Fox & Dinky house, Bendigo
Bland is a dull word. Boring, colourless and lacking in character. And it’s a word that probably fits the majority of rental properties with their safe colour palettes and don’t-rock-the-boat fixtures. But, with some clever styling your rental pad doesn’t have to stay that way.
One of my new favourites on The Junk Map is Fox & Dinky, a small business making art furniture in regional Victoria. Ash and Rustin’s love of colour and creative upcycling is showcased beautifully in their rented home in Bendigo, and is a great example of using junk-style bits and pieces to warm up a contemporary space.
Very few Australians live in one house for a lifetime and a competitive real estate market has slowly leached personality out of houses that are destined for resale. How many safe white kitchens and bathrooms have you seen in recent years? But, it seems times are slowly changing and we are starting to see designers working unusual textures and materials into walls and permanent fittings.
Hopefully that trend will continue to grow but in the meantime there is plenty of room for experimentation and fun with unusual furniture and vintage decor.
Upcycling may be a trendy new buzzword but visually-oriented people have been doing it naturally for generations. They see beauty in something old or discarded and work out a way to make it attractive and useful again. That can mean totally reworking a piece, or simply using it for a new purpose.
Rustin and Ash from Fox & Dinky are masters at turning used furniture into industrial/art masterpieces. But they get bored with only their own work and mix it up with bright soft furnishings, vintage finds and traditional decorator items. Their work may be wildly creative and cool, but you can see how easily it integrates with conventional furnishings.
Never be nervous about buying something a little bit crazy if you really love it. You can always work it into your colour palette; group it with other pieces; make it a feature in the room and build around it; or just keep adding to it until you have a happy eclectic mix.
UPDATE 2015: Fox & Dinky have been moving around for a couple of years and don’t currently have a retail space.