Design for a Cause

Our Towns Habitat for Humanity is accepting applications for its fifth-annual ReStore ReStyle event
Courtesy of Our Towns Habitat for Humanity
Courtney Pavelock Ronay, of Southern Nest, created this dining room vignette entirely out of ReStore items.

Do you see faded upholstery and think, "How can I recover that?" Or when you spot a discarded wooden pallet, do your thoughts turn to what those slats could become (a table, maybe, or some shelves)? Is your living room and back porch outfitted with repurposed items? If so, then you're an ideal candidate for one of eight designer spots in this year's ReStore ReStyle event.

Now in its fifth year, the competition—put on by Our Towns Habitat for Humanity ReStores—involves creating 10-by-10 vignettes using only materials found at the Cornelius, Statesville, and Mooresville ReStores. For those unfamiliar with the ReStore concept, ReStores are nonprofit home-improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and used furniture, home accessories, appliances, and building materials at discounted prices. The proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity to build homes in local communities. The ReStore ReStyle event raises funds and awareness about the stores.

"A ReStore is not only a place to donate to, or to clean out your house; it's a shopping adventure to come to a ReStore," says Jill Laney, ReStore director for Our Towns Habitat for Humanity ReStores.

When choosing the designers, Laney and her team look for people who are creative and who can take an item intended for one use and transform it to function in a different, unexpected way. Each year, the event involves a mystery item that the designers must somehow incorporate into their spaces. Last year, the mystery item was a clear, nonslip shower mat. The only stipulation was that it couldn't be used as a shower mat. One designer painted the underside metallic gold and used it as a table runner. Another cut out the individual textured bubbles of the mat and used them to enhance a painting of someone blowing bubbles on the wall of a mudroom.

Designers get a month to shop for supplies at the three Our Towns stores. They can use anything in the stores as long as the item is less than $100. They set up their vignettes at the Mooresville store on the Sunday and Monday before the event. They must make use of all the items they selected from the stores. At the event on Tuesday, judges score the vignettes and choose winners for the best use of the mystery item and the best at following the directions of the competition (which encourage repurposing). Then attendees vote on their favorite vignettes by donating money. Whichever vignette raises the most money wins the voters' choice award. Last year's event raised about $9,000. At the end of the night, attendees have a chance to purchase the items in the vignettes.

"There's always one piece in every room that three or four people are elbowing their way in [to get]," Laney says. "A couple of years ago, a designer made a Mason jar chandelier, and at the end of the night, she had gotten orders to make six more."

The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. on March 5. Tickets for the event on April 28 (at the Mooresville ReStore) are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. They will go on sale around March 10. Visit the Our Towns Habitat for Humanity ReStore website to submit an application or purchase tickets.

Categories: Charlotte @Home