IF YOU STICK TO THE THINGS YOU LOVE, YOUR INTERIOR SPACE WILL NEVER DATE
Neale Whitaker talks quirky interiors with Anna Spiro.
Talking with Anna Spiro, it occurs to me the Brisbane-based interior designer and I might have been separated at birth, stylistically at least.
“My style is a collection of the things I love,” she explains. “It’s a mismatch of craziness.” Her belief in the rich patina life bestows is one I share unreservedly. The best homes are those that tell their owners’ stories, daring to layer styles, colours, textures, eras – and memories.
It’s an approach we’re seeing often now residentially, but we’d seen little of it in Australia at a commercial level, until the savvy Bickle sisters, Elisha and Siobhan, opened Halcyon House at Cabarita Beach in 2015. They chose Spiro to create the deliciously quirky interiors that have helped win the old surfing motel a slew of accolades.
“Anna is the whole package,” laughs Elisha. “Creative, smart, a perfectionist – and just the right amount of crazy.”
Spiro responds: “Halcyon House has a piece of my heart… it’s amazing. There’s nothing else like it in Australia.”
The hotel didn’t exactly put her on the map – Spiro has been in the business for two decades – but it’s propelled her to a new and international audience.
Her bowerbird approach resonates with a new generation that values authenticity and heritage. “People want stuff around them again,” says Spiro. “My contribution to living a sustainable life is encouraging people to value old things. I hate adding to landfill.”
She eschews trends and dislikes being called a stylist. “I believe in investing in good pieces – in the long run it’s cheaper – and in a style that evolves over time.”
Designing a hotel was on Spiro’s personal bucket list, as was creating her own range of fabrics. That range, available at annaspirotextiles.com.au, is called Lanikai, and is inspired by the colours of Hawaii.
“I love going there with my family [husband Brad, and sons Harry, 13, and Max, six]x] and wanted to base a collection around our experiences.” Spiro is proud of the fact her fabrics are woven and screen-printed in Australia.
And she’s very happy in Brisbane, thank you very much. “I’m so loyal to my roots. For me, Brisbane is about family and there’s a lot of great stuff happening here. I really want to do it proud.” Tick. That’s another one crossed off the Spiro bucket list.