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.


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Birds of a Feather Flock Together @ Custom Home Interiors Tweet-Up

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Wow!  What a turnout at Custom Home Interiors‘ 1st Tweet-Up!  With the delicious food, fantastic company and wine flowing, we’re still trying to figure out what the best part of the event was.  So, for now, we’ll just say the whole thing!

Image and video hosting by TinyPicKimberley Seldon withThe Moggit Girls, Mary Taggart, Jane Daly & Heather Burke

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Custom Home Interiors’ Suzy Kendrick (far left) helps one event attendee with their first tweet

Behind the scenes, a lot went into getting the CHI Showroom ready for the Tweet-Up.  We are in the final stages of a total showroom renovation, so all the staff pulled together and worked really hard to make CHI shine.  We cleaned!  We organized!  We “made pretty”!

For some of the “pretty”, we’d like to sincerely thank @MVPetals (Florist Michelle VandenBosch).  Michelle prepared 3 amazing floral arrangements for us and WOW did they ever add to the beauty of the new diggs.

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Floral arrangement by @MVPetals a.k.a Michelle Vanden Bosch

A BIG special thanks to Kimberley Seldon, and her daughter, Raleigh, for coming up from Toronto to see us again.  We were thrilled to have her back.  Since Kimberley’s seminar at the CHI Showroom in March was such a huge hit, we knew a reunion would have to be arranged.  However, this one would have a little twist to it.  We wanted to put a face to all the names we “tweet” with so frequently.

Tweet-Up n. A real world meeting between two or more people who know each other through the online Twitter service.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicNames tags were worn by all showing their Twitter handle at the top and “real world” name underneath (ex. CHIOttawa/Tim or CCIOttawa/Suzy).  One person even did their very first “tweet” at the event.  Once everyone had arrived, we were treated to some insider tips from Mary Taggart from Ottawa at Home magazine on how to get yourself published.  Then Kimberley Seldon gave some tips on how to use Twitter effectively. (Credit to Design Ties for writing down these great points!)

  • 30% of your tweets should be about you and give some insight into who you are. Let people get to know the real you.
  • 30% of your tweets should be about your business (assuming you have a business you want to promote).
  • 30% of your tweets should be thanking people who mention you in their tweets. Share the love!!

For all you mathematicians out there, yes, that still leaves 10%.  So, we decided that the last section should be bumped up to 40%.  Make the extra 10% about recognizing your followers.  Keep sharing the love and give props!

Image and video hosting by TinyPicKimberley Seldon explaining the benefits & best practices of Twitter

On that note, we really wants to show Twitter some love.  Twitter has given CHI such a tremendous amount of brand exposure as well as introduced us to many designers in the Ottawa community.  Through these connections we’ve been given fresh & cool design ideas and found a great way to spread the news about different events.  As I’m sure you all know, news on Twitter travels fast!

So why should your business develop and maintain a social media strategy?  Here’s what we think:

“Twitter has enabled me to create and nuture meaningful business relationships as I am able to share and collaborate with my peers.  It’s critical that you manage your brand effectively on Twitter and especially pay attention to what people are saying about you.” – Tim Das, Custom Home Interiors

“Being new to Ottawa and the design industry, Twitter has been a fantastic way to meet people and find out what’s going on in the world of design and decorating in the nation’s captial.  Building and maintaining a reliable network of contacts is so important in business development and as I move forward with the development Custom Commercial Interiors, I know that Twitter will continue to be a powerful tool.”  – Suzy Kendrick, Custom Commercial Interiors

We’re not the only ones who think Twitter is great!  Take a look at this video from our Tweet-Up:

Thanks again to those who attended.  Until next time!

– Tim Das & Suzy Kendrick

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