Interior design resource Steelyard shuts down

TAMPA, Fla. — Online interior design sourcing platform Steelyard has closed after 24 years in business and has come to an agreement with Sandow to pick up where it left off.

Shawn Hughes, CEO of Steelyard, told Furniture Today that the past two years became too much for the independent company to overcome.

“The COVID shutdown and supply chain challenges compounded the challenges we were facing as an independent organization. We realized that being part of a bigger organization made sense for the industry and for us,” Hughes said. “Rather than trying to do it ourselves, we talked to potential partners, and we’re very pleased that Sandow was very interested. They wanted to strengthen their position in residential, where we were. It seemed like a good fit. We wanted somebody who would care for our design community and would offer value to the brands.”

Hughes couldn’t disclose the nature of the agreement Steelyard officials reached with Sandow, but a statement on Steelyard’s blog noted that “it is important to us to provide a bridge to our loyal designers and brands, and more importantly, that the bridge leads to a partner who shares our love and commitment for the design trade! We are thrilled to say that an industry icon, Sandow, is providing a path forward for the 30,000-strong Steelyard design community and the brands who are committed to the design industry.”

Hughes said he’s confident that the new arrangement will provide the right value and service to all interested parties. “They’re interested in taking care of the clientele,” Hughes said. “They have a similar platform on the design side for contract and hospitality and they were looking at best way to extend that to residential designers. I’m hopeful our designers and brands will have a happy place to be. Sandow is an awesome organization, Material ConneXion; Material Bank, they just bought AmberEngine.”

Hughes said he and his wife, Steelyard partner Sandy Hughes, have enjoyed their time in the industry and the relationships they have built over the years. He said he wouldn’t be surprised to pop back up in some capacity down the line.

“I’m hugely disappointed to be stepping out of the industry. We’re a small company and there are so many of us,” Hughes said. “Sandy loves this industry. She’s been a judge for the ARTS Awards the last two years and has been engaged in the industry.”

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Thomas Lester is Retail Editor for Furniture Today and Digital/Managing Editor for Home Accents Today. A graduate of Emory & Henry College’s Mass Communications program, Lester spent a dozen years working for newspapers in Virginia and North Carolina covering an array of subjects, ranging from community news, government, education, ACC sports, professional baseball and more before joining Furniture Today in 2013. Reach out to me with your story ideas, tips and more at

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