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Adding Vintage to Your Home

Posted Thursday, October 16, 2014 in: Guest Nerd Obsessed With
As much as I love hunting a secondhand market for vintage things for our home, I love trawling the net for other interior design blogs. I’ve been enjoying reading design blogs for years and years, and it’s one of the reasons I decided to start my own. When you find a great blog it’s like a huge dash of inspiration to get up off your butt and actually DO stuff to your own home!

One blogger I have come across in the past year is South Australia-based Helen Edwards, who writes the lovely Recycled Interiors. One of the things I like most about Helen is that she has bucketloads of endless energy, which guilts me off Pinterest and into picking up a paintbrush. She is a full-time interiors blogger, social worker, diabetes educator, runs a national diabetes charity, has three kids, studies interior design and has also just launched an online shop selling vintage finds. Another thing I like about Helen is that she is hugely into sustainability, recycling and reducing landfill – especially when it comes to our homes. She goes crazy over all things old and vintage.

Vintage lights, a New York flea market find, hang above the kitchen of Etica Studio Carla Karsakis' home (see the full tour here). Styling and photography by Meghan Plowman of The Orchard.

You guys might already have read my posts on how I love to rummage through vintage markets and secondhand shops for vintage finds as well as clothes (you can read my tips for successful flea market-ing here) and how I get a kick out of verge-picking and dragging other people’s junk home, often to the resigned wrath of the husband.

Helen is one such person who totally understands! Like me, she believes that it helps add a nice warmth to a home to have at least one thing, big or small, that is old or vintage or just a little bit worn. Yes, even if your house is new and shiny and modern – or perhaps particularly if your house is new and shiny and modern. I don’t think you need to fear about your house starting to look like your grandma’s. There is something about an old piece of furniture, or a quirky old vintage item, that adds character to a room and it just WORKS - and it can create such a cool talking point.

Modern and vintage meet in the home of Kylie Radford and Richard Poulson, the founders of Morrison. Their stylist Jo-Anne Pabst made the cushion cover from vintage fabric. Styling by Jo-Anne Pabst, photography by Grant Taylor.

So I decided I would interview Helen, my fellow vintage-lover (and much more of an expert on it than me!) about all things vintage – why she thinks buying secondhand has become so trendy lately, and why incorporating vintage pieces to your home and mixing them in with new or more contemporary pieces can add warmth, style and character - but most of all, something unique!

Guest Nerd: Helen Edwards of Recycled Interiors
on Embracing Vintage for Your Home

House Nerd: Tell us a bit about yourself. What are you most passionate about?

Helen: So many things! I am a passionate advocate for sharing resources, saving our precious planet, world peace and human rights. Planet, People, Home (which is my tagline for Recycled Interiors) and caring for all of these things is the most important thing to me. Our world is amazing and we should really be standing up and doing our utmost to be sure we keep it secure for future generations.I am just a little bit hippie and a little bit crazy! But I am not too fussed any more about what people think of me and stand up for what I believe in.

Vintage suitcases, found on the side of the road, offer storage in this little girl's bedroom. Photo by Heather Robbins of Red Images Fine Photography.

House Nerd: You are big on recycling and re-using vintage things for the home. What does this stem from?

Helen: I have always been a vintage lover and it goes right back to my hippie parents taking me to secondhand shops! I remember having a love of china and glass, especially green glass, right back then.

We would go and visit my great aunt and uncle most weekends, driving from Elizabeth in the north of Adelaide, to Christies Beach in the south, so over an hour, to visit them and the beach. They would always take a small china animal from the china cabinet and give it to me. It was so magical. I was only little, under four years old, but it is such a strong memory for me.

Bentwood chairs teamed with an antique dining table and a modern David Bromley painting in the home of Vanessa Fordham and Karl Cramond, the founders of luxury events hire business Villa Kula. Photo by Meghan Plowman of The Orchard.

House Nerd: What do you think there is to love about buying (or finding!) vintage for the home?

Helen: Buying and finding vintage is such an adventure. Part of it is the thrill of the hunt. You don’t know what you are going to find when you set out for an op shop visit, or a trawl through a local secondhand shop, or a surf around eBay or Gumtree. It is also the history of the piece and the thrill of finding something beautiful and unique. I also love the savings! Many older pieces are made with care and last forever. You often know you will not see the exact same piece in someone else’s home and that makes it all your own. I love thinking about who has used a tea pot or vase, sat in an old chair, or washed and hung out the vintage cloth they made by hand.

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