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April 26, 2017, 06:59 PM

The tall boy behind TallBoy Interiors ready for his first SALVO

By Sara Morel

Matt Dixon of TallBoy Interiors

©TallBoy Interiors
©TallBoy Interiors
©TallBoy Interiors

West Yorkshire, UK - At 6' 4" and just 19 when he started his business, some may have described Matt Dixon as a tall boy. Coupled with the handy reference to a piece of antique furniture, TallBoy Interiors was born. I interviewed Matt ahead of his first SALVO fair.

What do you know about Salvo? What should we look for from TallBoy Interiors at SALVO 2017? 

I have heard great things about Salvo. It is a showcase of a huge array of fine quality antiques and architectural salvage. The variety of items there was my biggest draw. I have been wanting to do it since I started but I also wanted to get a look together that would show people who and what TallBoy Interiors is. I want to bring a theatrical and totally unique look to SALVO 2017 so that at the end of the fair everyone who has visited will remember who TallBoy Interiors is… and that is a Tall, young and creative lad from Yorkshire with a lot of passion for the business.

You believe that dressing your home should be as personal as the way you dress yourself.  How would you describe your personal style, both at home and with the way you dress?

In a few words…Mismatched but works. I like to try different pieces, patterns, colours, ages etc. Nothing needs to match for it to work necessarily. I can wear a paisley shirt with black jeans, lime green striped socks and worn brogues just as I can put 21st century wall paper up in a room and fill it with a country house sofa, an Afghan rug, mid century lighting and lamps with 17th century portraits. The mixture is what makes me me and I love to have a conversation piece in all rooms that just looks so out of place that everyone must know why it is there. Design is all about enjoyment and being inspired to create.

Who do you follow on Instagram for style and interior inspiration?

Because my style is very varied I am inspired by quite a number of people. For the quirky and unusual I follow The London School for Scandal and Harry Diamond Antiques both of which are run by great guys who I have met on numerous occasions. A I have said I try to mix ages of items together to give a different look which I find Blighty Antiques and Obsolete Inc do very well. I follow a lot of other great people that have exceptional taste and I think its important to look at what others sell even if it is pieces that wouldn't usually grab my attention. It is a great way to learn.

How did you discover Antiques Young Guns and when did you become a member? 

I found AYG a couple of years back after it was mentioned to me by a number of other dealers. It looked to have a great following so thought I would sign up and see what happened. Now I have a free stand at SALVO 2017 so I would say it was worth it.

How has being a member helped Tallboy Interiors? 

AYG is a great group and I always recommend it to other young dealers looking for help as a start up. They work extremely hard and very closely with their members but mainly those in the south as its easier to get them together and organise the pop up shops which are usually in London. There isn't anywhere near as many dealers in the north so less tends to happen up here. But what I do know is Chloe from Molly and Mauds, Edd from AYG and myself are trying to arrange more up here in the future as we do have a great selection of dealers with gorgeous items that don't really get the support they deserve.

Is there a trend in the pieces you are currently sourcing?  

I'm currently loving old english country house. The colours, fabrics and size of the pieces made up to the late 19th century are so attractive and seem to sit well in any home. I think the quality of manufacture is much higher than other periods as the country as a whole was becoming wealthier so people were spending more money to have the best. More and more great designers were also beginning to appear which now have a strong value amongst purists and enthusiasts.

What is the future for buying and selling antiques? Online, social media, fairs, auctions, stores…?

What works well for me is having a social media and an online presence. Mainly because it opens you up to a world of customers not just those in a local area. It is hard to predict where we will be in the future for both buying and selling antiques as there will always be a small population of people that would want to handle and see a piece before they commit to purchasing but more and more people are starting to sell online only making it far more likely that people will buy from there as well. The overheads of a website are massively lower than a physical shop and buying online is much less hassle than going out to do it and that is a very big draw to people especially those who cannot get to places or for example overseas buyers who do not have anywhere in their country that sells the pieces we do.

Is the eco-friendly side of antiques in that their environmental cost has already been paid an important consideration for antique dealers to attract young buyers?

I think as dealers we are all aware that antiques are green and is a great selling point that does attract a lot extra customers, but I wouldn't say all young. The main thing that attracts younger buyers like myself is that the pieces you can buy that are of a high quality are still significantly cheaper than any high street retailer of modern furniture. I say it quite often when trying to convince potential buyers that old is better that if you look at the price of a table and 6 chairs from modern furniture shop each chair will be a minimum if £100 each plus a £500 table making it £1100 and it will be made from cheap vinyl covered plywood whereas me and well…any dealer would be able to find and sell them a similar dining set made of solid wood from the 19th century for around half that price. It would certainly last longer. I know people prefer to buy in these places because of the way the pieces look and an antique may not have that sleek minimalist design that they are after but there will be a similar designed antique or vintage table out there and it will be cheaper.

You buy what you personally like, so there must be something (or many things..) you found particularly hard to part with once sold.  Does a single piece stand out? 

Haha this is very appropriate as no more than a couple of weeks ago I finally found a very large painting of a moose that was ideal for my bedroom wall. To give you context I have been searching for a piece of modern art for 2 years to fill this large space. So as you can imagine I was thrilled to finally have found something that was absolutely perfect. I had it hung and on show within the hour after getting it back. It was so good I thought I would post a picture on Instagram just to see if there would be any interest should in the future I choose to sell it. I marked it clearly as not for sale but that didn't stop a gentleman ringing very promptly asking for details. He was a really nice guy and like myself had been after a large piece of art for a while and he made me an offer that I couldn't really turn down. Unfortunately in this business everything has a price! I was sad to see it go and that space is still empty but the fun really is the hunt so I am back searching and I'm sure something similar will come up again…eventually.

Tell me more about Vault 21.  Where do you hope to take it and how does it compliment Tallboy Interiors? 

Vault 21 has been something I have wanted to do for sometime but I was waiting until I had a good following to launch it properly. Which I did only a month or so ago. It was an idea that came to me when I used to do photography as a job. I would take hundreds of pictures and edit them and make them as interesting as artwork but very few galleries seemed to appreciate it and I thought there must be a large number of artists out there who are in the same boat who do really unusual amazing things but don't have a platform to launch themselves from. So what I want Vault 21 to be is a celebration of all art from every period which is where the link to TallBoy Interiors comes in. I will be mixing art from ancient times with pieces done last week and it will sit well and be shown off equally meaning there should be a piece for everyone. It took me 2 years of constant work to get TallBoy where it is now so I know that it wont be a success overnight but with constant support from me and exciting artists over time it will be.

You studied interior design. Can taste be taught? And do you recommend any particular courses or tips for young people looking to get into the industry? 

It isn't so much taste that the course teaches you as taste is a very personal thing, but what it does give you is an understanding of design periods. For example what influences what. The Neoclassical period which started in the mid 18th century was inspired by ancient antiquity and the Grand tour continued this design period into the 19th century. Then the ancient antiquity influence came back shortly after the discovery of Tutankamon's tomb and inspired the 1920's and 30's. It seems a lot of what happens in the world influence fashion and maybe that is why people say the current trend for country house comes from the TV series Downton Abbey. The course teaches you supposed rules of design. For example what compliments what and although you can't argue with what they say it isn't necessarily the only way to design. As I have said previously I would happily place items of different ages together and know that if its done properly they would look stunning together.

So I suppose my advice for young people (although I'm only 21 myself) would be to take on board everything that the experts are saying and with that understanding of what works and influences design go away and be creative and try new things and take a step away from convention and have fun with it. Design is a personal thing and only you yourself will know what you like. If you are working with a client it is always worth creating a few mood boards to show them options. One for the design they said they would like, one that you think would work and then one that incorporates elements of theirs with areas that you could improve upon. Be wary though the client does have to live with the finished product so listen to what they like and don't like.

Tallboy Interiors

Sara Morel, Reclaimed Woman

Salvo Fair

SALVO 2017
TallBoy Interiors

Story Type:  News

ID: 99944

Date Modified: April 27, 2017, 03:25 PM

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