Australian House & Garden
Wild at heart
In her glorious new fabric-covered book A Life in Pattern, interiors and textile designer Anna Spiro shares thoughts on her design philosophy and showcases her trademark style.
Anna Spiro is a maestro of surprise. She loves adding unexpected twists to her designs. Offbeat and playful ideas are her comfort zone; matchy-matchy and predictable are not in her vocabulary. “I actually find it challenging to create a plain, straightforward matching scheme,” says the interior designer, in her new book, A Life in Pattern.
Anna’s interiors are the antithesis of dull, and this book testifies to that. Colour and pattern are her trademarks and both are celebrated on every page, along with her love of vintage, upcycling and the artisanal. The key to her eclectic style, she says, is in drawing together contradictory elements and using colour as the uplifting feature to “unify the madness”. “I like the challenge of bringing together disparate pieces and finding an underlying link that ties them together but never makes them look expected or contrived,” she says. “I love rooms that make me feel excited and happy, and that really draw me into every single element.”
This is Anna’s second book – released eight years after her first title, Absolutely Beautiful Things, was published. It encapsulates her newfound confidence and energy after two decades of working in interiors. “I think of my first book as my teenage years of decorating – and I really wanted to share with my followers where I am at now and showcase some of the wonderful projects we’ve been working on.”
Anna became an industry leader while co-running and then steeringBrisbaneinteriordesign and retail store Black & Spiro from 2000-2018. In 2015, she won international acclaim after designing the rooms of boutique hotel Halcyon House and in 2016 she launched Anna Spiro Textiles with her brother Sam. Her eponymous company Anna Spiro Design now has offices in Brisbane and Melbourne and she splits her time between both cities.
This book is an ode to all she holds dear. She urges people to use colour (“the bolder the better”) and to collect one-off pieces: “If you love something, buy it. Don’t be afraid because often it’s the wild things we buy that we cherish and love the most.”
She’d love to design another boutique hotel with “no boundaries”. But for now Anna’s sights are focused on opening a new retail outlet in 2022. Spiro Store will be located next door to her design studio in Brisbane’s New Farm, and also online.“It will be a curated collection of all things Anna Spiro and other artists and designers from around the world. It’s so exciting!”
“Colour and pattern spark an instant sense of joy. Used well, they help create rooms that are full of energy.” Anna Spiro
“Collecting antiques and incorporating them into your home adds sophistication and can help balance the use of bright colours and zany patterns on fabrics, wallpapers and art.” Anna Spiro
“The use of colour and pattern is all about play. I love to experiment with colour, to push the boundaries and put interesting combinations together” Anna Spiro
“You have to make sure the elements work collectively in a cohesive yet interesting way. Consider layering traditional florals with more modern geometric patterns, stripes or checks, and using a mix of large, medium and small pattern scales.” Anna Spiro