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Design Challenge prompts innovation for reused home décor

Time:2018-08-27 10:30:00Clicks: 379 Font size:T|T

FARMINGTON HILLS/METRO DETROIT — “Out with the old and in with the new” could not be a more antiquated saying when it comes to refurbishing, upcycling and improving living spaces in a home.

Just ask the participants of last year’s Design Challenge at ReStore Farmington, 28575 Grand River Ave. in Farmington Hills.

ReStore Farmington is a store run by Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County. Proceeds benefit the mission of Habitat, which is to provide strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.    

The store features appliances, furniture, cabinets and paint. Its warehouse houses everything from tables and doors to bathtubs and windows.

Last year’s inaugural event featured 12 designers and stagers who created vignettes — interior design displays using store items — with at least two ReStore anchor pieces in a showcase at the store.

This year, even more designers — both students and professionals — are back at it again with the second annual Design Challenge-Innovative Design on a ReStore Budget from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 26.

Designers will prepare their vignettes 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the judges will make their choices 5-5:45 p.m., and the doors will be open to the public at 6 p.m. The public can vote until 7:30 p.m., with a raffle and a live auction to follow. Awards will be announced at 8:15 p.m.

The challenge features a judges award and a popular choice award for the top three designs.

Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County and the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan’s Professional Women in Building Council have partnered in presenting the second Design Challenge, according to a press release.

The Design Challenge is sponsored by Detroit Home magazine.

According to the release, designers from across metro Detroit will create the vignettes using ReStore items to feature the creative designs that can be made with donated and secondhand items.

Last year’s vignettes featured a sleek, silver-decorated living room, a child’s bedroom, a modern laundry room and more.

Royal Oak resident and Interior Lifestyles owner Debi Hollis — last year’s Design Challenge winner — does residential design, corporate art, staging, light commercial work and more at her business.

“I thought the concept of a design challenge that really targeted a different audience ... really went to the heart of what Habitat is all about and … helping people that can’t always afford a high-end designer.”

She said this is an event that could reach a lot of people.

Hollis’ winning creation last year featured a coffee bar area.

“I had a story to tell. … I had been very conscious of my budget and trying to be aware of making sure that somebody duplicating this could duplicate this on a budget,” she said of her roughly $240 vignette. “A lot of it was a bit of a DIY. I had my whole list of costs framed and displayed. For me, that was the critical part.”

She said attendees loved the vignettes.

Hollis said that a Professional Women in Building Council scholarship fund and Habitat Humanity benefit from the fundraising event.

“We want more people to enter these (design or construction industry) fields.”

Professional Women in Building Council President Cathi Waun said that the challenge is an exciting way to highlight the opportunities available at Habitat “for people to go in and find something really special that they can incorporate into their home.”

Waun said the Design Challenge encourages and inspires people to see their own home’s design potential without breaking the bank.

“Last year, there were some wonderful pieces that it was just hard to believe that people donated that to Habitat,” she said.

During the upcoming event, guests will walk through the displays of vignettes, vote for their top one, and meet the designers and the guest judges, who will be led by interior designer Michael Berman, according to the press release.

“We are pleased to be presenting this creative fundraising event once again,” Michael Stoskopf, CEO of the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan, said in a press release. “It provides a fun and exciting evening while supporting two worthwhile charitable programs. We look forward to working again with those who participated last year as designers, sponsors, judges and guests, and to welcoming all those who wish to join us for the first time this year.”

The event’s steering committee has a host of members, including Waun and Elizabeth Wyss, director of sales and special events for the Home Builders Association of Southeastern Michigan.

Wyss said that the event has come quite a long way.

“We made a lot of improvements,” she said of the added guest judges and sponsors, the live auction and more.

“The ReStore — it’s sort of like I call it Goodwill for builders,” she said. “It is everything you can find at Salvation Army, but no clothes. There is furniture, cabinets, fixtures, appliances, building materials — all sorts of things that people donate.”

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