Wabi Sabi is a way of life that centres on the acceptance of imperfection. It is a concept found in Japanese culture and one that was introduced in the 15th century by Buddhist monks whose cracked vessels were repaired with gold, accordingly embracing and celebrating the flaw. Wabi Sabi is about finding respect for natural objects and processes, broken and flawless, the natural flow of time or authenticity of ageing.
Wabi Sabi is also the name of a very beautiful, unique homewares store in Noosa that embodies all of this and much more.
“When we apply this concept to design, we are creating interiors that are designed with mindfulness using old and new objects, crisp and clean interiors with exotic and one-off pieces sourced from all over the globe,” says Bridget Tyer, owner of Wabi Sabi Homewares. “My shop isn’t set up as a traditional retail store where the idea is to get as much product in as possible,” Bridget says. “Rather, it is set up with soul, a feeling and to create an atmosphere.
“The biggest compliment for me, is when people walk through my front door and feel a sense of calm; they feel like they are welcome and they have found their people,” she says. “It is more about showing people how to set up their spaces, how to create a feeling out of their interior design.”
The ambience of Wabi Sabi Homewares has attracted the interest of many artists and creatives, turning it into a platform of sorts to showcase their amazing work. “It is certainly more of a gallery,” Bridget says. “And people don’t often realise just how big the space is either, because I have sectioned it off to showcase specific design concepts.”
The business opened in Noosa in March 2019, six months after Bridget relocated to the Sunshine Coast.
“My career started in Sydney, where I worked for a company for a few years and then set out on my own,” she says. “My work in Sydney was more driven towards architectural interior design, working with architectural and construction teams. Then, after a while, I decided I wanted a little shop.
“I came across stunning pieces that I would think would be perfect for a job ‘one day’, and so when a small shop became available in Sydney, I took it and started the process. It was my way of collecting beautiful pieces and it gave me a bit of a balance with the interior design too.”
Bridget ran two shops in Sydney before moving to Dubai with her husband and family in 2008.
“I set up there and called my space Wabi Sabi Abu Dhabi – it was a fantastic play on words,” she says. “Obviously it was a very different market over there; easier to import goods and we were travelling all over the world at that time so I would buy this and that and justify my purchases. It was quite magic.”
Although so too is the beautiful life she has created here on the Coast. “We moved here in 2018 and I am living the dream.”
Literally. Having dreamt of being a designer since the age of four, scouring magazines for styling ideas, Bridget says it was destined for her to be right where she is.
“I am a creative, and I have always loved design, but I also need a sense of order and administration, which is why interior design was so perfectly suited to my personality,” she says.
“With the Noosa shop, I can be so creative in my selections. My background has given me this ability to know instinctively what would work on a job, things stylists would use, and I have a freedom to buy with that in mind.
“I suppose the shop here is a semi-retirement project,” she laughs. “I love the slower pace, the Noosa vibe, the idea that I can walk to work every day and bring my dog if I choose. I will have a few two-hour conversations about pieces – all in a day’s work. And it’s much more community orientated here than in Sydney or Dubai.
“Most of my clients are stylists, designers or architects, and then a lot of home owners coming up from Melbourne or Sydney or even New Zealand and setting up their holiday homes,” she says. “Very relaxed.”
And as for the best part of her “job”?
“It is the way my heart skips a beat when I come across a new statement piece,” Bridget says. “I just love looking for new pieces to bring into the shop. It makes me so happy.”