Kramerville’s The Storer: an evolution

One of our all-time favourite design destinations is reworking the definition of retail in their new space.

The Storer is no stranger around these parts. A regular in our decorating stories and shopping pages, this is a brand with a very unique take on retail. Having worked for many years in corporate retail, owner Lisa Storer turned her attention 180 degrees… onto sustainable, artisanal and hand-crafted products for the home. Her first shop in 44 Stanley was ground zero for authentic, ethically sourced pieces and was guaranteed visual feast thanks to her and her team’s killer styling and merchandising skills.

Having since left 44 Stanley and taken up residence in a renovated 1980s warehouse in Kramerville’s lower reaches (along Dartfield Rd, which between you and us, is beginning to rival its up-town neighbours with an exciting new selection of design brands) the new space exceeds all expectations.

What’s evident is that The Storer is offering its customers a journey, rather than a shopping trip. Spread out over 400 square metres, with ceilings that span up to 3.7 metres, it’s a lofty space which they’ve thoughtfully fitted out and planned to maximise on the customer’s experience. Fusing retail at the front, with an apartment at the back plus a design studio, one gets an immersive walk-through of what the brand stocks and how they curate original spaces with furniture and accessories.

It’s not merely what she has filled the space with, but how Lisa and her team have designed it, installing original and pared back architectural elements to create a space that feels authentic and removes the customer from the typical “retail” space. A large water trough and fountain produces a soothing soundtrack, a pair of opposing stone walls (painted over in white) create texture and interest, floor to ceiling steel doors flood the space with natural light and vast 2.7-metre-high arches create separate ‘rooms’ through which to journey.

A breeze block wall nods to summer in the Tropics while a set of ocular shelves will have you drooling near the entrance – filled with the highly coveted and hand-crafted treasures that she sources and stocks from village artisans in countries like Guatemala, Morocco and Mexico. The palette is restrained and honest, with a canvas of lightly textured white walls and layers of natural textures and tones worked into this.

Lately, The Storer has added interior design to their offering and also works with a growing number of SA designers to produce pieces that speak to their ethos of handmade, ethical and honest. Some of these include Douglas and Douglas, Jan Ernst de Wet and My Love for Africa, to name a few. “My approach to interiors is to allow the space to speak to you; each space whispers, it is just a matter of listening. I think that it’s so important for us as a design studio to constantly evolve, surprise and delight,” she says, adding that tightly planned steps as a business are not their style, it’s more about natural evolution.

Beyond the calming sound of running water from the fountain, a second soundtrack of birdsong plays to customers through speakers while they absorb the full experience…“experience” being a key element to how this brand is differentiating itself from traditional retail.  “I have worked with the concept of transporting the visitor to a fantasy destination. As per all of our projects and our last retail space, it is essential that all the senses are stimulated to enjoy the full transportive experience. We worked with Adrian Morris and his team at Design Partnerships to optimize the space within a retail arena,” she explains.

Visit The Storer at Shop #1, 19 Dartfield Road, Kramerville, Johannesburg… directly below the new, supersized and equally cool Father Coffee.

Words: Mila Crewe-Brown
Production: J-P de la Chaumette
Photography: Elsa Young