Imagine stepping into a natural history museum where everything is for sale. Throughout the shop are plants, statuary, and beautiful containers for indoors and out. There are displays of quartz, amethyst, and fossils.
“We sell beautiful things from nature,” says Jeff Bengtson, owner of Isles Studio. “I have always been obsessed with the natural world and our store aesthetic supports that. We sell real bugs, butterflies, and birds, all of which are ethically sourced; all of our birds died of natural causes.”
Isles Studio is the Minneapolis retail destination for natural history collectibles, artifacts, gifts, and garden and home decor. Bengtson curates a unique environment for exploring curiosities from the natural world and objects inspired by nature, offering the opportunity to enhance your home and garden with beautiful design or to find unique gifts for discerning individuals.
According to Bengtson, interior design has gotten too far away from the natural world. “It seems that good taste can be bought quickly online with very little thought or effort,” he says. “I think adding the unexpected of the natural world brings a refreshing and elegant beauty to a space.”
Isles Studio offers full interior design services, but can also help clients with smaller projects such as styling and staging if they are unsure of how to incorporate certain pieces into a particular space. Beyond that, all of the pieces are also available for rental if stylists are looking for something unusual to help complete a photo shoot, party, or special occasion. Have something to sell? Bengtson says they also buy natural history collections.
The good thing about nature, Bengtson says, is that it is timeless and doesn’t follow trends. Nature can be incorporated into any space, whether it is ultra-contemporary or very traditional; it works anywhere.
“Currently it seems that the use of natural history objects in decorating has become a trend,” he says. “You can find natural history reproductions of most anything now. Much of what we sell is available as a reproduction at many of the large national chain home furnishings retailers.”
With summer months ahead, Isles Studio’s focus for the next two or three months is to help customers complete their outdoor spaces. He says. “We have a garden boutique outside our shop which sells classic garden ornaments along with containers and tropical plants. We offer container design services and we also sell FERMOB, a French line of classic garden furniture.”
Whether looking for plants, furniture, or something a bit more unique, Bengtson and his staff are on-hand. “I think initially people are in awe at the beautiful taxidermy birds,” he says. “There are very few shops where you can walk in and find a giant Sarus crane, a crowned crane, a king penguin, flamingos, toucans, etc. and they are all for sale. Many customers gravitate toward the insects. The diversity that exists in the insect world is pretty incredible.”
1311 W 25th St, Minneapolis