Reading list: A Life in Pattern by Anna Spiro

A Life in Pattern by Anna Spiro (Thames & Hudson, $100)

There’s nothing acclaimed interior and textile designer Anna Spiro dislikes more than dull. She prefers pattern and colour, the offbeat and unexpected — but don’t read that as zany and impractical. Yes, this big book is a big mood; however, all the spectacular spaces in it are so very well done, it makes a serious case for a look a little less serious.
Spurred by our collective desire to fill our lives with more fun, hyper-decorative interiors are having a moment, and in times like these, even dyed-in-the-wool lovers of neutrals will get a kick out of Anna’s exuberant aesthetic showcased here. Its depicted in more than 250 photographs of her recent projects, and as they prove and Anna explains in her chapter ‘The Kooky & the Wild’, you can absolutely go your own way with your interior, but will achieve cohesive, not crazy, results if you do so thoughtfully and systematically. To help you along, Anna shares her tips for embracing maximalism while avoiding a haphazard effect through a clear plan and anchoring elements that unify the eclectic.
In recent years, Anna has experienced a plethora of personal and professional transformations (from new partner to new home to new office) that have seen her develop an appreciation for change and its power to reinvigorate, reinvent and bring you closer to the real you. With this book, she encourages you to feel freer to make your own changes and your home utterly individual, your favourite place in the whole wide world.

MAIN IMAGE A celebrated creative presence in Australia, Anna likes to integrate a little surprise into almost every space she creates. The secret to making it work, she says, is to maintain a sense of harmony in the overall picture. After two decades in the interior design business, she’s become an expert at the self-editing required to find this balance, but assures us it’s a skill we too could develop with practice. In this bedroom, Anna also makes the distinction between collections and clutter. She’s not a fan of the latter but loves a considered curation of precious treasures, like the artworks and mirror arranged in an orderly way on this wall and teamed with other objects of interest for a result imbued with meaning, memories and magic. ABOVE & BELOW “I’m always looking for that thing that will pull the disparate elements together and create an aesthetic whole — whether it’s a pattern that connects the room by incorporating all the different colours used, a single colour that complements the whole palette, or a plain fabric that calms a space,” says Anna.

Words Philippa Prentice
Photography Tim Salisbury


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