Dig owners Matlock and Johnson move indoors with new shop

When customers walk into the entryway of Dig Inside, the new store at Dig nursery, an oversized blackboard hints at what is inside and states the mission of the store: to offer functional objects graced with inspired design.

Within just a few steps, that design shows itself in items for almost every room of the house and some for outside as well. Smooth, feel-good-on-the-feet wooden rugs lie on the floor; vibrant rounded obelisk candles are clustered into what was the breakfast nook when the shop was a home; red flower pots line the old mantel, and vibrant orange Italian cookware rests on the kitchen counter.

In a corner, cuttings from a eucalyptus tree hold egg-shaped bird feeders, and throughout the store, tucked into its nooks and crannies and spread out on shelves and tables, are glass vases, bowls and paintings; kitchen utensils; a scattering of books; circular glass bird feeders; out-of-the ordinary dishes; indoor-outdoor rugs and houseplants, including an abundance of orchids in full bloom.

Sylvia Matlock and Ross Johnson have owned Dig for the last 13 years and throughout that time listened to their customers’ wishes.

“When you have someone asking you if have something, you find yourself thinking if you should stock it or not,” Matlock said. “You start thinking, ‘Why are we saying no when we could say yes?’”

This store — located in the sturdy, green home that once housed Madigan’s — is Matlock and Johnson’s way of saying “yes.”

Two of the most requested items over the years were rugs and indoor plants, Matlock said, and Dig Inside carries both.

Some of the most durable rugs the store carries are made from Plynyl, woven vinyl, she said, that will last for years.

The houseplants range from enormous to tiny, and Matlock encourages people to use them for their air-cleaning abilities and the life they put into a room.

Matlock believes that Dig and Dig Inside will complement one another well.

“When the nursery dies down, the indoor things heat up,” she said.

She does most of the buying for the store and said buying for Dig Inside is very different than buying for Dig.

“It’s much nicer to be in here in the winter,” she joked, adding that she buys items that appeal to her and that she thinks will appeal to others.

“I try to find things that you don’t see at a big box store,” she said, noting that many Islanders look for things that are a bit different but also practical.

Her favorite category in the store right now is lighting, she said, ranging from simple table lamps to ornate chandeliers that look like they are cut from paper stencils but are made from Tyvek and designed by well-known Dutch designer Tord Boontje.

“I’m hoping people won’t feel intimidated,” she said, her hand resting on an ornate glass chicken, one of the few pieces in the store that is simply decorative. “Just because it is good design does not mean it is not accessible. I want to let people interpret things how they want to interpret them.”

So far the reception has been positive, Matlock said, and she welcomes customer feedback and requests.

“It’s always going to change,” she said. “When we’re done with one thing, it’s time to bring in something new.”

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