He­len Ed­wards,

Garage Sale Trail am­bas­sador

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - UP FRONT - Words katie spain pic­ture greg higgs

WHO He­len Ed­wards has a thing for re­cy­cling, an eye for in­te­rior de­sign and an on­line fol­low­ing of peo­ple pas­sion­ate about giv­ing new life to old decor. USE IT Ed­wards says she ab­hors poorly made and sourced replica fur­nish­ings. “Peo­ple need to know that there are bet­ter ways to dec­o­rate a home. Go­ing to garage sales is fab­u­lous be­cause you find gems. You can of­ten find out the story be­hind a piece, too,“she says. COUN­TRY ROOTS Ed­wards, 47, grew up in ru­ral SA be­fore mov­ing to Ade­laide to com­plete a so­cial work de­gree. “I worked in child pro­tec­tion for 15 years, then got ex­tremely un­well through that work,” she says. The stress led her to try some­thing dif­fer­ent. BODY AND SOUL “I have Type 1 di­a­betes and de­cided I had to do some­thing for peo­ple with di­a­betes… no­body re­ally un­der­stands what it’s like to live with the men­tal-health side of it,” Ed­wards says. So, in 2000 she founded char­ity Di­a­betes Coun­selling On­line, an on­line coun­selling and support ser­vice. GO FOR IT “Di­a­betes is a big part of my every­day life, but I think that’s why you’ve just got to go for it (your dreams), too,” she says. UP­CY­CLING “I de­cided I needed an out­let for my cre­ative side, so in April last year I started a blog, Re­cy­cled In­te­ri­ors (re­cy­cled­in­te­ri­ors.org). I wanted to en­cour­age peo­ple to dec­o­rate their homes with vin­tage, to up­cy­cle and not have to buy ev­ery­thing new.” ROOM TO MOVE Re­cy­cled In­te­ri­ors has a Face­book fol­low­ing of more than 35,000 peo­ple. “I very quickly re­alised there was a big mar­ket for it. It was just be­com­ing trendy whereas years ago if you said you shopped in an op-shop peo­ple would look at you strangely.” FIXED SPACE Eigh­teen months on, she also has a stu­dio in Rostrevor where she sells up­cy­cled trea­sures and of­fers in­te­rior style con­sul­ta­tions. “I go out to peo­ple’s houses and en­cour­age them to think sus­tain­ably when dec­o­rat­ing. That might not mean ev­ery­thing sec­ond hand, but a blend of new and old – healthy planet, healthy peo­ple, healthy home.” TREA­SURE This self-con­fessed ren­o­va­tion TV show ad­dict can of­ten be found in op-shops, at garage sales or swoop­ing on hard-rub­bish finds. “I drive around and see hard rub­bish and it breaks my heart,” she says. “Quite a few things in here and in my house have come off the side of the road. Peo­ple are lazy... they could do­nate it to op-shops who would love it or have a garage sale and make some cash.” SALE TRAIL This month, Ed­wards is the SA am­bas­sador for The Garage Sale Trail, held on Oc­to­ber 25. Lo­cals are en­cour­age to sign up to host one of the more than 8000 garage sales na­tion­wide. HERE TO STAY “I don’t think the up­cy­cled vin­tage trend will go away. Young peo­ple are sewing, pick­ling, mak­ing… it’s trendy, and peo­ple are say­ing ‘I picked this chair up on the side of the road and painted it!’”

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