Archive for category: DIY

Tablescape Checklist: Life, Light and Layers

Tablescape Checklist: Life, Light and Layers

Necessity is the mother of invention, and no one knows this better than Food Network star, Sandra Lee.

On her popular show, Semi-Homemade Cooking, Sandra Lee created and assembled decorative elements for the tables on which she served her themed meals. The English word did not exist to describe the thoughtful arrangement of objects on a table, so she created it: tablescape.

The linguistic luminary Sandra Lee may have coined the term in 2003 but the idea has been around since Victorian times.

According to Slate Magazine, it was during the era of Downton Abbey that tablescapes went from just nicely arranged place settings to creative displays that would make Liberace proud. The reason? Victorian folks went from service à la française (bringing dishes to table all at once) to service à la russe (servants serving guests on individual plates from dishes brought to the sideboard).

The emptiness left on the table by service a la russe had to be filled, and filled it was with lavish displays of natural and manmade ornamentation.

Victorian tablescapes were meant to relate a rich and celebratory atmosphere and they are still common today at holiday dinners, weddings and children’s parties. The main components are elaborate place settings and a magnificent centerpiece. Other special touches like place markers, take-away keepsakes for the guests, and clever little napkin rings are often added.

Dining Tablescape

Nowadays there’s another kind of tablescape. Decorating enthusiasts world-wide gain great pleasure from creating home décor tablescapes. These displays are meant to create visual interest and showcase treasured items year round, not just for special events. Home décor tablescapes are common on mantles, side tables, coffee tables, bookshelves and dressers.

At the new boutique ReStore in Teays Valley you will find numerous examples of both types of tablescape. The ReStore Manager, Melanie James, is a gifted merchandiser trained in Kirkland’s style of display and her tablescapes would make Sandra Lee AND Liberace proud.

Melanie’s tablescapes always include three important components: light, life and layers.

Light comes in the form of lamps, candles and even mirrors. Life is achieved with real or faux flowers, and layers are easy with books, textiles, baskets and trays. All of these items are frequently donated to the Teays Valley ReStore which provides Melanie an ever-changing assortment of tablescaping components.

The first step when assembling a tablescape, according to Melanie, is to build a strong foundation.

  • Create a perimeter for the tablescape taking into account the empty space required for functionality.
  • In the perimeter, build the foundation. It should “support” the rest of the items in the display.
  • Place the very large decorative accessories first to anchor the foundation.
  • Use large books, trays and/or baskets to build strong layers.

After the foundation is set, the goal is to achieve depth.

  • Create peaks and valleys with decorative items. For example, separate two tall candleholders with a smaller vase of flowers. The peaks of the candleholders contrasted with the valley of the flowers creates depth.

Finally, use the pyramid principle to perfect the tablescape.

  • Assemble the decorative accessories so that they stair-step up and/or down from the height of your display.
  • It’s important to understand that peaks and valleys will exist within the overlay of the pyramid. A good tablescape has a gradual rise to the top with many peaks and valleys along the way.

Desk Tablescape

Get more tablescape tips from other creative types during the inaugural TableScape Championship at the new Teays Valley ReStore.

The following entrepreneurs have accepted our challenge to design and assemble their own tablescape including items that will promote their own small business. At the conclusion of the event, the contents of each tablescape will be donated to the ReStore and resold to fund the mission of Habitat for Humanity.

Rock Paper Sisters

Twin sisters Lindsay Rotella and Megan Hannah launched Rock Paper Sisters in January 2012 after deciding to turn their hobby into a business. They specialize in paper goods for all types of events.

Sweetly Salvaged

Kelly Mangus believes in repurposing and upcycling which is why she started Sweetly Salvaged in 2015. Her creativity shows in every vintage piece of furniture and decor that she restores.

Birds, Blooms & Butterflies by Design

Owners Rob and Liz O’Quinn have a passion for preserving and creating native habitat for wildlife and it shows in their very unique boutique located at 3475 Teays Valley Road.


Marisa Jackson’s love of art and her skill as an illustrator inspired her to open an shop in 2015. Through her online store Marisa sells stationary, prints, invitations and whimsical illustrations.

Community members are encouraged to visit the Teays Valley ReStore, across from Hurricane City Park on Teays Valley Rd., Tuesday, February 14 through Saturday, February 18 to vote for their favorite table. The tablescape artist with the most votes will be named the champion and invited to return for next year’s championship.


This article originally appeared in the Charleston Gazette-Mail in February of 2017.


Doors ReDesigns by ReStore Customers

Doors ReDesigns by ReStore Customers

We love doors! We use them in many different ways around the ReStore. We built our paint storage shelving from solid core doors. We use doors to mount signs and pricing displays. We even have doors in the art installation in our Homeowner Education & Community Center.

Apparently, our customers love doors too! Check out these fabulous door redesigns.

Walls Door ReDesign

Dwight Walls


McGhee Door ReDesign

Reba McGhee


Smith Door ReDesign

Lesa Smith

Find more ways to use doors on our Pinterest Board.

Smith Door ReDesign

Lesa Smith


Watts Door ReDesign

LeighAnn Watts


Reedy Door ReDesign

Daniel Reedy


McGhee Door ReDesign

Reba McGhee

Love ReDesign photos? You’ll like our Chair ReDesigns and Furniture ReDesigns too!

Mark Tobin Moore


Habitat for Humanity Homeowner Education & Community Center Art Installation by Mark Wolf and Chris Dutch

Our Favorite Furniture ReDesigns by ReStore Customers

Our Favorite Furniture ReDesigns by ReStore Customers

We are so impressed by our creative customers! Here are just a few of the fantastic furniture redesigns done by Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha & Putnam ReStore shoppers.

Reba McGhee used an old headboard and footboard to create this primitive style bench.

A little paint and some new hardware was all Melody Milam Cook needed.

Marie McCauley installed a sink into a beautiful old dresser to create this vanity.

That’s not just an end table Kara Nabors created, it’s her dog’s bed.

Kim McLaughlin said a grey metal file cabinet would NOT do. So, she created this beauty!

Debbie Abdalla united two chairs to create a fiery bench.

Love chair redesigns? You’ll probably like this ReStorie too.

We can tell that Amanda Fields likes color and pattern!

Katie Cole turned an old entertainment stand into a kitchen for her kiddos.

Love redesigns for children? You’ll love this ReStorie too.

Sherri Jackson's Furniture ReDesign

Sherri Jackson turned a boring old horizontal desk into a vertical showpiece.

For more redesign inspiration, check out the Furniture Board on our Pinterest Page.

Chair Redesigns by ReStore Customers

Office, arm, dining, upholstered, hotel, rocking, rolling – you name it, we’ve got that kind of chair. So many chairs are donated to the ReStore that we often issue “Free Chair” coupons to our e-newsletter subscribers just to keep the inventory manageable.

Here are a few of our favorite chair redesigns by seven very special ReStore customers.

  • Brandi Bass created a exotic bench by combining two ReStore chairs.
  • Tara Kirkpatrick and her daughter went crazy on a couple of old wooden chairs.
  • Jason Rucker won ReDesign by ReStore 2013 with his beautiful recreation of a rattan chair.
  • Megan Douglas recreated a sassy but simple animal print chair.
  • Amber Ferrell turned a boring desk chair into a bold statement piece for her office.
  • Debra Martin took a stuffy old office chair and made it fresh and trendy in yellow.
  • Kara Nabor’s redesign mixed turquoise and red for a dramatic finish!
  • Shari Mamon’s redesigned chair looks so cool and modern with the new fabric and shiny silver arms.
  • Lori Wyatt transformed old patio chairs into real charmers.

Interested in getting those “Free Chair” coupons so that you can create your own redesign? Sign-up for our e-newsletter here.

Nikki Goldstang

Nikki Goldstang

Richard Switzer's Chair

Richard Switzer

Lindsay Cummings's Chair

Lindsay Cummings



ReDesign 2016: We Are So Impressed!

As summer comes to an end so does ReStore’s annual ReDesign by ReStore customer contest.

This year we received more than 50 great entries which made the Habitat for Humanity volunteer marketing committee’s job very hard; they had to pick a winner. The volunteers were asked to vote for their favorite customer redesign project that incorporated items purchased at the ReStore.

Click here to see all the 2016 ReDesign entries.

ReDesign 2016

This year the marketing committee chose Shari Mamone’s dining room redesign for the grand prize. Shari has won the opportunity to run through the ReStore for two minutes grabbing whatever she can.

WHAT? That’s right, Shari Mamone won a two minute shopping spree in the ReStore!

Shari Mamone's ReDesign

Shari’s beautiful room contains an old china cabinet and several scruffy old chairs she purchased at the ReStore. After Shari’s hard work, elbow grease, sanding, painting and reupholstering these pieces of furniture look fresh and fabulous!


This is what Shari’s chairs looked like “before” her redesign.

Just for fun, we added a new component to this year’s ReDesign competition. We let our Facebook fans choose their favorite redesign by voting with their “likes.”

Kelly Mangus won the Facebook fan prize with her double stacked redesign. She created a lovely storage tower from two old nightstands. A $50 ReStore gift card will soon be burning a hole in Kelly’s pocket.

ReDesign 2016

2016 was the seventh year for ReDesign by ReStore. Every year we grow more and more impressed with the creativity and ingenuity in our community. We thank our donors and customers for making this goodness possible and we look forward to doing it again next year.

Now get busy redesigning!

Mosaic Stepping Stone DIY

How to Make a Mosaic Tile Stepping Stone

1. Find the perfect mold. Aluminum pie plates or Jello molds commonly available at a dollar store work well.

2. Trace the opening of the mold on paper.

Mosaic Tile Stepping Stone Design

3. Layout your tile design on the paper within the boundaries of the traced mold.

4. Mix grout or mortar by following the instructions on the bag.

5. Spray the mold with Pam cooking spray if you would like to retain the mold for future use.

6. Pour 2’” – 3” of grout or mortar into the mold.

7. Tap the bubbles out by hitting the sides of the mold with a hard blunt object.

8. Allow the filling to set until it becomes a bit more solid (consistency similar to mashed potatoes).

Mosaic Tile Stepping Stone Gouted

9. Press tiles into the filling making sure they are level with the surface.

10. Gently remove any haze from the top of the tiles by wiping them with a sponge and water.

11. Allow the stepping stone to dry in the mold for two days.

12. Flip the mold over and pop out.

ReDesign Intern, Hannah Gilpen

Solar Powered Chandelier DIY

We survived!

The harsh winter is over. It’s time to shake off all that nastiness and welcome spring.

My husband, Shawn, and I decided to celebrate the impending bloom by creating a solar-powered chandelier to adorn the giant elm tree in our front yard allowing us to extend our spring porch-sitting well into the evening hours. I have to admit, I was surprised at how easily this project came together. For about $50.00 we created a beautiful light fixture using an old chandelier we found for $20 at the ReStore, a can of spray paint, a little caulk, and five solar-powered yard lights from our local hardware store.

Directions for Making Your Own Solar Powered Chandelier

Solar Powered Chandelier

Remove all electrical wiring from the chandelier, but leave the bulb bases intact. Simply cut the end of the electrical wiring and pull it though.

The stems of the solar lights are about the same diameter of the bulb bases. Test fit the stem and determine the proper height of the bulb relative to your chandelier’s size. No science here, you just have to eyeball it.

Mark one of the stems and cut it. If the stem is metal you will need a hacksaw.

Solar Powered Chandelier

After cutting the first stem, assemble the light head and test fit it to make sure it is the height you desire. Once this is confirmed, cut all of the stems to the same length.

Remove the cap of the light heads and carefully cover the solar cells with masking tape, trimming neatly around the edges with a knife.

Solar Powered Chandelier

Spray paint all surfaces of the chandelier, solar light covers and stems. The chandelier is much easier to paint while it is hanging. Don’t forget to paint the chain!

After the paint is dry, remove the masking tape and assemble the lights and stems. Apply a liberal amount of silicone caulk (clear is best) around the tips of the bulb bases. This will secure the lights and help keep water out of the old bulb base.

Solar Powered Chandelier

Install the stems over the bulb bases, allowing the caulk to squish out and form a nice seal at the bottom.

Next, carefully adjust the angle of the lights and stems to make sure they are all pointing straight up. This is harder and more time consuming than it sounds. Hang the chandelier at a reasonable working height so you can rotate it while eyeballing the alignment of the solar lights. You need to do this while the caulk is still wet. If necessary, use masking tape to temporarily hold the lights in alignment until the caulk dries (up to 24 hours depending on what type you use).

Once everything is dry and straight, make sure the batteries in each light has been activated (usually by pulling a little plastic zip tab underneath) and hang your chandelier in a place that it will get some sun in the daytime.

Solar Powered Chandelier

Remember in November

Bring your chandelier inside this fall for safe storage from the harsh winter weather.

Solar Powered Chandelier

Build Your Own Salon-Style Gallery

DIY Gallery

Creating a salon-style home gallery has been a popular trend for several years now. You can find ideas, inspiration and even templates for creating your own Parisian art salon on Pinterest. In addition to framed art and prints, designers often include non-traditional pieces of 3d wall décor like ceiling medallions, oversized letters and faux animal trophy heads. But if you really want to take your gallery wall up a notch, you will need to add layers!

Giving your home gallery depth by creating layers is possible with the addition of art risers. Unfortunately, art risers can be very expensive. So, Shawn and I created art risers for approximately $2 per riser from materials we found at the ReStore. This is a significant price savings from the varieties listed on national home-décor store websites for $15-$20 each. Here is a list of the materials and tools we used, and detailed instructions for creating your own art risers,

Materials Used

    • Scrap laminate flooring – because it is flat, light and stiff.
    • Poplar or oak 1” x 3” or similar size – use hardwood because it will not split easily – a split could cause a catastrophic failure and damage to expensive art.
    • Drywall screws – 1 1/4” are best, but 1 5/8” will do.

Tools Required

    • Power miter saw (AKA “Chop Saw”)
    • Battery powered drill
      • 3/32” bit to pre-drill hardwood for screws
      • 3/16 bit to predrill laminate
      • 5/16” to countersink screw heads (or a countersink bit)
      • Phillips screw driver bit

The Process

    • Cut 1 x hardwood to approximately 4” in length. This is the spacer.
    • Cross cut laminate flooring into a 3”-4” long piece and whatever the standard width is (usually 8”). This is the front.
    • Cut another piece of laminate into a 4” x 4” piece. This is the back.
    • Pre-drill the laminate with two 3/16” holes along the center line.
    • Use the 5/16” bit or countersink to make a slight dimple in the laminate so the screw heads will sink below the surface (this step is optional but will protect your wall from being scratched by the screw heads and make everything lay flatter).
    • Transfer the hole locations to the edge of the hardwood spacer and predrill the hardwood with the 3/32” bit. This will keep the wood from splitting when the screws are set. The hole needs to be as deep as the length of the screws you are using.
    • Attach the back to the spacer with two drywall screws. Make sure the screws are driven all the way in, but be careful not to over-tighten and break the screw or split the wood.
    • Lay the piece on its back and repeat the process with the laminate for the front. The front piece should hang down well below the bottom of the spacer.
    • Drill two holes near the top of the back piece of laminate to use to mount the spacer to the wall.
    • Lastly, pre-drill a hole with the 3/32” bit near the top of the hardwood spacer from which your framed art will hang. Angle this hole downward so your hanging screw will have a positive tilt so the art cannot easily slip off the screw.
    • Attach the spacer to the wall with whatever wall anchors you would use to hang the art – drywall anchors, nails, etc. It all depends on the construction of the wall.

Other Tips for Creating a Salon-Style Gallery

    • The size of the laminate can be adjusted for larger or smaller art pieces.
    • The pieces don’t have to be perfectly square because they will be completely hidden from view.
    • The width of the hardwood spacer needs to be at least the thickness of the frame of the art that it will be placed next to.

Gallery Prep 1  Gallery Prep 3 Hooking to wall

2015 ReDesign Contest

2015 ReDesign Contest

A file cabinet was remodeled to create a comfy home for Mushu the beaded dragon. Wrought iron headboards were used to create a decorative exterior fence. A bowling ball was transformed into a bumble bee. All these seemingly random and peculiar events can mean only one thing. It’s ReDesign by ReStore time!

How to Play ReDesign

Every summer ReStore shoppers send us pictures of projects they have tackled using items they purchased at the ReStore. Our customers submit shots of beautifully reupholstered furniture, custom jewelry made from antique hardware, and mosaic tile covered creations. We encourage this good behavior by giving them a $10 off coupon in return.

And the Winner is…

At the end of August the Habitat for Humanity Marketing Committee votes for their favorite ReStore ReDesign and the winner is awarded a two minute shopping spree in the ReStore. This year the marketing committee chose Leigh Anne Watts as the ReDesign by ReStore winner! And, she doesn’t know it yet. So…congratulations, Leigh Anne!

Leigh Anne Watts

Leigh Anne's ReDesign

Leigh Anne’s Craft Room

Leigh Anne, a loyal West Virginian since 2002, built a beautiful work bench from an old hollow core door she purchased at the ReStore in early 2015. She made the bench legs using wood and a saw horse kit. She dipped the legs in black paint which really gives the bench great flair.
The work bench is the centerpiece of Leigh Anne’s craft room; a craft room that would make Martha Stewart drool. This room is where all the DIY magic happens that she writes about in her blog: Leigh Anne calls her blog a study in house and home, and we think she’s a great student.

Beth Ann Walker

Beth Ann Walker ReDesign

Beth Ann Walker’s Artwork

It was a hard fought battle for Leigh Anne. We had so many great entries this year. Beth Ann Walker used $1.50 worth of scrap lumber from the ReStore’s lumber yard to create a lovely piece of art for her niece, Alyssa. She assembled the multiple pieces of wood to create a flat panel and then painted a lovely scene of dandelions caught in a breeze.

Dan Brunton

Dan Brunton's ReDesign 2

Dan Brunton’s ReStore Collection

Another crowd favorite came from Charlestonian, Dan Brunton. Using an old elevation rod, hardware he found at the ReStore, and his wife’s creativity, Dan constructed a stunning photo ledge. The antiqued cast of the ledge compliments his family’s well-appointed entryway. The entryway also contains a chandelier and an old church pew that Dan purchased from the ReStore and refinished.

Over 40 Entries This Year!

Every year we are impressed and inspired by the creativity, skill and ingenuity displayed by ReStore customers. To see all the 2015 ReDesign by ReStore entries, visit our Facebook page. And, stay tuned to see the video of Leigh Anne’s upcoming two minute shopping spree.

DIY Jumbo Jenga

DIY Jumbo Jenga

Jenga is a Swahili word meaning “to build,” and the name of my favorite game. It’s a game that requires thoughtful decision making and dexterity. Do you remember how to play? Once the tower of small blocks is created, each player must remove a block, and then place that block on top of the tower in the same crisscross way the tower was built. This creates a progressively taller but less stable structure. One bad decision or unsteady hand and boom – the tower collapses!

It makes sense that we at Habitat for Humanity would love a game whose name means “to build.” After independent affiliates sprouted in the United States, the first place that Habitat for Humanity International built houses was in Zaire, where Swahili is one of the major languages. Here at Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha & Putnam, in addition to building houses, we decided to build a jumbo Jenga!

This project is simple and inexpensive, but it does require the use of a chop or radial arm saw. These saws can be expensive and a little scary. If you don’t own one, maybe you can “contract” the cutting from a friend or loved one. Here’s what you’ll need to DIY Jumbo Jenga.
• (7) 2x4x8 Pre-cut studs
• Measuring tape and pencil
• Chop saw or radial arm saw
• Protective glasses
• Sanding block or electric sander

Be prepared to spend a good amount of time in the lumber yard choosing your 2x4s. It is important that the pieces you select are very straight and free of large scars. It is a little more expensive to purchase pre-cut studs instead of regular dimensional lumber, but it is worth it. Studs are straighter. Hold each piece out directly in front of you and look down the length (supporting the other end on the floor, creating a triangle with your body and the lumber). Discard any lumber with bowing. Carpenters call this procedure “crowning” the lumber.

Mark your lumber in 10.5” sections. This dimension will ensure that your jumbo Jenga is square. Keep in mind that it may be necessary to cut off rugged ends. When all pieces are marked, chop your 2×4s into 54 pieces. Make sure you have a sharp blade to reduce splintering. Wear those safety glasses! Jenga is much harder to win if you are missing an eyeball.

ReStore Tip: When using a chop saw or radial arm saw to cut the same length piece over and over again, use a “stop” (sometimes called a “jig”). A stop is a block of wood fastened securely at a precise distance from the saw blade that eliminates the need for measuring each piece, and reduces the probability of errors. Simply put the end of the stud firmly against the stop and each cut will be exactly the same length.

You must sand all 54 pieces. It takes longer than you’d imagine. The idea is to get the sides all smooth enough that they slide when you’re playing Jenga. Use a progression of sandpapers, starting with 80 grit and working your way down to 220 grit for the final sanding. How much time you want to put into sanding is up to you, but the more you sand the smoother the blocks will be, and the better they will slide out of the stack. When they’re all sanded, wipe them down with a damp cloth to get the sawdust off.

The options for decorating your jumbo Jenga are endless. Go for the traditional look by staining your lumber with redwood color water-based stain (oil-based stain will make the blocks to sticky to slide easily). Go halfsies by dividing the blocks in two and applying your favorite colors (I suggest green and white, but I know most of your prefer blue and gold). I chose to maintain the natural integrity of the wood in case jumbo Jenga gets old and we decide to resell the scrap lumber at the ReStore.

There are other great ways to customize your jumbo Jenga. Turn it into a giant truth or dare game by writing ridiculously personal questions and outlandish dares on each piece. Use it as a learning lesson for the kiddos by printing states on the blocks and requiring a capital proclaimed with each extracted block. And on the other side of the spectrum, I can’t imagine it would be hard to turn your Jenga into a drinking game. Give yourself some future flexibility by applying removable labels to the blocks instead of writing instructions directly onto the pieces.

I plan to use our jumbo Jenga as a teambuilding game for ReStore staff and volunteers by applying fun get-to-know-you questions on each piece. Questions like “If you had to eat a worm, how would you cook it?” or “Would you rather be a giant rodent or a tiny elephant?” Real thought provoking stuff! To start each team member’s turn, he or she must read a question to the person on their left. The person on the left must reply before the reader can pull his or her block. It’s sure to be a good time!

Jumbo JengaJenga Players 2  Jumbo JengaJumbo Jenga

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