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Masters of their craft: Craig Steel

We know SHF as a home furnishing store that we can count on for carefully crafted pieces that are always on-trend. Few know, though, that SHF began with one small store as long ago as August 1998.

Back then, at a time when “creative” hadn’t yet become a job description and entrepreneurs were few and far between, Craig Steel opened his first store in Chapel Street in his home town, Pietermaritzburg, transporting furniture on the roof rack of his VW Beetle. SHF now has a comprehensive online store and several magnificent galleries around the country. To pay homage to the designers and craftsmen responsible for the innovative, authentic pieces found there, they have launched #followthemasters to introduce a new master craftsman each month for the next 12 months. Who better to kick it off than Craig himself? ‘Inspired by the 1950s, I have a love for well-crafted pieces that have been brought into a modern era, dark leathers and salvaged woods, which provide contrast. The feeling of an old design reinterpreted is a massive inspiration for my work. They not only represent where we’ve been but are testament to how far we have come.’
Webvertorial-Sutherlands_Embedded_square1 Frank Chair in Vintage Coco Leather; R11 995

‘In the beginning I would work in the Chapel Street store, restoring furniture beyond its original beauty. Determination has brought SHF to where it is today, with vintage items still threaded throughout the showrooms.’ ‘By keeping a good circle of people around me to ensure that the SHF brand continues to grow, I know the value of having good relationships with suppliers and being hands-on. I love meeting people who inspire me to be better, to explore more. I believe that the desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of an artisan’s soul.’
Webvertorial-Sutherlands_Embedded_square3 Admiral Double Dresser in Vintage Black; R27 995

‘After 18 years I’m still very much hands-on in the business. But when I’m not working, I indulge my love of fine wine, good food and vintage cars.’