Hidden gems for home decor at a new local ReStore

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by Val Nehez

I used to drive all the way to Maple Shade to browse the treasures that can be found at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. But now I don’t have to.

This year, a new ReStore location opened at 3111 W. Allegheny Ave., just around the corner from the StudioIQL East Falls offices. I love ReStore. And not just because it supports my belief that we all deserve to feel proud of our home – which it does by selling gently used furniture, appliances, building materials and home goods and sending all profits to Habitat for Humanity, which builds and repairs homes throughout the city.

I love it because of what I have discovered there. The pieces I have found at ReStore include a coral velvet couch that receives more gushing compliments than any single piece I have ever purchased. When volunteering to set up an apartment for an elderly woman experiencing housing challenges, I found a wood and iron coffee table at ReStore. The “thank you” card I received explicitly mentions the love of this small table and how it perfectly complements her living room. I keep this card at my desk.

Making a difference, one donation at a time

Other cherished finds include a low Japanese mustard velvet sectional sofa for $200. It fits my sitting room perfectly, and I matched the wall color to the velvet. We also make sure that anything usable from renovation demolition, extra building materials or no longer wanted furnishings from our clients, all go to ReStore to find new homes.

Creating respectable housing by using donated goods and volunteer labor has been the mission of Habitat for Humanity since it was founded by Millard Fuller in 1976. Millard was a self-made millionaire by the age of 29. He gave away his vast personal wealth and took up residence with his wife Linda in a Christian community farm named Koinonia Farm.

While on the farm, they undertook projects, the primary focus of which was building housing in partnership. His belief that “what the poor need is capital, not charity” was the ethos that began Habitat for Humanity.

But it may have been former President Jimmy Carter who pushed the organization into the public consciousness when he picked up a hammer in 1984 to become its most famous volunteer. By 2009, Habitat had built 300,000 homes worldwide, creating housing for more than a million people in more than 100 countries.

Millard was ultimately fired from Habitat for multiple accusations of misconduct with female staffers. He insisted until his death that he was ousted by the board of directors for political reasons. He said that they pushed him out to find a “high-paid bean counter,” instead of someone with a “strong Christian commitment.”

Other prominent board members were quoted as saying, “Millard was a hugger and that was misinterpreted… some people went out of their way to make something big out of something that wasn’t really that big…”

Whatever side of history Millard falls on, his life’s mission made a profound impact.

In a 1995 speech in Washington, he was quoted as saying, “Our choice is between grace and disgrace. Do we want graceful communities, where love and concern abound, or disgraceful ones, where love and concern are withheld and dispensed only to a privileged few? …if we give (people) a good place to live, they’ve all got a better chance.”

Parking at the Allegheny location is abundant. Staffers are super friendly and helpful. All can roll up their sleeves and volunteer to join the workforce.

Val Nehez is the owner and principal designer at Studio IQL in East Falls, which you can find at 3580 Indian Queen Lane, or at StudioIQL.com and on Instagram at studio_iql. For smaller projects, look for quickandlovely_design.


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