When designers decorate a model home, they often shop in showrooms, seeking out the latest styles and colors.

Jennie Korsbon of RCC Interiors shopped at a warehouse filled with secondhand donated furniture.

Why? To raise awareness of Bridging (www.bridging.org), a Bloomington-based nonprofit that provides people in transition with the furniture and housewares they need to set up a household.

Furniture donations are down, a side effect of the weak economy, according to Char Pfeiffer, marketing/special events manager for Bridging, which asked RCC and Boyer Building Co. to collaborate on a Parade of Homes model furnished with items from its warehouse.

Korsbon said she jumped at the chance.

"It's such a fun idea," she said. "My hope is that people will see how nice it can look, pulling together found items."

That's not to say it wasn't a challenge. "The hardest thing was not being able to pick the fabrics," she said. She looked for pieces that weren't too worn and that would complement the home's architectural style, which she described as "updated Tuscan." "There were a lot of midcentury modern [pieces] but they wouldn't fit the house," she said.

Size was another criterion. "I was looking for big -- things that would not be dwarfed in the space," Korsbon said.

The house, listed for $698,900, has large rooms and an open floor plan. She found her "key pieces" -- a pair of classic camel club chairs -- and "built from that."

The secondhand furniture will be on display at the Parade model (#179 in Chanhassen) through Oct. 3. After that, the pieces will return to Bridging's warehouse for distribution to clients.

Bridging is not open to the shopping public. People who "shop" at the warehouse must be referred by an agency, such as a church, school, social worker or battered women's shelter.

But Bridging is seeking donations. Needed are dining-room tables and chairs, beds, dressers, pots and pans, bath towels and pillows, Pfeiffer said. Items must be "gently used," with no rips or stains.

"I hope people will consider donating things that are still in pretty good condition," Korsbon said.

Kim Palmer • 612-673-4784