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.
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.