Helen’s Eclectic Boho Haven

published Mar 17, 2015
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(Image credit: Leanne Bertram)

Name: Helen Edwards, Blogger, Stylist, Author & Wellbeing Coach
Location: Rostrevor, South Australia
Size: 1,884 square feet
Years lived in: 16 years; Owned

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Helen is a fantastic force of creativity and happiness, and her cozy home is an extension of her bright and colorful character. Filled with things found, bought and gifted, it’s the layers and depth of time that make this house something of a warm hug hello.

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Welcome to Rostrevor! (Image credit: Leanne Bertram)
(Image credit: Leanne Bertram)

Helen is often very spontaneous and of the moment in her desire to create the vision in her mind. Intuitively, and not one to shy from a lick of color, she might just grab some paint and start painting a wall, feeling her way through — and seeing where it ends up.

With the eye of a true artist, you could say she has a real knack.

(Image credit: Leanne Bertram)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic Bohemian – Vintage with a touch of Scandi, Rustic and mid century – lots of colour!

Inspiration: I find nature gives me the best inspiration – the sea, the sky, the mountains and the forests. My own garden. The way sunlight falls in the dining room late in the day. Colour, Contrast, smooth against rough, old next to new. A lot of my thinking and inspiration comes when running – I am a painter, a singer and I love to take photos of landscapes and am fascinated by the visual. All of these things inspire me and are reflected in my home.

Favorite Element: Despite wishing I had a large space to entertain and lay out some gorgeous pieces of furniture, I do love the cosy nature of our home and the fact we are often very close to each other, but can close a door and retreat. I love that we can see the sun set every night from our dining room and kitchen, and that we can see the hills at the end of our street.

Biggest Challenge:
Living with Type 1 Diabetes since 1979 and all the associated health conditions and the daily roller coaster it can bring. In particular, successfully having my 3 sons was a big challenge. In terms of my house, it is working with limited space and small rooms, as well as creating a home we love with limited finances.

What Friends Say: People always say they feel warm in my home, that is has a sense of happiness and history. They love to look at all of the things on display and see the constant changes I make. I am told it is full of personality and I love that.

Biggest Embarrassment: All the things that need fixing or updating, especially the floors and bathroom, and the outside areas— concrete needing fixing, old falling down fences and plenty of room for improvement on our street appeal!

Proudest DIY: Overcoming a frozen shoulder I had for 5 years and being able to paint again, meaning I have painted quite a lot of our house, with more to go. My first wallpaper job, although far from perfect it was such a satisfying thing to complete. My first curtain rod install and learning to use the cordless drill! My painting is also far from perfect but I love having a paint brush in my hand.

Biggest Indulgence: My original 1950 Danish leather sofa— it was really the same cost as a new couch or less, but for me that is a big spend as I tend to buy most things op shop, vintage or upcycle roadside finds.

Best Advice: Don’t give in to trends. They change so fast you will be throwing things out and moving them on each season. Stick with key pieces you love and build your own story and history of your family life with the things you choose to have in your home, and add elements of what you love in the trends – for example current trends are right on vintage industrial so look for key pieces that will have longevity, but hold off on the pineapples and deer heads– these will soon be off trend! Buy locally designed and made, sustainable pieces blended with vintage and things you make or update yourself.

Dream Sources: Jardan, Cult, and any of the guys making their own recycled and sustainable furniture, such as Michael Hayes, Rubble Design, Bombora Custom Furniture, Wildwood – I would love pieces from all of them! Oh and a kitchen from Cantilever!

(Image credit: Leanne Bertram)

Resources of Note:



  • Vintage 1940’s Dresser- found in a vintage store years ago and recently upcycled with Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan in Paloma and new handles added
  • Vintage chest of drawers-bought at a garage sale for $30
  • Vintage seamstress hem measure- $5 at a garage sale
  • Flower Mat with amber glass bottles- Flourish Home and Gift
  • Vintage mid century blue pots( x 2) bought from In the Moment Ceramics
  • Vintage Merry Go Round – Howard’s Finishing Touches
  • Vintage Bingo Roller- My Modern Nest
  • Vintage mini Globe- My Modern Nest
  • Vintage Adonised Art Deco Pink Vase- Ebay
  • Handmade wooden box- Duncan Meerding Designs – a gift!
  • Retro red clock- second hand shop on Magill Rd
  • Bentwood Chairs- Gumtree
  • Cushions – Flourish Home and Gift
  • Recycled Rag Rug- one of our own we sell from our store
  • Vintage Wool rug- ebay
  • Art work is all from op shops except the Aboriginal Print which was a gift from a job I did in my diabetes work in Darwin
  • Vintage Map of Africa- from my parents who are school teachers
  • Rusty metal vintage hatbox – Pratty’s Vintage Markets at the showgrounds
  • Brass pot plant – Archer and Archer


  • Smaller red and blue vintage rug- The Buyers Market, Magill Rd
  • Large rug- Fred Cetta Carpets
  • Upcycled Trunk Coffee table- Gumtree
  • Vintage 1950 Danish leather sofa- Mid Century Modern
  • Burlap and grey stripe occasional chair- Flourish Home and Gift
  • Vintage Green velvet mid century chair- Vinnie’s Op Shop
  • Vintage Mid century Sleigh chair (in window) – ebay
  • Aztec Ottoman- Temple and Webster
  • Natural foot stool with tree legs- vintage from Salvos
  • Blue velvet foot stool- Gumtree
  • Wicker baskets – op shop finds
  • Oak chest with Tv on was an $8 Garage Sale find, and stripped
  • Red retro lamp – Gumtree
  • White lamp – Vinnies
  • Retro Side Table- Vinnies
  • Blue Industrial Stool- garage sale
  • Upcycled Farm Sifter ( now wall shelf ) – Garage Sale
  • Floral Blue art- Willie Stewart Interiors
  • Small artwork x 2 next to it – both op shop finds
  • Large Oil Painting of a village street – Pedlar’s Antiques
  • Rabbit Lino Print – MissFire Photography and Art
  • Various collectibles are all op shop finds or gifts
  • Small cases/trunks (white and brown leather ones) – Op Shop finds
  • Book Case- was in house when we moved here
  • Cushions on chaise and other chairs are all secondhand finds
  • Large Red Clock- Flourish Home and Gift
  • Vintage Barometer – Garage sale
  • Vintage art (oils) – all op shop finds
  • Large pastel painting is my own work
  • Little Purple art work is from a market
  • Armadillo and Co Daisy Mat – under green chair


  • Retro yellow and chrome dining table- ebay
  • Chairs- all via ebay or Op Shops
  • China and collectibles- all collected over time via garage sales, op shops, ebay, roadside finds and vintage store
  • 24 K gold plated dinner set was my 100 year old Grandma’s wedding gift to her and passed to me some years back, she just celebrated her 100 th birthday!
  • Industrial yellow and red stools – garage sale
  • Book shelf table – Peddlar’s Antiques
  • Pot Stand – garage sale – painted by me with Miss Mustard Seed milk paint
  • Copper bread tin – ebay
  • Art – the 3 large abstract pieces were my Matriculation Art Project of salt lakes in our country region, in three times – sunset, full of water and dry
  • The Abstract trees and mountains etc is my original of memories from road trip we took with the kids
  • The Leaves are my son’s school art work
  • Vintage Bakelite radio (working) – garage sale
  • Upcycled side table – Alfie and Audrey
  • Rug- Fred Cetta Carpets


  • Kitchen was from Bunnings about 8 yrs ago, I sourced vintage pressed metal for the splash back which hubby installed
  • Vintage Aussie Oak Sideboard – The Buyer’s Market
  • Retro Red Canisters – Scullery Days Vintage
  • Upcycled SAFCOL Fish Crate, found in an old shed at our family beach shack and used as a wall shelf
  • Glass storage jars – Temple and Webster
  • Various tins and collectibles- Op shops and Garage Sales


  • Bed was bought about 12 years ago and I really wanted to change it but in true upcycling spirit I painted it with Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan in Paris Grey
  • Wallpaper – Cole and Sons, Woods wallpaper
  • Pendant lights are Spindent Light by Nick Sadowsky
  • Chest of drawers is from my childhood and originally owned and stripped by my Mum. I took it when I left home.
  • Suitcases and beauty cases are op shops and second hand store finds
  • Metal bed head is because I really want an iron bed and got it on ebay!
  • Cane and wicker chairs are all Op Shop or Ebay Finds
  • Bed Side tables are Op Shop finds
  • Art work – Large Abstract piece – Salvos, Naked woman – garage sale
  • Fan with feathers- Op shop Find
  • Brett Whitely Print – Greys Online
  • Grass Tree – my own work
  • Large Mirror- Salvos
  • Lamp with horse shade – lamp Op shop, shade Temple and Webster
  • Timber Lamp- Gumtree with Op Shop shade
  • Floral Wool rug – Temple and Webster
  • Green bedside rug – ebay
  • Hat Box -Salvos


  • Back recliner from Natuzzi about 15 years ago and hubby won’t give it up!!
  • Tea Trolley -inherited from my Mother In Law
  • Avery Scales- ebay find
  • Vintage 1950’s fan – garage sale
  • recycled Denim and Jute rug – one of our stock from our shop
  • Curtains – Freedom
  • Lamp- garage sale
  • Parrot cushion – One Rundle Trading
  • Kantha Cushion covers – Temple and Webster
  • Colourful Throw – Op Shop Find
  • Trunk – Op Shop find
  • Brass mirrors – inherited from my Mother In Law
  • Printer Tray on wall – Rock N Rustic
  • Ventilator artwork – Temple and Webster
  • Other art work is Op Shop finds
  • Yellow and blue footstool – Temple and Webster


  • Art Deco Dresser – from a friend
  • Vintage Peacock Chair – Ebay
  • Crate – Garage Sale
  • Black Midcentury chair- ebay
  • Chippy white 40’s cupboard – Scullery Days Vintage
  • Jute rug – Freedom
  • Curtain – Freedom
  • Orange and green rug – Flourish Home and Gift
  • Vintage wooden Filing drawers – Scullery Days Vintage
  • Vintage green Sewing Machine Husqvarna – roadside find
  • Art work – Wombat – drawn as a gift for me
  • Other art – Op Shop finds
  • Lamp – Op Shop find
  • Retro Picnic Set Tin – Garage Sale
  • Brass pot – Op Shop
  • Vintage Pegs – Scullery Days Vintage
  • Blue stripe Hemp rug – one we sell in our store
  • Blue Upholstered chair – roadside find, believe it or not painted by me with Chalk Paint in Paloma
  • Cushions – op shops
(Image credit: Leanne Bertram)
(Image credit: Leanne Bertram)

Thanks, Helen!

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