Serendipity (and a matchmaking husband) brought Debbie Steinhobel and Schanè Anderson together. Their flair for interiors has seen them grace our small screens on Top Billing and granted them access to some of the country’s most exclusive homes with their business, Olala Interiors.
Sometimes, your ‘real’ career finds you, as was the case with Newcastle-born Debbie Steinhobel, who began her professional life studying pharmacy at Rhodes University in Grahamstown.
It was her husband, local lawyer Gavin Steinhobel, who suggested she pursue interiors after visiting Gateway one day, and 25 days later she opened Home Flair in Newcastle. In 2006, the Ballito Home Flair store came up for sale at the Lifestyle Centre, and it seemed Debbie’s path to helping people create beautiful spaces was set.
Gavin then ran the business while Debbie took time out to have her two children, and when he returned to his law practice, Schané Anderson, owner of Olala Interiors, sought legal counsel from him one day. She needed a competent and fabulous business partner and Gavin played matchmaker. He knew instinctively his wife and Schané would be a good match.
Schané had been in the interiors game, and Olala was originally her brand which she first established in Johannesburg in 1993, and then re-established the brand in Ballito in 2009. The family had a holiday property in Umdloti, so a move to the North Coast felt like a natural progression.
In 2009, Schané opened in the Lifestyle Centre, and her and Debbie laugh about first being competitors before they became partners.
“She walked into my shop and I just loved her,” explains Debbie. Within a couple of weeks, they had merged their businesses, and that was just five short years ago.
Debbie and Schané’s work is by no means limited to the North Coast – they create picture-perfect homes across the country and across borders, many of which have appeared in national magazines and luxury lifestyle television programmes, such as Top Billing. They travel the globe regularly visiting trade shows and design hubs from Cologne to Paris, where they glean inspiration and inform their residential creative work, ensuring their clients’ domestic spaces are bang on trend.
Olala has its own factory in Shakashead, where they manufacture bespoke furnishings, a logistics office, a beautiful retail space at Ballito Junction Mall, and their design office operating from the mezzanine level in the same space.
Top Tips from Olala
*Be selective when choosing art and fabrics; ‘noble’ fibres like linens, wool, silk and cotton are more expensive, but they make all the difference.
*Don’t throw good money after bad; rather go slowly then and build up your home with investment pieces if you don’t have budget to recreate your space in one go.
*You 100 percent get what you pay for, so customer-made design pieces over disposable cheaper options will last a lifetime.
Call 032 940 0399, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.olalainteriors.com Find them at Shop 639b, Ballito Junction Mall, Leonora Drive, Ballito