Designers’ new digs

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What has taken two months of preparation will come down to the last couple of days, hours and minutes this week as interior design teams move into the Schwartz Center for Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity’s second annual UpScale ReSale and Design Challenge.

Freshly painted and papered walls will be erected inside the center’s sports arena and teams may begin moving in 8 a.m. Friday morning, May 1. Ten hours later, the public is expected to attend the upscale reception from 6-9 p.m., and for the price of the $35 advance entry fee ($40 at the door), enjoy refreshments while shopping for first dibs on retrofit furnishings and accessories. While a team of celebrity judges — led by former HGTV star Meg Caswell joined by Z107.5’s Laura Chinni of The Foz and Laura in the Morning, and lead sponsor Pat Kusek of Kusek Financial Group — scouts exhibitor booths scoring for the most creative use of ReStore items to achieve the best overall vignette, patrons are encouraged to vote for their favorite, too. The show and merchandise sale reopens Saturday, May 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is reduced to $5.

While organizers built on the success of last year’s inaugural event, they made several new observations. Industry-wide: the interior design firms are far busier during the 2014-15 planning phases than they were in 2013-14. Most regard it as an indicator that the area real estate market is also on the rebound. Among them is Kitty Yerkes, Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity Development Director.

Of the 20 exhibiting design and furnishings teams, about 60 percent participated last year, Yerkes said. Combining the enthusiasm of newcomers with the experience from first year veterans, several exhibitors, like McKenzie Baker, Cape Fear Community College Interior Design students, and Habitat’s ReStores will double their booth space to create a bigger presence.

“There’s this new energy, ‘Gee we did it last year but we could even do a cooler thing having done it once,’ that’s been fun to watch,” Yerkes said.

One new designer to watch for is Daryl Bright Rosenbaum of Design Results.

Rosenbaum said she had an idea going into the process.

“I wanted a nice symmetrical balance, simple design,” she said.

She went to the ReStore and found a rug that was in great shape.

“That’s always the basis of good design — a rug,” Rosenbaum said.

The two-color rug influenced her color scheme. As a member of Benjamin Moore Designer Advisory Board she’s all too familiar with its 2015 color palette.

“I’m using the Ben Moore color of the year, which is Guilford Green … and I’m complementing that with Blue Hydrangea,” she said.

Rosenbaum plundered the ReStore for a pair of tall shelves.

“Basically they said, ‘Good luck, no one ever gives us shelves.’ I found a pair of kitchen cabinets that were 96 [inches]tall but they were two feet deep and two feet wide so I had my carpenter basically cut them in half and we refaced just the frames with solid wood,” she said.

Working the remodeling angle, Rosenbaum said, her balanced shelving unit has been retrofit with crown molding.

“One thing I think is really special about my design is a window from Habitat,” she said. “I’m allowed to use wallpaper. Most designers are using wallpaper on the walls. My wallpaper is Bali. I have a shot of Bali in my window. It’s about four by five feet, a huge poster. My whole design theme … is less to look at, more to see.”

Rosenbaum, who remodeled more than 80 units at Shell Island Resort in Wrightsville Beach in 2014 said, “You walk in and there’s not a lot of clutter.”

Her UpScale ReSale booth is furnished with a tan ultra-suede sofa.

“My sofa is in great shape and I bought a slipcover, a really good quality slipcover, and I got a fabulous table,” she said. “It’s a coastal theme toned down to emphasize the view.”

That view, she said, is framed in raw silk drapery panels and Levelor shades.

The vignette is staged within one 10- by 10-foot booth.

“It might look really cute downtown if someone doesn’t have a great view. This could pop it up,” Rosenbaum said.

Designers enjoy this event, Yerkes said, because they get to be creative.

“They got to use their own creativity for their own pleasure of the design. It was like they were their own client,” she said. “They got to go to the ReStore and pick the junk and paint it whatever color they wanted, reshape it, come up with the idea and carry it out.”

Everything displayed will be tagged for sale with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Cape Fear Habitat chapter.

“The fundraising part was good but the part we weren’t sure would happen but definitely happened was the residual effect of people coming in and shopping in the ReStore, and that was huge because it gave people ideas of things they could try to do themselves,” Yerkes said.

This year’s goal is raising $45,000 or the equivalent of the sponsorship goal for one $90,000 Habitat home.

email marimar@luminanews.com

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