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Craigslist, consignment—the beach? Former eco-fashion designer Nicole Bridger shows us how shopping second-hand and getting resourceful pays off.
For Nicole Bridger and her nine-year-old son, Rhame, this West Point Grey top-floor apartment was an immediate fit—but the same couldn’t be said for her existing furniture.
“I wanted something in this neighbourhood—I was actually born only a few blocks from here, by Trimble Park—but the credenza I had before was too small, the desk I had was too big…” and ditto for her old sofa and dining table. Starting from scratch, she chose to buy everything second-hand (save for one Edison bulb chandelier), including a mid-century modern desk for $350, a 10-person Ikea dining table for $150 and a 100-year-old chest coffee table—a steal at $40. Bridger closed down her eco-fashion operation in February (up next, she and her son are moving to Bali, where she’ll channel her brand’s “I am love” message into a book about her personal journey), but her desire to live sustainably is stronger than ever. “I think we need to start shifting from this need to ‘have, have, have,’ to ‘how about having less?’” she says. “Having stuff that’s going to last, things you would actually pass on.”
Most of the home’s colour comes from her beloved dark blue wall (painted specifically to highlight a favourite photograph from L.A. artist Zoe Crosher) and a cherished collection of wild-orange and sunset-red Persian rugs—“I think because it’s a dark floor, you can really go for it,” says Bridger. The two bedrooms are separated by the living room, and Bridger’s walk-through closet (which might be 90 percent hats) functions like a secret pathway that leads into her full ensuite. “This is actually one of my favourite parts, because it’s like my own little corner,” she says.
Apartment extras are limited to cherished treasures picked up on the family’s travels (to India, El Salvador, Hornby Island) and musical instruments. “Rhame-o’s really into playing the drums and bass now,” says Bridger, herself a confessed ukulele player. “I was hoping he and I could start a band before he realizes it’s not cool. That window is becoming very small, though.”
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Jam Session Bridger rocks out on her ukulele—“I wanted to do something creative that wasn’t making me money”—with son Rhame on bass.
Hand-Picked A 100-year-old chest is the perfect hiding spot for Bridger’s son’s toys—that way, the focus can stay on the exotic textiles, framed artwork from friends and a side-table collection of seashell keepsakes from family trips.
Expert Eye “The whole thing about sustainability should be that it’s less expensive,” says Bridger. (Case in point: this vintage mid-century modern desk she scored for $350).
Sky’s the Limit “I’ve always been a hat person,” says the former fashion designer, an obsession she’s had since age two. Now cherished sun hats and panamas line the top of her walk-through closet, with only a portion visible here.
Home Scents The vintage credenza is one of her favourite finds because it reminds Bridger of her grandfather. “It smells like Scotch and cigars,” she laughs.
Sanctuary Bridger’s meditation corner is like a sneak peek into her next career—she’s left the fashion game to start a new business centred in intuitive coaching and healing belief systems.