beetle and Wilde-Interiors that Blur the Boundaries between Art, Anatomy, Natural History & Design.
Today's Home Tour is mixed with a little bit about their business, because their home showcases much of what they are about; killer interiors that blur the boundaries between art, anatomy, natural history & design.
Meet beetle and Wilde, a firm favourite of mine ever since I started on Instagram; a rather dark and inky home, filled with all sorts of mid century furniture and curiosities. It really is a master class in pulling together a scheme.
How would you describe what you do?
I'm guessing that's not supposed to be a difficult question but l actually find it quite hard to quantify what l do. Probably because l have a ridiculously low bordom threshold and consequently I'll give anything a go! So it's a kind of moveable feast of interiors styling, item sourcing, selling, buying, learning, making, designing & travelling. So one minute I'm sourcing antlers for Louis Vuitton, the next I'm styling the interior of a boat to look like an autopsy room, and the next I'm covered in mud in a Belgian field arguing in pigeon French over a pair of candlesticks!!
How long have you been in the design/retail industry for?
l started beetle & WILDE at the beginning of 2013 but it was the culmination of a lifetime of work experience & studying. I've had a very varied career to say the least, but I've learned something useful from every weird & random job and it's given me a real insight into how to work with people.
Where are you based?
We were originally based in London but moved to Ramsgate just over a year ago. It's changed the way l work, and we're still renovating, but l love living by the sea!
Having an enormous house to experiment with is lots of very exhausting fun!!
Where do you take inspiration from?
It's a huge cliché, but literally everywhere!! As a design style l would say my skeleton is Mid Century but l flesh that out with an eclectic mix that changes and evolves depending on the season, what I'm working on or studying or where I've been travelling. There's always a huge reference to the natural world though!
What made you want to work with anatomy as a theme?
I've studied science, art & design in equal measures for as long as l can remember. So, it was more of a natural progression than a conscious decision. When it came to pinning down the direction of the business l knew l wanted to work with natural history, but l didn't just want to sell it. I wanted to incorporate it into an interiors aesthetic that elevated it and changed the way people thought about it. Maybe even set up a dialogue between the interior & the exterior - the built and the natural environment. Push people's buttons a little, and of course create kick arse rooms with bite!!
What are the best sellers in your shop at the moment?
Antlers are always our best sellers, small or large, people love them! Any medical anatomy models tend to do really well too, but most things are one off vintage pieces which makes it difficult to quantify in terms of best sellers.
What is the best project you have ever worked on?
It's always the one I'm working on right now! Which at the moment happens to be our house! It's the biggest project to date and so far, and definitely the longest! I've learnt a lot on this one though, mostly that l probably should've been a plumber!!
Where do you like to shop for interior products?
I love flea markets & antique fairs! Rummaging around in the mud with a torch eagerly anticipating coming across something amazing is such a buzz. Although when its cold and wet there's nothing like snuggling up on the sofa in front of the fire and trawling through eBay!
Do you have three "do's" and three "don't(s)" for people decorating at home?
Do take risks & step outside your comfort zone
Do follow your instincts not fashion
Do buy at least some vintage furniture, it's cheaper, better made & kinder to the environment.
Don't skimp on bathroom fixtures (random obsession) invest in gold, brass & copper. It makes your bathroom look amazing!!
Don't use textured wallpaper...Ever! The people who buy your house will curse your name till the end of time!
Don't use oil based white paint inside. It's UV activated so will go yellow if not in direct sunlight & you'll have to paint it every year!! Water based gloss/eggshell is better for you, the house & the environment.
Ok so these maybe my personal demons at the moment but still good advice l think!
Can you offer any advice to a budding interior designer or new retailer?
Yeah, don't do it!
But if you must, do what you love and be prepared to work harder than you ever have before!
The Girl with The Green Sofa