Sutherlands Q&A

There is much underway in terms of furniture trends on the local design scene. Sutherlands Furnishings is an established decor outlet that produces top-quality furniture and lifestyle pieces, and they're always keeping a close eye on the various industry developments. HL chatted to their CEO Craig Steel about what's currently hot, which trends they're focusing on and how the Sutherlands brand stays ahead of the times... Your company has come a long way since opening its first store in Chapel Street, Pietermaritzburg in 1998. What do you think sets you apart from the rest? I think a lot of things make companies different and successful. Sutherlands offers a variety of products in all domains, from bedroom to dining, classic and contemporary, to the latest looks in Europe - you'll find it all in one of our stores. What do you anticipate will be the top home furnishing trends for 2012? One of the biggest trends we're noticing is old world meets new world. Also, clean, uncomplicated, classic and contemporary rooms with more neutral fabrics and vintage leathers, as well as accessories with colour. Bright colours are expected to be big in decor this year – which palettes do you predict to be popular? Colour always brings a room to life, but blue and white always look good. Even though colour is a personal choice, we anticipate that red, sage greens and rich, earthy colours will be popular in the coming months. Plywood and pine are becoming the woods of choice for sleek designer furniture pieces. Are you seeing this trend come alive in your pieces too? We have been using pine and plywood in some of our collections for the last 5 years, but I feel that rich textures timbers like kiatt have become especially popular. Upcycling is another hot trend – do you restore old items at your stores? We have quite a few collections in reclaimed timber - our vintage collection and our commander pieces have been very well received. The reclaimed timber we are using came out of the Old Natal Commando’s in Durban and is roughly 100 years old, which makes the pieces very special. What is your favourite decor look for summer? Decorating a beach villa in natural, reclaimed furniture, adding in wicker furniture and accessorising the space with various scatter cushions. What is your ultimate summer accessory for the home? My wife has just designed a stunning new collection of fabrics for our summer cushions this year - we will have to get a set for our beach villa. What is your ideal fabric for summer? Fabric with a great, broad stripe in an earthy colour, or in navy and white. Do you have any new collections that we should look out for? This year is a big one for Sutherlands. We are opening our new 5000sqm flagship store in Pretoria and we are launching new collections, from reclaimed antique looks to a steel industrial feel collection, as well as 300 unique pieces that we have discovered from all corners of the globe. Sutherlands now have showrooms open in Joburg, Pretoria, Durban and Kwa-Zulu Natal. Visit sutherlands.co.za for more information. Images: Sutherlands Summery Collections