Anna Spiro is an interior designer who brings an individualistic streak to everything she does. With a love of the craft and the inherent qualities in antique pieces, alongside the punch of a contemporary artwork, her effusive style is characterised by contradiction. So too, she tells us, is how she dresses.
Both my grandparents and my mother exposed me to wonderful experiences that made me understand and appreciate beauty in all aspects of life. From looking at a tree flowering in a certain light to painting, cooking, trawling through antique stores, fashion, flower arranging. You name it, we did it.
I always dreamed of doing something in fashion or being involved in a creative industry. I was very lucky to be given a foot in the door as a junior assistant at John Black Interiors just as I finished school. I worked for John until my early 20’s which led me to go into partnership with him to form Black & Spiro. After working together for a number of years, I took over the business when he retired, renaming it Anna Spiro Design.
I believe memories and collecting go hand-in-hand. A certain object may trigger a fond memory of the time, place and person you bought an item from - whether from a far flung, exotic place or a local antique store. These connections make us feel comforted and surrounding yourself with these sorts of pieces make for a very happy home. The same goes for a piece of furniture handed down to you from a favourite aunt or grandmother that you might upcycle to fit in with your life and home today. These items connect you to your past and family and that is what I love - to be surrounded by - things that have meaning and make home feel so much more so.
Haha…that’s a good question. I am interested in spaces that are full, interesting and pulled together in a way that makes you stop in your tracks. I do like quiet elements within a space and feel that it’s very important to consider areas you can pull back on, but I suppose it’s just my own innate sense that tells me when enough is enough.
I love collecting art and often it can be a connector in the spaces I create. Colours within a painting can be quietly repeated throughout a room to join the dots. I am always advising my clients how important it is to buy and collect antique furniture as these pieces are so beautifully made by hand and are of the highest quality as they used superior timbers. The quality of these pieces cannot be overlooked and when compared to a lot of the cheaply made, mass-produced furniture we see today, I don’t understand how people can choose the latter. Antiques also provide sophistication and grounding to some of the crazy, colourful patterns I combine.
Contradiction, quality, colour.
Don’t take it all too seriously. Have fun but also remember that there needs to be something that ties all the contradictory elements together to be able to achieve an interesting but harmonious result.
Absolutely. I love good quality, well-made items. I don’t like things that are mass produced and am very particular about the feel of the fabrics I wear and use in the rooms I create.
Kooky, traditional, quality, unique, colourful, comfortable.
I really love the shapes and cuts Lee Mathews creates alongside the consistency in her designs and ethos. From puffy sleeves to long skirts, wide-leg pants and classic white shirts. I also love the special details she adds with the stitching and fabrics she uses. I am fastidious about how a fabric feels and the quality of the fabrics I wear and Lee Mathews nails that side of things every single time. I think her clothes are also very comfortable. I love to feel comfortable in the clothes I wear and most often when I choose my clothes for the day, I pull out an old Lee Mathews staple because I always feel so at ease wearing her clothes.
I wear a lot of black as I feel so comfortable in it, it’s a great staple. But some days it’s nice to change that up and wear something light and airy or a bit more colourful. I suppose it comes back to contradiction. Sometimes I like one thing and other times I like something else – always trying to mix things up, keep things different and fresh while at the same time feeling comfortable.