Designers transform Habitat ReStore furniture for Upcycle Challenge

Excitement is brewing for Toronto Fall Home Show’s 6th Annual Upcycle Challenge!

This year, ten designers have taken on the “runway to home” challenge and will be transforming Habitat ReStore furniture into one-of-a-kind masterpieces. The completed projects will be on sale at the show (Sept. 15 – 17) with proceeds supporting Habitat for Humanity GTA build homes for families in need of a safe, decent, and affordable place to live.

We sat down with Janice Fedak, a participating designer to talk about her involvement and what it means to her.


  1. You participated in the 2016 Upcycling Challenge. Talk to us about last year’s theme and your experience transforming an oak cabinet into a sleek wine cart?

Last year’s theme of the challenge was ‘Storage Solutions’, so I tapped into what my clients are continually asking me for – stylish pieces of furniture that look great, yet serve a functional purpose. And since it was the ‘Upcycle Challenge’, I really wanted the transformation to be a total change – my vision was to take a dated and ordinary cabinet from tired and blah, to current-looking and useful for any size of home. It was a really great to actually do the transformation, use some elbow grease…. and power tools! I really loved the entire process – it was a true labour of love and I was thrilled with the end result!

  1. What motivated you to participate in 2017?

Last year’s project was so rewarding; it allowed me use my work to give back to the community, which is really important to me both personally and professionally.  To be able use my creative vision, and most importantly – help out Habitat for Humanity GTA in the process makes this a truly meaningful project. I am honoured to participate and couldn’t wait to get started knowing that this could help to make a difference!

  1. This year’s theme is “runway to home,” talk to us about your inspiration for this year?

There is so much inspiration that comes from watching what is happening on the fashion runways as much of it translates directly into interior design and home décor! I actually had so many ideas, but I narrowed it down to my all-time favourite fashion classics – Audrey Hepburn and Tiffany inspired glam.

  1. What can you share with us about your 2017 transformation?

Again, I chose to re-purpose something that really needed some help, and created a piece that is totally ‘runway’ worthy yet functional….and that many of my clients are asking for in their own homes. You’ll have to wait for the final reveal, but as a teaser it’s a beautiful mix of glitz materials, finishes and textures combined in a piece that any ‘modelesque’ homeowner will enjoy!

5. What is the value of upcycling furniture?

For me it’s two-fold – It keeps furniture out landfill, and gives an opportunity for unlimited creativity in re-making something. To be able to re-use an item that still has some life in it, and then add some ingenuity, imagination and a little TLC to create something unique, just makes good sense! Good for the environment, good for the wallet, and good for the soul. You can’t put a price tag on that!

  1. What do you see for the future of furniture upcycling and DIY projects?

I am actually seeing a strong return to home crafted items. There’s a big social trend of getting back to basics – a ‘less is more’ attitude. We are gardening again, doing more home cooking and using our hands to add that personal touch to all areas of our homes, including building, sewing and creating art. It’s an opportunity to bring families together while working on a DIY project that everyone is proud of. Couple that with the environmental and economical components of upcycling, and it’s a win for everyone!

  1. What role do socially conscious stores like the Habitat ReStore play?

Community is vital – and through donations, volunteer involvement and caring, Habitat ReStore can continue to build homes for families in need of a safe, decent, and affordable place to live. It’s really about people working together to create positive change. Together we really can make a difference!

  1. What would you like to share with others about shopping at Habitat ReStores?

The Habitat ReStores have such an amazing variety of items in them! I went to almost all of them in search of this year’s upcycle project, and found so many other unexpected finds while doing so! It’s like walking through an antique market, a home improvement big box, furniture store and décor warehouse all wrapped into one. Incredible finds, prices and the most helpful and friendly staff! And think of who you are helping in the community by shopping at Habitat restore!

  1. What is it about Habitat ReStore, and more generally Habitat for Humanity’s mission that appeals to you?

Everyone deserves understanding, to be treated with dignity, and should have a safe place to call home.  A home that provides warmth, security and one that is affordable. This is what Habitat for Humanity provides. I have seen the impact this has on these families – the lives it helps, the change it makes, and the gratitude….the positive chain reaction within the community is immeasurable!

  1. Any last words you’d like to share leading up to the Fall Toronto Home Show’s Upcycling Challenge?

Yes, I can guarantee that all of the talented designers are creating brilliantly upcycled items! I encourage everyone to come to the Fall Home Show and support Habitat for Humanity by bidding on a beautiful one-of-a kind piece for your home!