Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Upscale Resale adds DIY sessions, celebrity judge to this year’s showcase

Designers will showcase their talents for turning thrift store finds into upcycled treasures during the two-day resale event. Photo courtesy Habitat for Humanity.
Designers will showcase their talents for turning thrift store finds into upcycled treasures and face off for best room during Habitat for Humanity’s two-day competition and sale. Photo courtesy Habitat for Humanity.

Vintage hounds, thrift store aficionados and do-it-yourselfers take note: Habitat for Humanity’s Upscale Resale and Design Challenge returns this weekend, revamped this time around with new how-to classes and a celebrity judge.

The ever-growing third annual event is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Cape Fear Community College’s Schwartz Center, 601 N. Front St. A VIP preview party, with beer and wine and hors d’oeuvres, will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday.

As in years past, the Upscale Resale will feature an array of uniquely reimagined, reupholstered and repurposed thrift shop finds. Approximately 20 local interior design teams will each showcase a room decorated entirely with upcycled furniture, lighting, accessories and artwork purchased from Wilmington’s Habitat ReStores. Attendees can browse the rooms and even buy showroom items.

New for 2016, Habitat ReStore director and event organizer Brent Byers said, is a series of DIY demonstrations staged by area businesses and artists.

Sherwin Williams hosts a session aimed how to manipulate color – and keep it from manipulating you. Annie Sloan will show attendees how to transform end tables with chalk paint, and Lowe’s Home Improvement will lead a workshop on making old decks and concrete look brand-new again.

Vintage, antiques and art shop Jazzcars will teach you about wax finishes, and Coastal Green Construction will show you the proper way to install laminate flooring.

The sessions begin at 11:30 a.m. Saturday and run every half hour.

HGTV personality Meg Caswell, who owns the local Fifth and Castle Design Shop, is one of three judges for this year's competition. Photo by Hilary Snow.
HGTV personality Meg Caswell, who owns the local Fifth and Castle Design Shop, is one of three judges for this year’s competition. Photo by Hilary Snow.

On Friday night, Byers said celebrity designer Meg Caswell will join Gay Adair of Gay Adair Design and Cape Fear Habitat executive director Steve Spain to judge the showcase competition. The gregarious Caswell – who hosts “Meg’s Great Rooms,” a show she won through season six of HGTV’s “Design Star” competition – opened Fifth and Castle Design Shop in Castle Street’s arts and antiques district last year.

Byers said the fledgling fundraiser has steadily increased since its launch in 2014. The crowd of eager home improvement enthusiasts grew by 500 last year and he anticipates it will jump up by at least another 500 this weekend.

The draw of the design showcase, Byers added, can be summed up in one word: inspiration. Perusing used and outdated items that have been given new life with a fresh coat of paint or colorful fabric and discovering clever ways to repurpose pieces (2014 winner Mary Jo Shipman turned an old window into a headboard) leads to a lot of “a-ha” moments, he said.

“People, I think, like the event because they can relate. They realize that this is the same type of merchandise that they can purchase on a daily basis at the stores, and then to see the creativity of what the designers do to it is the exciting part,” he said. “People begin to see things in a different light and realize, ‘Hey, I could do that.'”

A healthy helping of ideas isn’t the only thing to come out of Upscale Resale. As one of Habitat’s major funding drives, the event has helped pay the overhead and salaries for Habitat Restores, freeing up all other donations for building homes for those in need.

Habitat for Humanity helps people realize their dream of becoming homeowners through zero-interest loans and affordable mortgage payments. Volunteers, along with Habitat beneficiaries, build the homes.

This year, though, Byers said Cape Fear Habitat is shooting for a specific figure – with a significant purpose – during the two-day Upscale Resale.

“Our goal…is to raise $45,000, which is considered a full sponsorship for a home,” he noted.

Should the nonprofit meet that goal, a future Habitat house will be built from the funds raised at the event.

Admission to the general public sale is $5. The preview event, which includes hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer, is $40 in advance ($45 at the door), and includes admission on Saturday. Tickets are available online or at the Habitat ReStore in Ogden, 7330 Market St.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6341

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