Kamo-based furniture restoration expert Kylie Springford has launched a chair-recovering service and beginners' furniture workshops.
Her For The Love of Home business focuses on teaching people to make headboards and footstools and other small pieces.
She also runs a painting technique course, and has become the main Whangarei stockist for Voodoo Molly Vintage Paint, a NZ-made, non-toxic furniture paint.
Ms Springford is hoping to finish her business degree next year, which she started with Massey University and is continuing with NorthTec.
She recently volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, training their volunteers to upcycle furniture for the ReStore outlet in Whangarei, where the charity sells items to fund its housing operation across Northland.
"I was so thrilled to be able to help Habitat. It's an example of how what might be deemed a worthless piece of furniture can become like new again and have great value. And if it makes it easier for them to sell furniture, that's just fantastic!"
She said people shouldn't have to buy new furniture.
"We already throw so much stuff away - we should all know how to restore furniture. Northlanders are thrifty and there are garages across Northland just full of furniture, waiting to be restored," she said.
She has more than 40 pieces in storage.
She said most people can relate to loving a piece of furniture because its owner might have passed away but their memory can be alive.
"That's quite common. There is something special about restoring a piece of furniture - it's therapeutic. But people just don't know where to start, so their DYI dreams and hopes pile up in garages."
Originally from Australia, Ms Springford moved to Whangarei for love, having met her husband, Tony Springford, 15 years ago at a Michael Hill staff conference.
It didn't take long for the retail manager to be swept off her feet and lured to Northland, where she worked in retail until 2015.
As a child, Ms Springford's mother knew she would some day have a career in interior design. "I was constantly rearranging furniture and staging my bedroom," Ms Springford said.
She is hoping to open up a vintage/antique furniture warehouse in Whangarei in the future, with an adjoining café.
"That's the dream but, for now, I will be focusing on the workshops."