WOMAN IN GOLD

Bridget Hope, the founder of fash­ion show­room and on­line store Mag­pie Style, in­vites Jes­sica-Belle Greer into her Christchurch home, where bou­tique style and botan­i­cals flour­ish.

Simply You - - Contents - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY HE­LEN BANKERS

Bridget Hope of Mag­pie Style re­veals her charm­ing Can­ter­bury home

When work­ing as a pub­lish­ing direc­tor in Sin­ga­pore, lead­ing in­ter­na­tional mag­a­zines from Harper’s Bazaar to Cos­mopoli­tan, Bridget Hope never pic­tured her­self swap­ping her three-level ter­race home in the Lion City for a park-like prop­erty in ru­ral New Zealand. She thought she might move back to Auck­land, where she had pre­vi­ously worked in the mag­a­zine in­dus­try, but its in­flat­ing hous­ing mar­ket helped her Cantabrian hus­band, Gabe Ri­jpma, in his long cam­paign to con­vince her to move to Christchurch. The cou­ple bought their pic­turesque five-acre home in North Can­ter­bury sight un­seen.

The Ohoka neigh­bour­hood was the main draw­card; the semiru­ral town­ship, with es­tab­lished gar­dens giv­ing ev­ery neigh­bour their own slice of pri­vate par­adise, seemed like a great place to bring up their two boys. “There are lots of young fam­i­lies,” says Bridget. “There’s a big farm­ers’ mar­ket at the end of our street. It hap­pens ev­ery Fri­day and the whole com­mu­nity gets to­gether.”

The house’s ex­te­rior was clad in red brick when they moved in three years ago, but this was promptly im­proved by Bridget’s mother, style icon and founder of Sim­ply You Paula Ryan, who sug­gested it be plas­tered in a rough, rus­tic style and then painted white to cre­ate char­ac­ter while still look­ing chic.

Through­out the home, there is a sense of shared moth­er­daugh­ter style, es­pe­cially a love of mono­chrome first seen when you step into the foyer com­plete with a ze­bra-pat­terned mir­ror from Stu­art Mem­bery’s fur­ni­ture and home­ware busi­ness in Bali. “I felt like she paved the way for me,” says Bridget of her in­flu­en­tial mother. “We did ac­tu­ally take quite a big lead from Mum’s style, just be­cause she’s so good at it.”

While the cou­ple’s in­ten­tion was sim­ply to paint their new home, one thing quickly led to an­other and ar­chi­tect and friend Jonathan Coote from War­ren & Ma­honey was soon whip­ping up ren­o­va­tion schemes. The aim was to cre­ate a co­he­sive feel in­doors, see­ing as sev­eral quirks had been added by pre­vi­ous own­ers. “We de­cided to go for it be­cause we weren’t buy­ing the house to sell it. We weren’t too wor­ried about over-cap­i­tal­is­ing be­cause we ac­tu­ally loved it,” says Bridget.

For­tu­nately the six-bed­room, three-bath­room home had only suf­fered sur­face earth­quake dam­age, so most of the work came down to in­te­rior styling – an in­tu­itive process for Bridget, who used her fash­ion ed­i­tor’s eye to cu­rate each space. “It’s like when you go to the races and you might buy a hat, or you might buy a dress, and then the rest of the out­fit kind of falls into place,” she ex­plains. “It wasn’t con­sid­ered. I might find a piece of fur­ni­ture or some­thing, like a mint vel­vet cush­ion, and think, ‘Right, I’m go­ing to do the room mint.’”

WE DE­CIDED TO GO FOR IT BE­CAUSE WE WEREN’T BUY­ING THE HOUSE TO SELL IT.

The for­mal lounge, which Bridget calls “the good room”, is in fact dec­o­rated in shades of mint, mixed with caramel and cream fur­nish­ings. An or­nate, French-in­spired mir­ror spied by her mother while shop­ping at Le Monde Home in Par­nell, Auck­land, ties the tex­tured look to­gether. The se­cond, more fam­ily-friendly, lounge is part of the open­plan kitchen and din­ing-room space. Although the zone is styled in a serene white colour pal­ette, with mono­chrome art cush­ions from White Room In­te­ri­ors and Città, it caters to the re­al­ity of liv­ing with bois­ter­ous young sons. “I think it’s im­por­tant, when­ever you’re do­ing a ren­o­va­tion, that you re­mem­ber you have to live in it,” says Bridget. “Our cof­fee ta­ble is con­structed from old tim­ber pan­els, so boys can run lit­tle cars over them and I’m not too pre­cious about it get­ting scratched.”

Bridget is a mag­pie when she trav­els and is al­ways try­ing to fit some­thing spe­cial on the plane back home. An enor­mous framed paint­ing from Cam­bo­dia is just one suc­cess, as well as a Mex­i­can mo­saic hand­basin Paula man­aged to bring home for her daugh­ter.

A strik­ing gold writ­ing desk dates from Bridget’s time in Sin­ga­pore. Found un­der a thick layer of dust in a junk store, it was well worth pol­ish­ing to re­veal red and white hand-painted roses.

A ma­jor part of the ren­o­va­tion was halv­ing a seven-car garage to cre­ate a space for Bridget’s busi­ness, Mag­pie Style. A show­room and shop in one, Mag­pie Style of­fers pri­vate fash­ion con­sul­ta­tions with Bridget and her stylists, with ev­ery­thing in­stantly shop­pable.

Although she al­most signed sev­eral leases in town, the busi­ness­woman de­cided she didn’t want to be be­holden to a land­lord and in­stead cre­ated a mem­o­rable space for shop­pers in her own home. Fit­ted out in the style of Bridget’s dream walk-in­wardrobe, in­clud­ing plush vel­vet swivel chairs from Le Forge, it’s a wel­come change from a stark re­tail store. “It’s de­signed to pro­vide a unique ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Bridget. “Peo­ple put their hand­bags down, there are chairs, it’s com­fort­able, they get a cof­fee.

It’s not like go­ing to a nor­mal shop. It’s very cosy and it’s fem­i­nine.”

De­spite be­ing a half-hour drive out of cen­tral Christchurch, a con­stant stream of vis­i­tors wind their way up the long, tree-lined drive­way for a pri­vate ap­point­ment, or for a browse when the show­room opens as a shop on Fri­days. What was in­tended to be a sim­ple side busi­ness has rapidly ex­panded into a fully stocked shop, with Bridget be­ing one of the main sup­pli­ers in Christchurch for her mother’s time­less Paula Ryan la­bel and the fan­tas­ti­cal Trelise Cooper. With a loyal fol­low­ing, the on­line store is grow­ing equally fast and the store’s ap­pear­ances at coun­try fetes never fail to cre­ate a shop­ping frenzy.

“I saw a real gap in the mar­ket for ex­pe­ri­en­tial re­tail, be­cause ob­vi­ously the earthquakes put a real dam­p­ener on re­tail in Christchurch and it was get­ting harder and harder to find re­ally good ser­vice and trusted ad­vice,” says Bridget.

Cre­at­ing a mag­i­cal at­mos­phere is at the core of the Mag­pie Style brand and Bridget of­ten hosts in­ti­mate, in­vite-only events for her clients, the most re­cent be­ing an Al­ice In Won­der­land-themed gar­den party and Trelise Cooper run­way show with the Dame and de­signer in at­ten­dance (see page 64 for more) .

The fam­ily in­her­ited the ex­pertly planted, 15-year-old gar­den with the house and the only change they made was adding more white roses. While a large out­door area wasn’t at first on her wish list, Bridget has been thor­oughly con­verted af­ter her move to the Gar­den City. “There’s some­thing amaz­ing about be­ing able to go out to your gar­den and pick your own flow­ers. It’s some­thing

I never as­pired to, but it’s some­thing I now re­ally en­joy.”

IT’S NOT LIKE GO­ING TO A NOR­MAL SHOP. IT’S VERY COSY AND IT’S FEM­I­NINE.

THIS PAGE The black side chest in the hall­way is from Le Monde Home in Par­nell, Auck­land. The mir­ror by Stu­art Mem­bery and art ob­jects were picked up dur­ing Bridget’s week­end trips to Bali when she lived in Sin­ga­pore. OP­PO­SITE The din­ing ta­ble is Stu­art Mem­bery, paired with chairs from Lusty’s Lloyd Loom. Bridget wears a Paula Ryan ki­mono, $695, and pants, $395, and Trelise Cooper shirt, $399, all from Mag­pie Style.

THIS PAGE AND OP­PO­SITE The for­mal lounge fea­tures a silk rug from Boyd Blue on the Gold Coast, a cof­fee ta­ble and couches from Sta­tion Road Home in Ran­giora and a French­style side ta­ble and mir­ror from Le Monde Home, with decor from Le Forge. The vel­vet chairs were a gift from Bridget’s mother, Paula, and the ta­ble lamps came from CC In­te­ri­ors. Hope kicks back on the couch in a Paula Ryan dress, $590, and Deepa Gur­nani ear­rings, $230, from Mag­pie Style.

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