Some of us are lucky enough to visit a furniture and home accessories store when we’re bored or tired of that old couch. But others aren’t nearly as lucky or fortunate. Interior designer Melissa Davis shares some details about the Chair Affair – a furniture bank dedicated to auctioning off furniture pieces for those in need.
As a designer, I often am asked where I find my inspiration. My answer is typically some combination of travel, nature. Though this is all true, the why and how my specific career path evolved comes from a very different and personal point of inspiration.
I grew up in a small farm community. Typical of these isolated rural towns, families struggle to find consistent income and many fall into the working poor category. My parents had a lot of pride in our home and both found creative ways of personalizing and making it ours.
My father bought old pieces at auctions and refinished them to reveal gorgeous antiques.
My mom took scrap fabric and seemed to be continuously sewing and reinventing the drapery.
On a bigger scale, our community created a network. Individually, we had very little, but when the collective resources were pooled, everyone had what they might need and took great pride in offering what they could.
Why is this so important?
I’m sharing this to offer a bit of insight into how I came about the business of defining the difference between shelter and home. It’s not about the latest product or the most expensive materials. A home is built on personal expression. It’s about the empowerment and pride that comes with being part of the process. This is true for large estates with grand budgets, and no less true if you call a small rental apartment home.
We live in a beautiful and generous country with programs in place that help find shelter for those in need. I’ve long thought there need be more of a social and emotional approach in this process. Some way to create homes that become the base for families to heal and grow and feel that sense of security and warmth; empowering them to push upward. This year, I was introduced to The Furniture Bank. Furniture Banks are designed to provide gently used household furnishings to individuals and families in need, at little or no cost.
The basic model involves gently used furniture being donated by people who no longer use it, and transferred to those who are struggling financially to furnish their own homes. Usually, a network of community agencies ensures that the right people get access to the furniture.
It’s a cycle of giving and helping, providing the most vulnerable individuals in society the means to create a true home.
The marvelous part is the receiving individuals get to go shopping for their own furniture. Armed with a list, they walk the warehouse selecting pieces that really represent their style and family needs. They get to create their home. As a designer, and as the little girl that relied on the generosity of our neighbours I can tell you this gift offers immeasurable benefits that truly radiate to all aspects of their lives.
Chair Affair is Furniture Bank’s annual auction-based gala and fundraiser where they team up with prominent Canadian artists and designers who redesign and repurpose old chairs for auction that night. I’ve created a chair along with 40+ of my talented peers.
It’s an evening of fun, food, and where designers join together to raise funds and help the recipients find warmth, dignity and stability in their new homes. I hope you’ll all join me and say hello, perhaps even take home my chair.
There, you’ll have a chance to bid on unique creations.
The event takes place October 30th at The International Centre. Tickets are on sale now at www.furniturebank.org/chairaffair.
About the Author: Celebrity designer Melissa Davis is well-known for appearances and her creative design work on several HGTV shows. For more information, visit melissadavis.com.