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No Place Like Home For The Holidays


This past holiday season CAT’s Interior Design students got busy putting their considerable design skills to good (and charitable) use!

Photography by Grant Robinson

November 20 was construction day in the production studio, as CAT Interior Design students gathered to roll up their sleeves and start building the very best in gingerbread houses – as part of Habitat for Humanity’s seasonal fundraiser.

“Krista Paine (of Paine Construction and Design) is one of our ID instructors, and is also on the Board of Habitat for Humanity,” explains Jennifer Yeo, CAT AIDT Department Head. “She told me about the fundraiser as she thought it might be fun for the first-year interior design students to get involved. We looked into it, made arrangements, and got ALL the students involved (Q1 and Q5).

This is Habitat’s ‘First Annual Gingerbread House Photo Contest’, and the chosen theme was ‘There’s no place like home’.

“This year especially, our homes have never meant more, and for many have been a ‘safe haven’ during this unprecedented time!” explains the contest’s website.

The contest’s concept is a fun one. Participants first must purchase a “building permit”. This permit fee ($25 for Individuals/Families and $100 for Teams) provides contestants with a basic gingerbread kit. Entries need to incorporate the kit, but can then also expand out to fulfill the designer’s vision. Money raised will go to a local Lake Country build which is helping to support twelve families getting homes.

ID students fund-raised enough money to enter eight teams, and ‘build day’ was overseen by Krista Paine. Andrea Manifold, CEO of Habitat Okanagan, also popped in with a film crew to capture the students’ progress.

“Support came from school and staff, and students themselves all chipped in to buy eight ‘permits’ and extra materials,” says Yeo.

“Joining in on the fun for the 2020 Habitat for Humanity gingerbread building competition was extremely rewarding,” says Paine.

“Not only was it for an amazing cause but being able to bring our talented Interior Design students together to show the Okanagan what they’re capable of was exciting. They collectively pulled together additional materials to make their gingerbread home truly one of a kind.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed participating in this contest!” says TJ Sherstobitoff-Ihas, Q1 ID student. “My team had lots of fun coming up with ideas and loved that it was for a great cause!”

“The most challenging thing about creating the gingerbread house was the inability to preplan the space,” explains Delane White, Q1 ID student.
“As designers, we are taught to plan and develop many different solutions to solve a problem and not knowing the materials or space we were being provided forced us to come up with plans and ideas quickly.

Throughout my short time here at the Centre for Arts and Technology, I have learned a lot about Interior Design; when participating in the gingerbread house competition I utilized my knowledge of colour and different skills like sketching and model building to develop a space that felt cozy and very festive.

The most enjoyable part of the process was being able to work with my classmates and bond over a fun holiday project that raised awareness for Habitat for Humanity and helped the community.”

“It’s a great cause and a fun activity for students. It’s a great fit for ID students, and it’s also a great way to make them aware of what Habitat for Humanity does for the local community,” says Yeo. “Everyone deserves a home.”

Update: The winning entries can be viewed here

By Deborah Lampitt-McConnachie