Behind the Design: Bridget Cooper
Bridget Cooper of Bridget Cooper Interiors is a woman to admire, in love with all that is interior design. Re-starting her life as a single mother of three on welfare, Bridget found her light by finding the beauty in designing her tiny home and big future.
Happy as ever, San Francisco-based Bridget is a humble woman of appreciation, passion and truth. After getting her three kids off to school each morning, Bridget starts each day getting caffeinated and opening her mind and ears to new ideas and client relations, as she believes “80% of a brief is unspoken”.
How did you get where you are today?
I left my beautiful home country of New Zealand and moved to New York with about $100 in my purse and a head full of dreams. I was 18 years old at the time and, of course, I knew everything. I took on a humbling amount of jobs to stay afloat and I still feel lucky today that one of them was a position with The Franklin Report.
My eyes were opened to the glistening world of interior design and architecture and I knew instantly that this would be the genre of the story of my life. I had fallen in love with interior design and as someone wiser than me said, “you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.” These days I am living happily in San Francisco with the other loves of my life, my husband and three wonderful children.
My eyes were opened to the glistening world of interior design and architecture and I knew instantly that this would be the genre of the story of my life.
The moment I knew I wanted to be an interior designer was when…
Here’s where my story took a rather unglamorous turn. A turn I’m proud of, though. After living in New York I moved back to New Zealand as a single mother. My daughter’s father left for London and took all of our money with him as a souvenir. This forced me to go on welfare and live in a tiny home that let’s just say won’t be gracing the pages of this magazine. One day I embarked upon a complete overhaul of the place. I was overwhelmed at how happy this made me. It was as though I had overhauled my very self. I knew then that I wanted to give this feeling, this intersection of beauty and thrilling satisfaction, to others.
The most memorable space I’ve ever been in is…
Gaudi’s ‘Casa Milà ‘La Pedrera’ in Barcelona. It is stunning. I am convinced it is alive and breathing.
I get to know a new space by….
Firstly, I find the natural light. This will always be the most important element in the room. Secondly, I try to imagine the lives of those who will live inside the space. I wonder what needs they have, which emotions they will bring into the room and which emotions they’d like to leave with.
My favorite city for design inspiration is…
Paris. I find the pulse of Paris irresistible. I love its combination of cutting-edge fashion and the grace of hundreds of years of history. I love that the city has seen so much.
Every morning I…
I wake up and tackle the task of getting three children fed, dressed, kissed and on the school bus by 7:15am. Every morning brings its own hilarious challenges and by 7:16am I am desperate for coffee. I begin my working day at either Jane Café, Blue Bottle or Equator, my three lifelines. I check emails and exhale.
I treat myself with…
Travel. I love to explore new places. I delight in the chance to jump on a plane. I just need to work on inventing more down time.
My personal style is…
I seem to have developed two extremes. I am either in jeans, a t-shirt and sneakers or I’m in a cocktail dress and heels. I think the only constant between the two worlds is my lipstick, which I cannot live without. I’d apply lipstick to answer the phone.
My tips for staying organized are…
I need my home to function well, so my kids and I have developed a system known lovingly (by some of us) as “Project X”. This usually happens on weekends and is all about stopping what we’re doing and organizing our spaces. We each consider how well things are running and then we tidy like bosses. With my husband traveling so often for work, I rely on my amazing nanny to help me with this system. My kids might be talking about “Project X” in therapy one day but for now it’s working pretty well.
I never leave home without…
My phone. And an open mind.
My role model is…
Victoria Beckham. She juggles a fashion brand, constant criticism and life in the media, but somehow her kids are still polite and hardworking. Even more, though, I admire every other mother juggling life’s challenges with far fewer resources. They are my true heroes.
My business mantra is…
Listen. I believe the ability to truly listen is the most important skill to have.
We need to listen carefully to clients and also to ourselves.
For interior designers new to the business, I recommend…
Being patient and taking time to get to know your clients. 80% of a brief is unspoken.
I define success by…
A home filled with love and laughter.
The best advice I have received is…
”There is always a way of working through a problem.” It’s painfully simple but so true. Tomorrow is another day.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned working in the interior design business is…
Again, listen. Stay true to your instincts.
80% of a brief is unspoken.
Who is your new favorite supplier? Why?
Why did you decide to start using Ivy?
It was an easy decision. We all have to wear so many hats and not all of them suit us. Billing is not one of my strengths. Ivy offers seamless and intuitive navigation, plus their template is perfect for the design world. I couldn’t imagine life without it, now.
In one word, what do you hope Ivy will bring to your work life?