Reviving The Midlands

One preloved bit of furniture at a time!


If you love interior decorating and looking for the next best piece of furniture for your home, but you’re on a budget, we have you covered. Below we look at four unique antique and décor businesses in the Midlands that give preloved furniture a second chance. They also share some tips and tricks.

Located in Yard 41 in Shafton Road, Howick is Ruby Orchard. It is owned by Hannah Keppler, who is originally from England. She describes herself as a “British Mum on a South African adventure”. The shop offers a variety of décor, gifts, ceramics, mirrors, frames, and furniture.

Hannah shared with us that she started selling furniture by accident. It all started from the need for a table to display décor items on. After finding an old garden table for R400 at the local auction, Hannah “cleaned” it up and set up shop with it. The table became a hit and was sold for R1000. The rest, as they say, is history.

Jump forward about eight years, and there are three full-time carpenters who restore and make furniture for Ruby Orchard. They remove all the stains and old layers of varnish, so the original, raw wood comes through. A lot of love goes into this revivification process, from finding the piece, paying for it, collecting it from the seller, and then repairing it before starting the sanding process and eventually resealing it with natural waxes.

However, they cannot give all their tips and tricks away, let’s just say it takes hard work and “grit” to sand away the old to reveal the renewed, smooth surface. Additionally, selecting the right handles makes a big difference too, and it can completely change the character of the piece. They either order handles from local suppliers or make their own.

When it comes to refurbishing old wooden furniture, Hannah shared that brown, orange and shiny finishes have become old-fashioned. Her interests lie in British country cottages, old farmhouses, old timber, and rustic barns. Giving the natural wood a little bit of TLC goes a long way and creates a new character and lustre without the old-fashioned shine.


Based in Balgowan, Renaissance Antiques and Décor “rebirths” preloved furniture and décor. The owner, Cheryl Wigmore, started it in 2010 out of her love for reviving old furniture. She taught herself how to paint vintage furniture, and what was a hobby at first turned into a much-loved business, in-store and online.

Cheryl’s inspiration varies in preloved furniture, ranging from the shape of a piece, whether it’s curved or has carvings that add to its character and various fabrics or materials that convey unique ideas and motifs. She obtains her furniture from different sources: purchasing online, at auctions, and from people who emigrate or are just looking to downsize their homes.

As Cheryl believes, furniture does not go out of fashion and can be made to fit almost any décor style or trend, with just a few tweaks here and there. For example, turning an old headboard into a bench or doubling an old TV cabinet into a liquor cabinet. You never know what you can get if you use some imagination.


At Renaissance Antiques and Décor, opposites attract, in other words, vintage goes hand-in-hand with contemporary, and so do modern and traditional. Mixing it up in terms of style is the best way to achieve a beloved new piece of furniture and something you won’t find at a mass-marketed store.

Cheryl’s shop manager, Sandile, assists her with the painting process and advises clients about different colour schemes and what would work best. Their showroom is a beautiful mix of newer décor items like scatter cushions, lamps, and ornaments, highlighting the older furniture.

In fact, this is Cheryl’s focus, mixing the old and the new. And she advises her clientele not to throw away their old furniture but rather refurbish or repaint it. If this seems quite daunting and you have no idea where to start with a specific piece in your home, they also offer an in-house service.

Renaissance Antiques and Décor also stock Edwardian furniture from the early 1900s and Victorian furniture from the 1830s to the 1900s. They reupholster 98% of their furniture with high-quality fabrics from a reputable supplier, ensuring durability from everyday use.


About five years ago, Sonja and her husband, Adam Hilton, and their family moved to the Midlands from Pretoria. They started Collective, a shop specialising in furniture, décor, and various other gift items. They are now at the Tweedie Junction just outside of Howick. Sonja and Adam are both artists, and initially, their idea was to start a shop while they build their names as wedding photographers in the Midlands.

However, one thing led to another, and Sonja never continued her photography career as the shop kept her quite busy, although Adam is still a photographer. They stock everything they love around vintage, industrial, retro, mid-century, and antique styles, from Steampunk lighting, jewellery, art, furniture, and décor.

Sonja and Adam love creative and unique pieces of furniture, and because of their love for this, it is rewarding for them when they find new old pieces, so to say. They find these from different sources like auctions, furniture dealers, thrift shops, and people selling furniture.

Their intention with every piece is to keep it as original as possible, but sometimes they give it some loving attention with sandpaper or just add a few new handles. They sell a wide range of items, including leather armchairs and couches, vintage cabinets, drawers, tables, bedside cabinets, and other pieces like shelves and servers. Their motto is, “As long as we love it, we will sell it”.

Sonja shared more about her process of stocking various preloved pieces and that it’s important to be open-minded about mixing the old with the new, the modern and vintage. Items tend to come back into fashion, “Everything goes! You just need to have an eye for it”.

Collective is easy to spot, just look out for their mascot, Winston the bulldog. He is also the quality control manager and thoroughly tests the chairs and couches for the clientele. Beyond that, the couple made this little shop work regardless of the naysayers, and they find great joy in the support from their happy customers. Pop in and see what treasures await you.


Vanessa and Jonathan Tountas purchased Reloved Furniture in 2018. Based initially in Hilton, they moved the shop to St.John’s Lifestyle Centre in Howick in September 2021. They are passionate about furniture, specifically solid wood. They love to see what they can create from raw timber and what they can repair and refurbish, saying: “seeing our clients’ reactions when they see the results are always satisfying”.

They specialise in a wide variety of clients’ tastes and needs, from either refurbishing or reupholstering older pieces to their “original glory” or giving them more of a “modern twist” – there are countless options to choose from. Some items include side tables, dressing tables, desks, chairs, and Welsh dressers, specifically solid wood.



Vanessa shared some tips with us about restoring a piece of furniture. The first step is to decide what needs to be done and ascertain what tools you will need close at hand. A UV-protected sealer or stain is best for any wood exposed to sunlight. When painting furniture, water-based paint is easier to clean. Additionally, Danish oil is also good for keeping wood healthy and preventing drying out.

While we can say more about reloving old furniture and more places worth mentioning, these are a few you can start with. Sometimes you don’t need to buy brand new off-the-shelf items. All it takes is just some imagination and grit.