At Eco Dwelling, shoppers discover unique gifts and distinctive home goods that can be characterized by all of the latest buzz words – sustainable, organic, recycled, eco-friendly and vintage. But for owner and interior designer Angie Besecker ’89, being “eco-logical” is something that took root during her college days.

“When you’re on a budget, you get creative and resourceful. I’d literally pick an old chest off the side of the road and make it new, or repurpose a door into a headboard. And that’s how the passion started – finding old things and making them new.”

Angie, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in management and a minor in marketing from the Bryan School of Business and Economics, purchased an indoor/outdoor advertising display company, which she grew from seven locations to 80, and from that built a full-service advertising agency, Luna Blue Creative .

Before Angie opened a storefront, she was designing interiors for fun, she says. “I was always doing little projects at my house. Friends would see that and want me to help them. I thought, what’s missing in this area? Definitely an eco home store.”

Old becomes new again

Angie opened her first retail home store, Dwelling, in Summerfield and featured furniture, lighting, mirrors, art, fabric and gifts. “I met so many wonderful artists – socially responsible designers and manufacturers who were creating unique eco-friendly products.” Glasses made from wine bottles, dining tables from reclaimed elm wood, serving bowls from old Beatles records, and lighting from French wine barrels to name a few.

I just asked myself, what’s missing in this area? Definitely an eco home store.

In the new Greensboro location on Lawndale Avenue, the footprint is substantially larger and the name has been changed. Eco Dwellingunderscores Angie’s commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly materials, such as reclaimed wood, metal, hemp and bamboo.

Angie is passionate about partnering with local and socially responsible businesses. “We design furniture that gets built in the Triad by experienced carpenters and upholsterers whose jobs are overseas now.”And she hopes to continue her popular farmer’s markets, which feature organic wine tastings and locally-made, organic bread, honey, jams, fresh eggs and more.

Not an eco-maniac

Angie’s eco-consciousness extends beyond her business. She used to host green cleaning segments on Fox 8. She also established a recycling program at Jesse Wharton Elementary School, where her children attend, and hopes to spearhead recycling in all Guilford County Schools if she can secure funding. “I’m not a green freak. My intention is not to force eco products on customers. I think there are subtle things everyone can do to make a difference in the environment.”

With a knack for helping her clients envision and personalize their living spaces, Angie has a sustainable approach to home design as well. “I encourage smart purchases that can move with you when you change houses or that can find a new purpose in your home.” She shows clients how to get the most out of the furniture they already have.

“I don’t encourage throwing out any furniture. For example if you have a sofa with a solid wood frame, it is probably worth re-upholstering. I had a client whose husband found all of his old skateboards. From those, we made a skateboard headboard and shelf for her son’s room. They loved it.”

Photography by Chris English, University Relations