Inside the Colourful Inner City Flat Where Artists Josh & Matt Create Their Designs
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we take a tour through the inner Melbourne apartment of Josh & Matt, the artists, creative partnership and real-life couple behind one of our favourite TikTok accounts.
You know that saying: ‘This is where the magic happens’? Well, this apartment in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD is truly where the magic happens when it comes to Josh & Matt Design, an art and homewares partnership run by this super creative couple.
For the last five months, the social media-famous duo have created all of the pieces that you’ve seen on their Instagram and TikTok – candles, artwork, homewares, wall hangings, all rental-friendly, colourful and full of fun – out of their home.
The pair moved to Melbourne in February and fell in love with this inner city flat because of its space to create, its soaring windows and its second-to-none view over the city. “When we saw the curved windows in the living area capturing the views of Melbourne, we were completely sold,” the pair explain.
Now, less than half a year into living in the apartment, Josh and Matt share that they have never felt more at home. The couple have filled the space with a cacophony of colour, art and design: Pink Clay and Turmeric sheets from Bed Threads, twin squidgy red armchairs by Togo, a 1993 Vilbert chair, a Memphis Milano squash tray and a custom desk from Curated Spaces. There’s also countless objects and pieces sourced from Instagram, vintage stores, Facebook Marketplace and fellow designers.
“We usually gravitate towards colour, postmodern design and interesting materiality,” they say. “We don’t worry too much about making sure everything fits a specific style, it really is just a blend of a lot of different eras and styles meshed together with our own flair.”
That being said, Josh and Matt advise making a style or a mood board for your home broken down into the following categories: colour, materality and form. “This will help you find unexpected decor and furniture pieces that tie into the style you’re aiming for,” they say, no matter the room you’re designing. Their top tip? Always look up. “Your ceiling… is often forgotten but it can really help balance out your room,” they explain. “Creating a focal point draws the eye up, making your room feel taller and larger than it is!”
Hi Josh & Matt! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
Hello! We make all types of art for the home with a focus on everything being rental friendly and one of a kind. From hanging mobiles to wall sculptures and candles, we enjoy making a range of art.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
Making to us has always been about reflecting who we are. We really enjoy experimenting with materiality and colour, which has allowed us to create quite a diverse range of home decor. We both have quite playful personalities, which is reflected in the designs we create.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
Last year during Covid we were stuck inside a lot and this really highlighted the importance of our home reflecting who we are. This led us to start creating a whole bunch of art and develop a passion for interior design. It was this blend of creating art and our interior design journey that inspired us to start Josh & Matt Design.
We realised the way we wanted to decorate our apartment was quite unique and there seemed to be a lot of interest in our decor style. We designed our first hanging mobile after we couldn't find a rental friendly version in our style and this eventually led to our whole rental friendly decor range. We always knew we wanted to pursue a creative career, but didn’t quite know how that would look. We couldn't be happier with the outcome!
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
A lot of our ideas come from what we feel is missing from our own apartment. For example, one of our recent art designs is the supernova downlight cover. This was born from the realisation there was no real way to make downlights interesting. Our creative process often involves breaking designs down into modular components. This helps us think of our designs in higher detail and provide our customers with a great range of customisation options.
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to further your business?
It’s definitely sharing our art with the world! We decided to start our TikTok account to show our art and design journey when we moved to Melbourne in February. We showed everything from our experimentation phase to packaging design and packing orders, and we've quickly found a large art and design community from all around the world. This allowed us to share our designs, get feedback and find others who love our style as much as we do.
What’s been the most challenging lesson learnt so far in your business?
Don’t get too attached to your original designs; you need to be open to change and improvements. The design process is often a windy road and isn't always straightforward so the sooner you allow yourself to be open to change, the quicker you’ll create your best version.
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your business?
Discovering and building an online community full of art and design lovers. We didn’t expect we’d have such a following on our artistic journey but it’s been the most amazing ride and we’re so grateful.
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?
Be true to who you are and try not to let outside opinions influence you too much. No one can be you better than you can, and there’s a whole world of people out there who want to see what you have to offer.
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
It’s only been five months. It’s still quite fresh but we’re super happy with the setup and we’ve never felt more at home.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
We couldn’t change too much as this is a rental but one of the biggest changes we’ve made is removing nearly all our doors and putting them in storage. It’s crazy how much extra space this has given us and really opened up our apartment. We also converted our second bedroom into a TV room — we covered the mirrored wardrobe with a pair of IKEA curtains and it really helped transform the room.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
We like to look at our furniture and decor pieces as individual sculptures. This helped us think about how the colour, materiality and form of each item would interact with one another. We have surrounded ourselves with objects that we love, a lot of them being second hand finds from Facebook Marketplace, Instagram curators and vintage stores.
What are your favourite pieces in the home?
This is a hard one, we have a few — we’re obsessed with the comfort and iconic design of our Togos, we love our Memphis Milano squash tray, our 1993 Vilbert chair holds a special place in our heart and lastly our custom desk from Curated Spaces designed by Jack & Mark Fearon.
Shop Josh & Matt's look with Pink Clay and Turmeric in our Build Your Own Bundle.
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
We have a comprehensive list! We love Gufram and would love to own a Pratone and Cactus one day, we think the Ultrafragola mirror would look stunning in our apartment, and we really want to expand on our Memphis Milano collection.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
We’d have to say the TV room — having a full glass corner room feels super special and being able to watch Netflix with the view of Melbourne behind the TV never gets old.
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
We’ve just released our second art collection for the home which was really exciting and included a bunch of new designs. There is no time to rest though; we already have some new things we’re working on. We’ve recently started exploring 3D printing so get ready for some super exciting new art and decor coming in the near future!