London-born Neale Whitaker may be best known as the stylish judge on Nine’s Logie-winning smash hit series The Block and as Co-Host of Lifestyles Channel’s number one series Love it or List it, but he also boasts a hugely successful international publishing career.
Neale has edited some of the most respected lifestyle magazines in the world, including Vogue Living, Vogue Entertaining + Travel, Belle, Delicious and Food Illustrated. Neale is also a weekly columnist for News Corp’s Stellar in the Sunday Telegraph (NSW), Sunday Herald Sun (VIC) and Sunday Mail (QLD).
His extensive knowledge and experience have made him a respected and popular media personality in Australia. In 2019, Love It or List It Australia returns for a third series, and The Block for Neale’s 12th season with the show.
Why do you feel Luxaflex is the right fit for your personal brand?
Luxaflex is a brand with great integrity, and one that I’ve admired and respected since my days as a magazine editor. Working as I do today in the interior design world, I trust Luxaflex for the quality and innovation of its window coverings. The Luxaflex range is fashion-forward – especially in its use of technology – but it retains a timeless sense of style that makes it the ideal choice for a broad range of interiors and aesthetics. I guess all of those qualities combined make Luxaflex a perfect fit for me!
How have you seen the role of window coverings in interior design evolve over the years?
I think the role of window coverings has evolved with the greater emphasis on indoor/outdoor living in contemporary homes, and with a better understanding of the transformative effect of light. Add to that the benefits of energy efficiency, temperature regulation and privacy control, and it’s easy to see why window coverings have become a priority. Light has the ability to transform a room and change its mood, and that is particularly relevant to us here in Australia where natural light is abundant but often harsh. To my mind, window coverings are one of the key choices in any interior design scheme, from both an aesthetic and functional perspective.
What is the importance of light control in home design?
I’m obsessed with light – I make no apology for it! To me, light is one of the most important factors in creating the mood and ambience of a space, whether it’s residential or commercial. Correct lighting is as vital in the home as it is in shops, offices or the workplace. Sitting in a restaurant where the lighting is either too dark or too bright is an unpleasant experience – why should our homes be any different? The ability to control both natural and artificial lighting in the home improves its functionality – and quality of life!
As interior design trends continue to change, what are your tips for future proofing your blind choices?
The Luxaflex range is fashion-forward in its use of technology, design and materials, but from an aesthetic perspective, the range – to me - feels timeless. That’s one of the things I like most about the Luxaflex brand and what makes it the perfect choice for a wide range of aesthetics. Trends will always come and go, but the right window coverings can be a perfect backdrop for almost any look. For guaranteed future proofing, I would always opt for clean, simple lines in neutral shades. To my mind that’s a great investment in style.
When it comes to window coverings, what do you think the benefits are of opting for custom made vs. DIY?
Opting for custom-made blinds or awnings means you get the added benefit of expert advice and support which is vital, especially in the planning stage of a new build or reno. The trained Luxaflex professionals will consider factors that are often overlooked, such as window positioning, structural and electrical requirements and energy efficiency. They will ensure you end up with the best window covering solution for your space and that your blinds fit perfectly.
What are your views on home automation and how do you think it has impacted the way we live today?
Home automation has crept up on us over the past few years but it’s definitely here to stay. New builds are almost universally ‘smart’ homes, and many of us are choosing to update our homes with technology and automation. They’re very much part of life. Whether we’re asking Alexa for weather advice, downloading recipes to our refrigerators or installing automated blinds and awnings, technology at the push of a button – or via an app - is synonymous with modern living. What might once have been seen as a luxury, is now viewed – sensibly – as a means of improving functionality, efficiency and security. It’s hard to imagine interior design today without home automation.
What do you foresee as being the next big interior design trend to emerge?
I’m not a great believer in trends, probably because I tend to think of them as ephemeral. I prefer to focus on how lifestyle evolves and the way in which design reflects that. I think we are definitely going to see a greater emphasis on technology and automation in the home, and as more of us opt for smaller spaces, there will be an increased demand for multi-functional furniture design. In Australia I’m seeing a growing focus on the creation of outdoor ‘rooms’ that can increase the footprint and value of our homes, and the emergence of self-contained spaces and studios in larger homes. This perhaps acknowledges that young people are living at home for longer, and families are becoming more blended and multi-generational – not to mention the rising popularity of Airbnb!