained a reputation for creating the exquisite, turning his hand to both furniture design and interiors. After having recently started his own restoration project on a Chateau no less, we thought we were long overdue a catchup!
What or whom has inspired your design choices?
Life is really the one that’s inspiring my choice of design. I don’t mean that in a weird way its just that I’m always introduced to a new exhibition or a conversation where someone shows me a designer I don’t know and I get taken into a totally magical adventure of learning to see the world from a different design point. I’m fascinated by history and classicism so much of my inspiration is from linking design to those discoveries.
You design both furniture and interiors, what brings you more pleasure?
One and another are intwined – although with furniture you are designing from the detail outwards and in interior design your designing from the big picture inwards – it’s just a different end of the journey, love them both so much.
What is your favourite piece you have designed?
Gosh, what’s my favourite piece – gulp – its like asking me to choose my favourite child – you just can’t! – I’m proud them all. I’m recently most proud of this incredible screen I did for a client where we used straw inlays, and inlays of timbers painted by Robert Wells. It was pure magic as things like this are so difficult to create – a real museum piece.
You have bought and are restoring a château in France, what made you decide to take on this challenge?
Pure madness made Steve and I buy a château …. A wonderful and brilliantly deranged sense of seeking Architectural Arcadia … basically we wanted a restoration project, found this abandoned château, went to see her and totally fell in love … It’s coming up to three years this August but we’ve made massive headway, even during a pandemic. The most incredible thing about the château is her history, over a thousand years of turmoil, and then the part she payed in the second world war is extraordinary culminating in her becoming the HQ for Eisenhower during operation Overlord.
What has been the biggest undertaking in the château to date?
The roof is always the biggest issue in any historic building and it was leaking badly, so two years ago the entire roof was taken off and all the tiles and zinc striped back, strangely it was on the same day that the roof at the Cathedral Notre Dame caught fire. The roofers at ours on that day showed us a tiny piece of zinc with a name of a famous roofer from 1911 on it, who had also done the restoration at Notre Dame … its so remarkable that all these elements connect in the past and the present.
Best kept secret?
Best Kept Secret hey …. Mmmm ….I love making models and playing with trains (yup – I still have a train set which is in pieces but longing to put it up). During the first lock down I built an entire model of the chateau and its grounds so we could design the Italian gardens with the 16 lion head fountains (which we commissioned last year) It’s so nerdy I really don’t talk about it often … p.s longing to buy a large scale train to run round the park at the chateau, that you can sit on – just negotiating rights of way at the moment with Steve!
Top three Instagram accounts you religiously follow.
Volker is a digital artist and his instagram is remarkable .
My Tiny Estate – Dean and Borja and relentless in their energy of restoring an estate.
Georgina is part of the team at English Heritage and Brodsworth Hall and Gardens with Daniel Hale really great help on the park specimens at the château.
Your château is on fire, what one thing do you save?
I would save the painting above the fireplace in the Grand Salon, I figure that as she has survived from 1680 and lasted this long, and she looks fabulous, she deserves to last a lot longer.
Left of field… you are partial to a bit of drag for charity, what has been the best outfit?
Ha ha! Yes – I confess to playing Dame Trott in the last Interior designers Pantomime at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the Westend in 2019 … we raised a huge amount for dear William Yeoward’s Charity Screw Cancer and its a week of sheer terror and hilarity … the tickets sell out overnight but the burnt retina of my heels last a life time … your Heather is defiantly in it next time! No escaping … Cinderella here we come!
What was the best piece of advice you have been given?
The best advice has to always help everyone on the way up. I truly believe in life being a reflection of how you behave – someone once told me to be as generous with your time and self as possible as life will always respect that richness and abundance.
Tims Top Picks from Guinevere
Follow Tim and his fascinating adventures with his Chateau here.