canoe chair-compressed Chair by Karen Sealy and Camal Pirbhai. Photo: James Bombales

“Four walls alone don’t make a home,” reads the text across a video of Martin, a single dad from Toronto who was abruptly shut out of his home, unable to return for his family’s belongings. In his time of need, Furniture Bank was there to help Martin create a fresh start, with gently used furniture donated by individuals and corporations.

Founded in 1998, the charity and social enterprise assists nearly 6,000 clients per year — women and children escaping abusive situations, people transitioning out of homelessness, refugees and newcomers to Canada.

On Friday, October 30th, Furniture Bank is hosting the Chair Affair, its annual auction based gala and fundraiser at the International Centre in Mississauga. Notable artists and designers from around the GTA have decorated and customized 40 chairs and other furniture items that will be sold to the highest bidders.

BuzzBuzzHome recently attended a Chair Affair preview event at Cambria Studio in Toronto’s King East Design District, where a few of the designers were on hand to talk about their one-of-a-kind creations.

crowd-chairs-compressed Photo: James Bombales

“If you love refurbished furniture like I do, it is a must attend event,” said designer William MacDonald of WillMac Design, who breathed new life into a refined wingback. “My inspiration for the chair was as if Downton Abbey moved to Palm Beach. We all know that it’s the last season for Lord and Lady Grantham and the gang at the Abbey. I imagined them closing up their stately home and moving to Palm Beach taking with them a few grand family pieces and recovering them in elegant, youthful and colourful fabrics.”

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Evelyn Eshun of Evelyn Eshun Design Inc. opted for a chair frame from the Neoclassical era. “It is a simple classic design which suits both traditional and contemporary interiors. I chose to upholster it with a set of luxurious fabrics — one being a velvet,  which would have been a common choice in its original life, and a contemporary graphic pattern which expresses the style of today’s’ interiors.”

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This year’s event is of particular importance due to the ongoing refugee crisis. “In 2015, we have seen a 60% increase in refugees served and we look to expand our services to meeting the growing demand,” said Dan Kershaw, the Executive Director of Furniture Bank. “We stand ready to support any and all agencies supporting refugees settling into new lives here in Canada.”

Tickets for the event can be purchased online for $140 each or $949 for a group of eight (Thanksgiving sale prices end October 18th). For more information about Furniture Bank and the Chair Affair, please visit

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