As happens all the time in the world of social media, I “met” Rustin Simpson and Ash Daxton, best mates and creative partners, on Facebook when they came to have a look at Recylced Interiors and share their fantastic work. They started working together a number of years ago when they opened a stall in Daylesford. Originally known as ‘Quirky Hollows’, their bold and quirky mix of furniture and homewares made them stand out.
They told me that they quickly grew to 5 stalls, then their own shop which sadly was lost to fire a few years ago. Since then they’ve been selling here and there on eBay. Recently, they decided it was time to launch their very own website/ boutique store and to reinvent their name and brand, that’s when they became ‘fox & dinky’! They are all about coming up with progressive, fun designs for furniture, lighting and decor. They love colour and aren’t afraid to use it! They aim to be as resourceful as possible, reusing old things in completely new ways.
How did you come up with the name?
The name is the result of lots of brainstorming and is simply a combination of words that made us feel good! It has personality, colour and appeal. We also both like foxes (sorry farmers!), they’re cheeky, clever and cute! Dinky’s remind us both of our childhoods. That’s that fox-tale in a nutshell!
When did you first decide to get involved with upcycling and furniture making and what inspired you?
We first began reworking furniture etc all those years ago when we opened our first market stall. It was purely for the fun of it. We never planned on being ‘upcyclers’, and we don’t see ourselves as that, more like ‘Furniture Artists’. We just wanted to create some of the ideas that were in our heads. We’ve both always been extremely creative and have both created a number of artworks that have been sold and displayed over the years. Shifting our designs to furniture happened so organically that we didn’t even realize until we had taken off!
Neither of us were inspired by anyone in-particular, creativity has always been the chore of our existences.
We’re all about progression, our name, our brand, our skills and our unique designs. We aim to always create the very best we can and stay 10 steps ahead. We have so so many designs in the works… so many, so little time.
Do you have particular qualifications or skills from past work that have led you here or have you undertaken any courses?
We each have 15+ years of experience in the areas of Customer Service, Furniture Design, Lighting Design, Interior Styling, Visual Merchandising etc. We both made the same decision to avoid ‘art schools’ as neither of us wanted our personal artistic styles to be swayed, and both very happy with that decision. The majority of what we do is self taught, lots of experimenting, lots of mistakes! But by learning this way we’ve been able to get to where we are now and create what we love.
What does a typical day look like for you when you are out looking for things to upcycle and who comes up with the ideas?
A typical day can vary, if we’re not out traveling here there and everywhere looking for special components, we can be found in our workshop. It’s not big or fancy but we manage to create everything we can think of in there! Luckily we both come up with designs, do rebuilds and repairs and do our special (& very secret) painted finishes.
We never stop thinking of new designs and ideas, it’s not uncommon for us to still be in the workshop at 2am tinkering away. We do take breaks from the tools, mainly to go walking with our beautiful Bull-Arab named Kindred. She’s our Supervisor, usually from the comfort of her bed!
People are very interested in upcycling and reclaiming old pieces themselves which is a focus of Recycled Interiors – do you have any tips for people when they are out treasure hunting in terms of what to look for?
That’s a simple one, you have to get the items that ‘speak to you’. We never go out with the focus of who or what we want to be like, we just go for what we feel drawn to. If we are not being true to ourselves and our own designs then the final product won’t reflect us or ‘fox & dinky’.
And do you recommend any particular eco friendly products in upcycling furniture for example, paint and finishes?
The ‘eco’ element of our work is the broken pieces of furniture we save from landfill, the bits of industrial and farm scraps that we work into our designs & so on. There are countless products that we use, but much of the time we create our own mixes, paints and colours as well as sealers. We’ve tried almost everything on the market. End of the day, nothing gets a better result than good ol’ fashioned hard work. We believe the products to help shortcut steps are never as good as they claim. Get stuck-in, get covered in sanding dust, paint and have fun!
Do you have any favorite people or sources of inspiration in furniture design and interior decor?
That’s a tricky one… We’re both big fans of Shaynna Blaze, her work is beautiful, clean and ‘real’. As far as being inspired by anyone, the answer would have to be each-other! Always amazed at the ideas, concepts & imagination that the other will come up with at the most random times. We don’t try to follow trends set by the mainstream or magazines, there is so much going on in our heads we often feel like we’ll Explode! The result is many sleepless nights with the gears of design ticking and clunking around
What is a favorite product you are selling right now and how do you see your products fitting into contemporary interiors?
This is a very tricky one! The answer is no, we don’t have a favorite. Each piece we create is unique and is a part of us and our creative process. Our ‘DeKonstrukt’ dining table is a one of a kind, but so is our ‘Swingbang’ pendant light and our ‘Bronx’ sideboard (just to name a few)… we love them all as much as each-other and it’s actually very hard to see our pieces go when the customer or courier arrives.
We know that our pieces work perfectly in with modern and contemporary interiors. We’ve delivered countless pieces to customers in Melbourne and we get to see our creations in-situ in some amazing apartments and penthouses. Often these spaces can be a bit clinical and plain. Adding a vintage piece that’s been completely reworked helps to add some much needed grit, character and colour to these spaces. If it’s a piece the customer loves then the piece becomes a part of them and their home! We often comment to each-other of the ideal house/ space we see certain pieces in. It’s all part of the fun!
What is your decorating style?
Hmm… our decorating style at home, I’d have to say eclectic. I know it’s probably an over used word these days but it’s the only word that covers all bases! Our home has elements of gritty Industrial, Urban, Quirky, Modernist, Rustic, Australiana… if we like it we incorporate it into our home. To us that’s what makes it work. Each piece has either been created by us or sourced by us or discovered on one of our travels. Our home reflects us, fun, daring, adventurous, spontaneous & bold! We know it’s not for everyone, but to us it’s home.
What are your plans from here for the business?
The plan for ‘fox & dinky’ is to launch our website on September 1st. We’re just a small boutique business so it’s all about baby-steps. Over the next year we hope to steadily build our customer base and to continue progressing our designs. When we feel the time is right we will definitely be opening a ‘fox & dinky’ shop! We learned a lot with our last shop and the ideas are already in place to make the next one even better. We also have plans and designs in the works for getting our own original designs produced in limited numbers to sell in our shop. Not mainstream mass produced, more like limited editions of our creations so even more people will be able to take home a piece of fox & dinky. One step at a time, we’ll make it happen!