Sarah Kidder Takes on the Ultimate Upcycling Challenge for Charity

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Our colleague Sarah Kidder, the founder and principal of the award-winning Sarah Kidder Design was invited to participate in the Ultimate Upcycling Challenge and the Ottawa Home & Remodelling Show last weekend. The Challenge involved sourcing a pre-loved door from Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore and ‘upcycle’ it using Rust-Oleum Consumer Brands Canada products to present a brand new piece ready for a second chance at love.

Upcylcing Challenge

The Ultimate Upcycling Challenge was clearly a perfect fit for Sarah who strongly believes in donating her time and talents to worthy causes, and is no stranger to upcycling. In fact, she identified it as one of the top new trends in a previous blog post Sarah Kidder Talks Top Trends from Ottawa Fall Home Show 2015. In it, she discusses her approach to upcycling and where the you are most likely to see it.

Sarah chose to start with a pair of golden oak cabinet doors with similar grain and only a bit of moulding detail that she estimates would be worth $10-$15 if sold ‘as is’. For the upcycled piece, her vision was to create a vintage-inspired set of coat racks that would look great in a bedroom with a vintage or country feel, or in a bright bathroom or walk-in closet, and as soon as she saw the cabinet doors, she knew they were the ones.

Her first step was to select the hardware, which she wanted to be the focal point of the pieces. Sarah sourced all of the knobs and hooks from Yardley’s, a local antique store known for unique and authentic pieces. Yardley’s gave her a great deal on the hardware, which was originally $75, because it was for charity. However, Sarah faced a dilemma in using what she described as the perfect hardware for her vision. She realized the weight of coats would be an issue, and so rather than sacrifice style, she reclassified her piece as an accessory rack for jewellery, scarves, and the like.

Antique Jewellery RacksTo evoke a Victorian-esque feel, Sarah used traditional colours ─ smoky blue, soft sage green and buttery yellow ─ in matte Rustoleum chalk paint; and then distressed the edges slightly so that the wood peeked through. They have colour and character without being too much. A matte clear-coat was applied to protect the finish while maintaining the soft milky look that chalk paint is known for.

Sarah’s accessory racks sold for $100 at auction as part of the Ottawa Home & Remodelling Show’s Ultimate Upcycling Challenge with all proceeds going to support of Habitat for Humanity. Other causes that are dear to Sarah include children’s cancer, hospice care, and guinea pig rescue. She often donates consultations to charities like Project Jenga and Ottawa Fur Kids, and she is also happy to help out others in any way she can.


Custom Home Interiors works with industry professional to provide leading edge furniture, appliances, home automation, fireplaces, window treatments and fittings for commercial and residential projects.

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Company-wide Effort Boosts Andrew Emmans to Forefront of Ottawa Business Community

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Young entrepreneurs named to Ottawa’s 2015 Forty Under 40

On June 18, Custom Home Interiors (CHI) President Andrew Emmans was part of a distinguished group recognized by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce as an accomplished business leader under the age of 40 who also gives back to the Ottawa community. The group was celebrated at a gala at the Hilton Lac-Leamy that also raised funds for the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health through a charitable draw.

award acceptedThe executive for one Canada’s leading providers of innovative furniture, appliances, home automation and fittings solution for commercial and residential projects ‒ pictured here (left) with Ottawa Forty Under 40 sponsor Darren Fleming from Cresa Corporation (left) ‒ also heads up Corporate Housing Interiors Limited (CHIL), the country’s most trusted and recognized name in outfitting and design for the corporate housing and hospitality industry. It is his role with CHIL specifically that garnered the award.

“It is a tremendous honour for me to be recognized among this incredibly talented and successful group of Ottawa business leaders and community builders,” says president of Custom Home Interiors and Corporate Housing Interiors Limited Andrew Emmans, who started both companies with colleagues Tyler Dren and Dylan MacNamara. “This distinction represents a total team effort and what we have been able to achieve as an organization over the past decade.”

While the challenge of running two companies keeps the team on their toes, they are grounded in the belief that giving back to the community is the greater measure of achievement. CHIL sets up houses and donates furniture and services to youth transitioning out of care as part of a Children’s Aid Foundation initiative called For the Love of Youth (FLY). CHI donates re-stores of gently used products to Habitat for Humanity. Both companies are also involved in various charitable fundraising initiatives and local sponsorships.

group of winners Ottawa’s 2015 Forty Under 40 Award Recipients

As Ottawa strives to be the centre of talent attraction and innovation, the Forty Under 40 awards are a way of recognizing economic trailblazers helping the city to meet this objective. Other honourees include Steve Beauchesne of Beau’s All Natural Brewing, Brian W. Boucher of Lee Valley Tools, Ian Capstick of MediaStyle, Ian M. Charlebois of RE/MAX Citywide Realty, Brittany Forsyth of Shopify, and Steve Schmalz of PCL Constructors Canada.

The Forty Under 40 awards are co-hosted by Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce. The 2015 awards recipients were chosen by a panel of judges from more than 240 applications and 80 finalists.


Custom Home Interiors works with industry professional to provide leading edge furniture, appliances, home automation, fireplaces, window treatments and fittings for commercial and residential projects.

We publish a quarterly newsletter containing links to bi-monthly blog posts & other relevant industry news. Subscribe to our quarterly newsletter.

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Custom Home Interiors Ignites It’s Imagination with Charity!

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Giving back to our community is something that is very important to Custom Home Interiors.  A few months back, we began our search for a charitable organization that would compliment what CHI does.  It was clear almost immediately that all signs pointed to Habitat for Humanity National Capital Region.

I actually met Habitat NCR CEO Donna Hicks in the summer at one of the Mayor’s Breakfast events held at the beautifully renovated and restored Museum of Nature.  Donna spoke about Habitat’s fall winter gala “Steel Toes & Stilettos” and I knew immediately it was something I wanted to be involved with.

I joined the “Steel Toes & Stilettos” Gala team as a Table Captain, responsible for promoting and selling a table of tickets for the event.  It was an amazing evening and I was so happy to be involved.

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Habitat for Humanity “Steel Toes & Stilettos” Gala @ The Westin, Ottawa
October 15, 2010

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CHI Commercial Sales Representative Suzy Kendrick
Proud “Table Captain”

We knew right away that Custom Home Interiors wasn’t stopping there.  We had a big event coming up and wanted Habitat for Humanity to be involved.

I set up a meeting with Myrna Beattie, Director of Retail Operations at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store.  Myrna excitedly agreed to join CHI as our Official Charitable Partner.  After our discussions, we decided the best way to raise money for HFH NCR would be a Silent Auction at the Custom Home Interiors Grand Re-Opening Industry Night.

We had an overwhelming response from our industry peers and the Ottawa business community as a whole with donations for the silent auction and need to give a shout out to them all!

GE Mabe
Hot 89.9/Newcap Radio
Luc Crawford Design Planning
Artfrik Home
Leeza Distribution
Kiwi Choice
Renu Spa
Strokes of Genius Painting
Hilton Garden Inn Ottawa Airport
Jody Lavoie

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Custom Home Interiors Grand Re-Opening Industry Cocktail Party Silent Auction
October 28, 2010

When the evening concluded, bids were tallied and money collected, we were thrilled to see we had raised over $2300 for the Habitat for Humanity National Capital Region Re-Store!

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Custom Home Interiors Directors Andrew Emmans & Tyler Dren along with Commercial Sales Representative Suzy Kendrick present Habitat for Humanity’s CEO Donna Hicks and Director of Retail Operations Myrna Beattie with the cheque.

-Suzy Kendrick
Commercial Sales Representative

… and now the whole CHI team was getting the charity itch.


Happy November… I mean Movember!!

We’re coming to the end of Movember people! The month where men of all ages, decided to grow their ‘staches’ for 30 days in hopes and dreams of achieving mustache glory.  Actually… no.  This is a cause to raise awareness for prostate cancer.

We’re pleased to see CHI Director of Sales & Marketing Andrew Emmans taking the lead in supporting to the cause for Custom Home Interiors!

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In joining the 60,000 odd men that have signed up for the cause, Andrew says

I’m doing this because 4,400 men die of prostate cancer in Canada each year and one in six men will be diagnosed during his lifetime. This is a cause that I feel passionately about and I’m asking you to support my efforts by making a donation to Prostate Cancer Canada.”

It’s been a long month for Andrew as he has endured the comments, looks, stares from people and jokes around the office that we make, which he doesn’t know about (I guess he knows now).  But it’s all for a good cause and I’m pretty sure he has enjoyed his time of crumb catchers and soup strainers.

Here are some quick facts on prostate cancer in Canada (Courtesy of

  • The most common cancer among Canadian men – it will afflict 1 in 6 men and is a greater threat for those with a family history of the disease
  • Turning up in men in their 40s
  • Going to be diagnosed in about 24,600 men this year, not including cases that go undiagnosed due to men’s unwillingness to go for annual check-ups
  • Develops as a result of dietary, environmental and heredity factors (more research is needed to identify its causes and prevent the disease)
  • New, preliminary research suggests pharmaceuticals may help prevent prostate cancer in men at high risk of the disease
  • Often without symptoms in its earliest, most curable stage – making annual testing ever more important
  • Treated by surgery, radiation and hormone therapy (among other treatments)
  • Thought to be a potentially preventable cancer in many cases, but more research is needed

If you are still looking to donate, you can help Andrew out by clicking this link:

For more details on how the funds raised from previous campaigns have been used and the impact Movember is having please visit:

– Timothy Das
Sales & Marketing Coordinator

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