Cabin fever

When life in Brooklyn, New York, gets hectic for Thing Industries designer and ex-pat Kiwi Bridie Picot, she decamps to a darling love shack in the woods.

Save enough for the plane ticket and to survive on for six weeks, then hit the road to the Big Apple. Kiwi Bridie Picot’s path to NYC was pretty textbook, but her life 16 years later is anything but. Now a resident of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where she lives with her art director husband Harry Bugden, we quizzed her on her design business, Thing Industries, and the upstate cabin we’d give our right arm for.

When did the search begin for an out-of-town spot to call your own? About four years ago, I started to get itchy feet and we were either going to move again or get a weekend place somewhere that had trees. My friends and I had rented various places upstate for long weekends and when one of them came on the market, the owners emailed everyone who had stayed there. That opened my eyes to how cheap houses up there were – I’d assumed they were way out of my price range. And so the hunt began.

The Shack is three hours’ drive from the city – what was it about the region that attracted you? I fell in love with The Shack not knowing much about the area at all. It’s in a tiny town called Narrowsburg on the Delaware River, population about 500. I definitely lucked out. I’d been looking at old houses that were for sale, but although they were cute, I didn’t like the idea of spending weekends and endless money doing something up. Then a friend introduced me to a company called Catskill Farms. Their houses are new but based on old designs and liveable from day one.

WORK/LIFE The compact holiday home is filled with quirky treasures, including Thing Industries items like the Beast rug in the living area, the Banana pillow and Birdhouse bookshelves in the main bedroom , and the Sacrificial chair and Brick blanket in a guest room (above). “I tend to design around my own needs,” says Bridie. “I think I have one of everything.”

Did you start The Shack’s decor scheme from scratch? I ended up shipping all my artwork here when I moved back to New York after a stint working in London, so it’s full of all of my favourite things. We’re about to buy an apartment in Greenpoint, so once we’re more settled I think we’ll switch some things up. Until now we’ve been moving about once a year, so the bulk of our stuff has ended up at The Shack.

Can you tell us a little bit about Thing Industries? It’s a homeware brand I started in 2013 while working in advertising. I was having a hard time finding things to put in The Shack that were cute and functional, so I designed some, found manufacturers and went from there. I was planning on it being a small thing that ticked along on its own while I continued to work full time, but it turned out to be quite demanding, so I switched to freelancing two years later.

TOP Breakfast is served on the Wolfum X Thing Industries tray set. MIDDLE The couple built an external bedroom, The Shed, as extra guest accommodation. ABOVE One of the things Bridie likes best here is the wildlife. “It’s like the nature channel 24/7 right outside the window: bears, groundhogs, porcupines, woodpeckers, deer, squirrels, chipmunks and eagles – one of whom ate one of my chickens.”

Are there any new projects for Thing in the pipeline? I’m having a baby soon, so I’m sitting out the design shows this winter and after that we’ll see where things go. There could very well be a kids’ line coming…

Interview Alice Lines
Photography Larnie Nicolson

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