Meet Aussie Shop Owner/Designer Anna Spiro

July 20, 2009

For many of you who spend lots of time reading blogs, Anna Spiro is someone you no doubt know and follow via her blog Absolutely Beautiful Things. For those new to blogging, this may be your first time hearing about Anna and if so, then you are in for a most lovely treat today. Anna Spiro is a talented, energetic thirtysomething blogger, interior designer, and shop owner living in Brisbane, Australia who is also a wife, mother, and pet owner – which is hardly apparent in the photos I’m about to share with you of her home. How she keeps it all buttoned up and together is a mystery to me, but she is such an inspiration and certainly a woman many of us aspire to be — I love that she is living her dream life, I can never hear too many stories of strong, confident woman pursuing their dreams.

Meet Aussie Shop Owner/Designer Anna Spiro

Today I thought I’d invite you in on a chat I recently had with Anna where I learned more about her inspirations and ideas when it comes to decorating and blogging. Would you care to join us? And if I’ve forgotten to ask a question that you have in mind, please ask Anna below in the comments section so that you can take part in our chat as well.

Meet Aussie Shop Owner/Designer Anna Spiro

Anna your home is drop dead gorgeous, I recall the first time seeing it in Real Living magazine and having to remove my jaw from the floor. How large is your home and who lives there? Anna: It’s 2,370 square feet — 4 Bedrooms, 1 lounge room, 1 dining room and 2 bathrooms. Me, my husband, our 6 year old son Harry and our golden retriever puppy, Ned live here.

Do you have a favorite room? Anna: Yes, I love our lounge room as it is filled with lots of my favourite collections of things and all of my books and magazines.

What inspired the design of your home, it’s so bright and bold! Anna: Being that the house {when we bought it} was an old, dark, pokey and extremely small cottage I wanted to open it up and turn it into a bright and welcoming family home so I painted everything white and then added lots of bright colours with the use of fabrics and my artwork and collections.

As a successful business owner and blogger, how do you keep your home so neat? Any tricks to share? Anna: Oh, I find it so hard to keep the house tidy. I am so disorganized and I must admit I do have a little help from my cleaning lady and my mother-in-law as I am absolutely hopeless when it comes to house chores.

Tell us about your shop Black & Spiro — when did it open and what made you decide to become a shop girl? Anna: We opened Black & Spiro in 2001. I suppose, having a shop has always been my lifelong dream. As a young girl I used to sell flowers from my mother’s garden on the street in front of our family home so I suppose I always had it in me!

Meet Aussie Shop Owner/Designer Anna Spiro

Meet Aussie Shop Owner/Designer Anna Spiro

Meet Aussie Shop Owner/Designer Anna Spiro

Who in your family inspired you to be who you are today? Anna: Oh, definitely my mother. She is so creative and a very clever business woman too. I definitely was always and still continue to be very inspired by her.

Can you share some styling tips, everything always looks so nice! Anna: I have to tell you that I am a perfectionist. I very much know how I want something to look and I will not stop until it looks how I have it in my head. Even though my style is not to have everything looking too perfect and matched it does take a lot of effort and thought to get a room or space to look perfectly imperfect.

When you have a client consultation, what problems do most seem to have that inspired them call you in for help? Anna: I find that people tend to follow trends too much and therefore the trend they followed 5 years ago is now looking dated in their home. Instead of embracing their own unique style that inherently becomes timeless they embrace the style that is seen to be ‘in’ at the moment which I believe is a very big mistake.

How do you deal with this? Anna: I try to encourage people to break the boundaries and to consider pairing objects/pieces which don’t necessarily match or aren’t necessarily from the same range. I want people to use an antique dining table and then put it with those modern dining chairs they have always coveted. I try to help people create their own unique look and that always entails a mix up of furniture styles/fabrics/objects etc. You can still buy a trendy piece but don’t fill your house with it just buy one and mix it with the trendy pieces you purchased 2 years ago, 4 years ago, 6 years ago. This is how you create enduring style. Another thing I always say to clients is that a room must have at least one antique piece.

Meet Aussie Shop Owner/Designer Anna Spiro

Meet Aussie Shop Owner/Designer Anna Spiro

Meet Aussie Shop Owner/Designer Anna Spiro

Tell us about your blog, Absolutely Beautiful Things, and what it has done to support your business… Anna: My blog has certainly helped propel my career although back in 2006 when I started blogging I had no idea as to what it was going to become. I find that blogging has also helped with my confidence as a designer and I love following other blogs and seeing what other people/designers are up to. It’s just all so inspiring!!

If you could live in another country part-time, where would it be and why? Anna: To be completely honest with you I am a homebody. I could never live anywhere away from my family and friends. However, in saying that I would love to go and spend a Summer in Italy. I love Italy.

Who are some of your favorite Australian designers, stylists, authors and shop owners? Anna: I love Australian Author Vicki Archer. Although she lives in France now she will always be an Australian at heart and I hear she is working on her second book – how exciting! I love Shannon Fricke’s work and her books. I’ve just stumbled across a new stylist – Nanette from Rummage blog, I’m really enjoying her work. Certainly Sibella Court and her wonderful concept store The Society Inc. Also Lyn Gardiner’s store – Empire Vintage is really beautiful.

If you could do ANYTHING (career wise) what would it be and why? Anna: I am certainly leading my dream career however, if I wasn’t doing what I do I would love to have a pretty flower shop in a small country town. I would wear gumboots and I would lead a less hectic life. I would have an old farmhouse with a pretty garden and I wouldn’t be as serious.

Meet Aussie Shop Owner/Designer Anna Spiro

Meet Aussie Shop Owner/Designer Anna Spiro

Meet Aussie Shop Owner/Designer Anna Spiro

And finally my dear, do you have a favorite movie? Anna: I don’t have a particular favourite movie however, I love movies about life and families etc. A movie that makes me cry is sometimes really good for me too…it gets all my built up stress out which can be a good thing as well!

Thank you so much Anna, it was an honor and pleasure to share our chat today on decor8. And again readers, if you have any questions to ask Anna please do so in the comments section below.

(images: Elouise Van-Riet Grey)


  • Reply The Shutter July 20, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    This images are just beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing her site.
    .-= The Shutter´s last blog ..Happy Monday =-.

  • Reply Frugal Bon Vivant July 20, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I love all of the white minimalist backgrounds/walls with bright punches of color! Brilliant pics!
    .-= Frugal Bon Vivant´s last blog ..$5 – This Old House Magazine 1-Year Subscription +14 more =-.

  • Reply Marianna July 20, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    I always read Anna’ s blog. Her house and her work are an inspiration. Great interview.
    .-= Marianna´s last blog ..Azul =-.

  • Reply tiina July 20, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Anna is absolutely talented and her house is just a dream. YOU GO girl for living your dream!!!

  • Reply simply hue July 20, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Great interviewing and gorgeous images! I’m inspired, too, by women who pursue their dreams. Thanks for sharing with us. :)
    .-= simply hue´s last blog ..Monday Morning Inspiration =-.

  • Reply Shanon July 20, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Such an enjoyable peak into a lovely world. =)
    .-= Shanon´s last blog ..Turning a Corner– hopefully! =-.

  • Reply the BLAH BLAH BLAHger July 20, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I LOVE her home with all the white and punches of color…how on earth does it stay so pristine with a 6 year old and a dog?!?! : )
    .-= the BLAH BLAH BLAHger´s last blog ..i Heart Faces Challenge =-.

  • Reply Sophie @ Century Finds July 20, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Swoon! I love Anna’s decorating philosophy, and her home is to die for…
    .-= Sophie @ Century Finds´s last blog ..Vintage Books at Century Finds =-.

  • Reply Emily Kate July 20, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Gorgeous home! I would be my dentist’s favorite patient if I had your bathroom – I’d spend extra time brushing and flossing every day just so I could hang out in there as long as possible!
    .-= Emily Kate´s last blog ..Try and contain your egg-citement =-.

  • Reply Maria July 20, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    What’s your favourite piece of furniture in your house and why?

    I’m loving the airiness that shows in the pics :)

  • Reply ME July 20, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    I love her blog!

    Does anyone know where I can purchase the “For Like Ever” print? I have seen it in several places and I can’t dig it up. thanks!@

  • Reply decor8 July 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    ME – Missy you can find the print here:

  • Reply maryam in marrakech July 20, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    Anna’s blog is beautiful and her home is equally beautiful. She’s achieved so much for someone so young!
    .-= maryam in marrakech´s last blog ..Marrakech: and a tale of fireflies and love letters =-.

  • Reply steven July 20, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    hey holly, again you highlight one blog that i have loved for a while now, a place always filled with amazing images and inspiring places,.. i love the way she displays the products in her shop, just as much as her incredible house.

    oh and holly, you must be papping your pants with excitement about your impending adventure… im excited for you….x
    .-= steven´s last blog ..a very lucky find =-.

  • Reply Melissa July 20, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Anna – i absolutly love your place!
    im 27 and live in Sydney and just bought a place of my own and im slowly styling it in a very similar style to your place, so these photos are a great inspiration to me!
    i have also just enrolled in an interior styling course as a change of career so again, you’re an insiration to me!!!

  • Reply Anna Spiro July 20, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Dear Holly,

    Thank you so much for this post. Your blog is a true inspiration to so many and you are always so generous with your support of young up-and-coming designers, crafters, artists, shop owners etc. I am so thrilled too that you have featured Nanette from Rummage blog here today as well. I think her work really represents true Australian style!!

    Thanks again Holly for your continued friendship & support.

    .-= Anna Spiro´s last blog ..Stepping Outside =-.

  • Reply Pamela July 20, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    Lovely and interesting interview!

  • Reply Jennifer July 20, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    I’ve always loved her blog, she is truly an inspiration! Thank you for posting these beautiful photos!
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..What’s at the top of your book wish list? =-.

  • Reply zan July 20, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    hi I was just wondering about that painting of the nude asian lady? (above the white table)
    could you tell me who its by?
    thanks so much, what a beautiful home!
    .-= zan´s last blog ..Yves =-.

  • Reply Diana July 21, 2009 at 4:37 am

    I love Anna’s blog too and her gorgeous shop! I particularly love the “Bromley” above the white side table and the gorgeous flowers which are everywhere; they’re beautiful to look at (especially the massed arrangement on the dining table) and I bet the house smells lovely!!

    PS – I think decor8 is fabulous!

  • Reply Megan July 21, 2009 at 5:25 am

    Yay for two great fellow Aussie bloggers, Anna and Nanette. I’m loving all this inspiration. I only wish i lived in Brisbane so i could go visit Annas’ shop. I will just have to add it to my list of places to go.
    Thanks Holly for conecting people.
    .-= Megan´s last blog ..How I store my dirty laundry =-.

  • Reply Jenn July 21, 2009 at 6:51 am

    Beautiful. Inspiring me to get stuck into some more decorating.
    .-= Jenn´s last blog ..FREE lollie bags label favours =-.

  • Reply Margarita July 21, 2009 at 8:46 am

    What a pretty and big house!! I am trully inspired by this post and your interview, (I like the way you write), it is always very encouraging to see how others have achieved their dream job and life style!! I am getting there myself!
    Thanks to both of u for shearing this with all of us.
    .-= Margarita´s last blog ..Philippa Leith’s birds fantasy =-.

  • Reply gabriellevalentine July 21, 2009 at 10:08 am

    I love her decor. Beautiful!
    .-= gabriellevalentine´s last blog ..And then I found a little site called Etsy. And…I like Owls? …Dammit? =-.

  • Reply Trina July 21, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Oh I’ve always adored Anna’s style. Love learning a little bit more about her and love seeing more pics of her gorgeous beautiful home.
    .-= Trina ´s last blog ..Life =-.

  • Reply samiya July 21, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    i follow anna’s blog with great ferver.. her blog is a great inspiration.. and can lift dead spirits and dull moods.. n definitely a great way to get the creative juices flowing.. i need to knw anna wat is ur advice to the upcoming bloggers and designers.. ??
    .-= samiya´s last blog ..curtain call =-.

  • Reply annechovie July 21, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    This interview was a total treat! Anna is one of my favorite people in blogland and has been such a great support, as well as source of inspiration with ABT. I LOVE her style and the fact that she is uber-talented without being impressed with herself.

  • Reply Jill July 21, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Spelling would be a good start, it’s terribly annoying to read sms-like abbreviations, I know it’s faster but it doesn’t look very respectable. Unless it’s on MySpace then it’s expected. Anna’s space rocks however.

  • Reply Caroline Davis November 8, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Another brilliant post on amazing designer, we really enjoyed reading this one and drooling over the images, thank Holly.

    We have been following the Absolutely Beautiful blog for a while now and love it. Anna Spiro’s home and her work on interior projects are so very lovely. We adore all the bright and beautiful colours and the mix of patterns she uses. She has a great eye for detail!


    Dandi ladies

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