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Interview

Style your home with Dixie Mirowski

Sarah Howden
13th Oct. '21

When independent design store Catalog launched in 2012 it fast become the go to in the Capital for contemporary interiors inspiration. Now in their new, larger home on Raeburn Place, complete with a stunning array of carefully curated homeware available, we catch up with owner Dixie Mirowski

What do you think has made Catalog so unique and how has your store evolved over the past decade?

We founded Catalog when many of Edinburgh’s established and original contemporary design stores were closing. When setting up Catalog, we travelled down to London to check out similar businesses and were shocked as to how many of them you could walk around without so much as a hello from staff. It was a disappointing experience and we knew we had to be the antithesis of this.

Our main goal was and is to show beautiful interiors, from furniture to accessories, but within a welcoming and approachable environment. I think what makes Catalog different is we do really want to help and inspire – hopefully this resonates with customers.

Our offering has evolved too. We started with a few Italian and Danish collections; since then we have grown and work with a varied range of manufacturers from all over Europe.

Combining our product offering with a shopping environment, we work with customers to find something they absolutely love, something they have been searching for and often never knew was possible, or help translate their vision into interiors reality.

There’s definitely a skill involved in transforming a room with interiors into something special. Tell us more about your design service!

Our design service is an integral part of the business. Many of our items are intended to be a once in a lifetime purchase so expert advice throughout that purchase process is often essential. We offer a wide range of services. From home visits, full site surveys, designing furniture layouts with product ideas to designing bespoke storage solutions (we have amazing wardrobes and modular systems, all made in Italy) or just helping to transform one room, our team are flexible and love this part of the job.

Online shopping for interiors has never been more popular, we love your website..

Thank you! The new website was a labour of love which we tackled during lockdown, but it was definitely worth it as the digitisation of interior design is here to stay. The new Catalog site is much fresher, more visual and allows for online purchases which have been incredibly popular. We deal with so much product across dozens of collections, we’ll never have everything online. But we are still adding and expanding the selection, showcasing a sizeable chunk of what we have. Importantly, the new website also acts as a product library of sorts and a place for interior inspiration. This can be the start of your interiors journey.

Where do you get your interior / design inspiration from?

My life is saturated with interior inspiration. Even when I’m away from work and the constant exposure to new products, collections and ideas, I’ll find myself looking through interior magazines or scrolling Instagram or Pinterest. I just can’t help myself! I don’t think I’m ever actively looking for inspiration, but I do like to see what’s happing in the industry.

What interior trends are big right now and which ones are you loving?

We really try to avoid trends at Catalog as we strive to stock items that have a more timeless appeal. Having said that, we’ve definitely fallen in love with bouclé fabric. It’s a trend for sure, but such a wonderfully textured and durable fabric that we just had to embrace it. Cosy and cuddly and just right for the Scottish climate!

What are your top tips for transforming a room without spending a fortune?

I suppose I would start with the bones of the room. You have to have good flooring and nice walls as no amount of plants or beautiful cushions will conceal that. I do fully believe in doing things gradually though – allow a room to evolve naturally. So, if you can’t afford to buy everything at once, don’t let that get you down. Know what you want the end result to look like (or come to us for design inspiration!) and then take your time, adding slowly and when you can afford it. And lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the process.

Investment interior splurge or affordable seasonal sprees?

I think you have to balance this, just as you would a good outfit. Always try and splurge on the pieces that are going to take the most impact and wear such as sofas, chairs, and beds. You can spend less on occasional furniture and soft furnishings that are likely to follow a trend.

Whatever your budget it’s important to be aware of a product’s origins or manufacturing quality. In the homes and interiors sector, there is a huge volume of items readily available to consumers but, for me, the scariest thing is how some brands are getting so good at concealing or glossing over a product’s origins or how or where it’s been made. We talk all the time about throw away fashion and there’s a real revolt there – but the same thing is happening in the interiors industry. Poor quality furniture and lighting is flooding the marketplace.

When you’re not living and breathing interiors, what do you love doing?

This sounds awful, but at the moment I’m all consumed with work. Our shop move from St Stephen Place to Raeburn Place has been transformational for Catalog and we’re just trying our best to keep up and to make sure that each and every customer experience is as wonderful as possible. This is no mean feat with the various battles we’re fighting, from Brexit related issues to COVID related delays and all the supply chain issues in between!

When I do manage to get some down time, I’m working out with my personal trainer in Leith Links or hanging out with my daughter. I’ve also started going to Trib3 which is located just upstairs from Catalog – it’s a pretty cool workout experience.

Where’s your favourite Edinburgh haunt for drinks?

I haven’t been out in forever and I do need to rediscover the city post-lockdown. But I’ve always loved The Bon Vivantin Thistle Street for cocktails and Hoot The Redeemer is super fun too. I’ll take a prosecco or an Espresso Martini please!

Tell us your three favourite independents

Narrowing it down to three is hard as Edinburgh has so many amazing independents! I’d say Dean Jones for hair, he is so talented and an absolute perfectionist. For clothes, I love the range at vegan fashion retailer Treen which is based in our old St Stephen Place. Owner Cat Anderson has amazing style and I adore everything she picks. Treen is all about creating a killer wardrobe without killing the planet, and I love that. Lastly, for eats it has to be Considerit. They do the most incredible donuts and more, plus everything is marvellously vegan.

Which 3 women inspire you and why?

Some of my favourite women and those who captivate me the most are in the music business. I absolutely love Rosin Murphy; I once squealed upon meeting her at Rockness and she was so lovely! I also think Christine and the Queens is brilliant. Both she and Roisin were doing such cool and creative things on their Instagram during various lockdowns and it was so fun to see that natural and non-choreographed side of them.

My go-to account on Instagram is @ilemartini. She has brilliant and informative stories, she’s curious, investigative and a real marketing pro. She has exquisite taste too, a natural flair and great eye for colour and interiors.

Best thing about living in Edinburgh

I love the scale of Edinburgh and the fact that nothing is too far away. I also love that you can get to the beach or get out of the city pretty quickly. You can’t beat our parks; the Meadows and Princes Street Gardens on a sunny day are just spectacular. We’re so spoiled with awesome independents too.

Advice you’d give your younger self

To stand up for what you want in life and follow your gut. And maybe don’t study Law! Having said that, I hadn’t taken that degree at Aberdeen University then I would never have met all the wonderful friends I still have today. So, I guess, everything does happen for a reason.

Looking for design inspiration? You can visit Catalog Interiors showroom at Raeburn Place or check out their website: Catalog Interiors | Edinburgh, Scotland

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