Robb & Stucky Designers

Robb & Stucky Designers Lend Expertise to New Habitat Sarasota Homeowner

June 16, 2014 – Sarasota, FL – There is home decorating on a dime; decorating on a shoestring; extreme home makeovers and then there is just getting an expert to do it all and maybe getting a big surprise at the end either because you don’t like the results or the bill is huge.

But a very pleasant surprise was just what one local woman got late last month when she moved into her new Habitat for Humanity Sarasota home.

From left, Joanne Hutchinson, Dagmar Bartlett (seated); Bonnie Betz, left, Kelly Bridges (standing).

From left, Joanne Hutchinson, Dagmar Bartlett (seated); Bonnie Betz, left, Kelly Bridges (standing).

Monday, June 30, 2014, was most likely an ordinary day for most of us, but not for Tia McCants. The retired U.S. Army Sergeant closed on her new home in Sarasota that day. It was a life changing event for her – the purchase of the house marked a new beginning for this hardworking veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. Her house was also the first Habitat Sarasota VETERAN BUILD completed.

McCants has faced many challenges in her life from serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to putting in 300 “sweat equity” hours during the construction of her new home. It had been many years since McCants had a permanent place to reside; most recently she rented a room in Brandon, FL due to the high costs of rentals in Sarasota. Given her previous living situation, furnishings for McCants new home were sparse.

Enter the Robb & Stucky dream design team. When Dagmar Bartlett, Bonnie Betz, Kelly Bridges, and Joanne Hutchinson heard that McCants might need some help outfitting her new home, the quartet were on board immediately. In April, they convened at the home under construction and took inventory. They reviewed each room, nook and cranny. Then, with the arsenal of household items and furniture that is the Habitat Sarasota ReStore, they got to work.

The empty rooms served as a palette for the designers’ imaginations. A sofa, chairs, end tables, lamps and bedding were brought in along with decorative pieces such as vases and candle holders – all underwritten by Habitat donors and purchased at the ReStore. The third bedroom was turned into a den, complete with television for those quieter moments. Even the kitchen cabinets were stocked with pots, pans and dishes.

The result is a homey atmosphere for McCants and her family and a vivid illustration of treasures that can be found in the Habitat ReStore.

Bartlett, Betz, Bridges and Hutchinson have received their share of thanks for the hard work they put into the interior design of McCants house, but no gratitude is as meaningful as the reaction from their pro bono client, McCants.

“I am overwhelmed,” she said when she walked into her new home, as she wiped tears from her eyes. “Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve slept in a bed of my own?”

It’s been too long, but now, thanks for these four designing women, McCants has her very own showplace she can call her home.

About Habitat for Humanity Sarasota

Habitat for Humanity Sarasota strives to eliminate substandard housing through advocacy, education and partnership with families and individuals in need by building decent, sustainable and affordable housing. Since 1985, Habitat Sarasota has built and renovated over 200 homes in the greater Sarasota area, transforming the lives of hundreds. Habitat Sarasota works together with local sponsors, donors and volunteers to build communities and families throughout the Sarasota area. Habitat homebuyers are qualified and selected based on their need for decent and affordable housing; ability to pay back a zero-interest home loan; and willingness to partner with Habitat by completing hundreds of hours of “sweat equity” and a series of basic homebuyer classes. To learn more about Habitat Sarasota call (941) 365-0700 or visit