Decorating race helps fund Habitat

Team Liv Again are all smiles after they win the Community Choice Award during the ReImagine ReStore: A Space versus Space Showdown event on April 23. From left: Joseph Manokey, Adrian Holmes, Michelle Hamilton and Jermaine Anderson.

EASTON — It was a showdown in town as decorators and their teams competed for the most beautiful, the most inspired, and the most clever room décor at the Habitat for Humanity Choptank ReStore on Commerce Drive, Saturday, April 23.

A sell-out crowd of nearly 300 people stood shoulder-to-shoulder sipping cocktails and noshing on hors d’oeuvres. They watched teams of decorators scrambling to dress out preordained designer spaces as the clock ticked down on ReImagine ReStore: A Space versus Space Showdown.

Six teams competed. Each team’s task was to decorate a 10-foot-by-12-foot empty space with items gleaned from the ReStore’s ever-changing inventory in 20 minutes.

Teams chose from donated furniture and home improvement items, extras from construction jobs, overstocks from retailers, donations from churches and individuals in the community that come in to be sold in the ReStore.

Event Chairman Bruce Wellington said the creativity was amazing.

“They can go through and pick out things and use their imagination,” she said. “They can take things apart and make other things, they can paint it, they can upholster it. That’s why we call it ReImagine.”

Nancy Andrew, executive director for Habitat, said the teams had been planning and pre-assembling their contest entries for months.

“Each team had a budget, money, so to speak, credit, that they could spend in the store.” she said. “Eighty percent of the design items have to be from the store. And then the rest can be brought from wherever.”

She said at the end of the evening the rooms that were created would be put up for sale.

Some of the teams were headed by professional interior designers and others headed by just plain very, very talented people.

Each team had their own Realtor as well, and the Realtor’s job was to market and promote the team through online voting in advance.

Team ReStore Girlz Coldwell Banker was paired with Chesapeake Real Estate Company; Team Abode Home Staging and Redesigning was paired with Chesapeake Bay Real Estate Plus LLC; Team Decorating Den Interiors was matched with Exit Latham Realty; Team Bountiful Interiors was matched with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.; Team Eastern Millwork was paired with Benson & Mangold Real Estate; and Team Liv Again was paired with Exit on the Bay.

Along with online donations, the 300 guests had a chance to vote for their favorite team with money during the competition.

Raising the most money and receiving the Community Choice Award was team Liv Again and Exit on the Bay with $3,400.

The Audience Choice Award was given to Eastern Millwork and Benson & Mangold who transformed their space into a recreation room-type bar with recycled doors turned into custom wainscoting.

They also won the Most Inspired Floor Covering award, which was sponsored by Action Carpet.

Master of Ceremonies Fred Suss kept the excitement going as teams feverishly put their rooms together.

Kentavius Jones rocked the house with his music and catering was provided by Wendy Palmer of Latitude 38 in Oxford.

The total raised from the event was $10,056.

Habitat for Humanity Choptank is a faith-based Christian organization that is an affiliate of Habitat International. The organization makes homeownership possible for low-income people and families who could not otherwise purchase a home in Talbot and Dorchester counties.

Their services include financial coaching, education and support, among others. Each family must provide ‘sweat equity’ by volunteering a certain number of hours to help build their own or others’ habitat homes, which are built mostly by volunteers.

Since their beginnings in 1992, the organization has completed 69 homes.

The Habitat ReStore evolved to help supply funds to build more Habitat houses. It has become so popular that it recently moved into a warehouse-type space at 8610 Commerce Drive.

During the fundraiser, Andrew said she was very excited to see the large crowd in the store.

“They may know what Habitat is, but they may have not known what we have here in this store,” she said.

New donations of furniture, building materials, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, appliances and other home items come into the store every week and are for sale at cut-rate prices.

“You can come here and get really valuable stuff for not much money,” Wellington said. “Whatever I’m looking for, I always come here first.”

The store is open 1 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 410-820-6186 or visit

Follow Caroline/Dorchester Editor Dustin Holt on Twitter @Dustin_StarDem.

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