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Upcycle Challenge!

The Upcycle Challenge was sponsored by Habitat for Humanity in Montgomery County. Borrowing from competition shows such as HGTV’s The White Room Challenge, they chose 5 design teams to create a show house from a recently constructed blank slate in Hatfield, PA. An open house was held which gave guests the opportunity to vote for their favorite space in exchange for a modest donation to HFH. The contestants were given a $500 spending limit and unlimited use of any resource available from ReStore – Habitat for Humanity’s thrift store.

The home was slated for occupancy by a single mom and her adorable four-year-old son. Home by Kristen was given the half of the open concept first floor that would typically be designated as the dining area. With that came the additional challenge of creating a space that flowed cohesively into the remaining living space. An amazing mid-century modern dining set, a two-toned gray color-scheme, and a request by the younger occupant for purple to be included inspired the design.

The dining set was a little ‘tired’ but the wood was too beautiful to paint, so it was left the classic light-stained finish. The original vintage flame stitch upholstery was replaced with similar fabric in a color scheme that complimented the chosen wall color. A graphic area rug on the floor and shower curtain trimmed with a rich black velvet re-imagined as a window treatment rounded out the


majority of the fabric elements used in the space.

Some other treasures found at ReStore complimented the design. A fantastic (and fantastically heavy) glass and stainless steel Crate and Barrel console provided valuable storage space and served as a room divider. A rounded corner shelf unit added much –needed architecture to the room. A large mid-century mirror framed in the same natural wood as the dining room set provided brightness and a sense of space on an interior wall.

An attention-grabbing feature wall divided the dining area from kitchen showcasing a breakfast bar, a beautiful slate gray paint, and brushed nickel metallic circular wall embellishments from Uppercase Living (see links?). The remaining two walls featured an “is it gray or is it lavender?” wall color that, while neutral, hinted at the purple that they young client had asked for. His request was further honored in the easily changed accessories such as napkins, orchids, and other staging pieces that are easily changed when he changes his minds and develops a liking for orange.

For mom, I added metallic and reflective features throughout the room to add a touch of adult glamor and sophistication. From up lights under the glass console table to candle light to a pendant light fixture reimagined from a mirrored vanity light bar and 80s cans from old track lighting, it is a space where a busy young woman can entertain her guests.

I finished off the space by staging the breakfast bar with vintage bar stools, some fun graphic plates

(for the little guy), napkins, and silverware on a vintage mid-century serving tray – everything ready for an after school snack. By repeating circular and reflective elements, pops of purple, and consistent distribution of the color scheme and wooden features – the design was balanced, cohesive, and just right for the new home owners.

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