Anne Spiro’s ‘A Life in Pattern’ offers practical decorating advice, personal touches

Anne Spiro’s ‘A Life in Pattern’ offers practical decorating advice, personal touches

Anne Spiro, right, and her newest book

Anne Spiro has been an interior designer for more than 2o years, though she originally thought she’d land in fashion. A familiar idea for many in our industry, she has always found crossover between designing a room and dressing.  “Just as I like to create rooms that are always different, I  love wearing clothes that nobody else wears, clothes that make people curious…I believe the art of dressing well, as with dressing a room well, is in the combinations.”

The Anna Spiro experience begins with the cloth cover of the designer’s second book, Anna Spiro: A Life in Pattern. Here is where the Australian-based interior designer and textile entrepreneur first reveals her penchant for beauty and texture, as well as “Flower Field” a fabric of her own design.

Spiro’s affection for color is then quickly reinforced by the high energy abstract print featured as endpaper. The unconventional book design by Penny Sheehan, with its artful page layouts, quote pages, juicy full bleed patterns, and interspersed and varied paper stock enhances the viewing experience and drills home one of Spiro’s decorating must haves – “offbeat elements.”

After her transformation of the boutique hotel, Halcyon House in New South Wales in 2015, her visibility increased, which led to collaborations with Anthropologie, de Gournay (check out the Island Garden mural wallpaper) and others. “Halcyon put  my work, my style and my distinctive approach to designing interiors…on the world stage…and I am forever grateful for the opportunity,” she writes in the intro.

On one level this book is a guide to decorating as Spiro elucidates her process for putting a layered and harmonious home together, room by room, hoping to enlighten about creating the magic that happens when “a particular well-thought-out but never predictable, combination of materials comes together.”

Part of the book also explains the process of working with a design professional. Spiro touches on project management, the client-designer relationship and the importance of building trust. “Trust breeds confidence, which injects essential energy into the design and decoration process.”

And then there’s the more personal side with Spiro sharing life changes and lessons learned. “Spreading yourself too thin across too many projects is never a good idea – I learnt that lesson the hard way,” she writes. “It is something I keep in the front of my mind every single day, so that I don’t drop the ball and start saying yes to too many things. Nowadays, I want to put my everything into every project I take on, instead of taking on so many projects that each one only gets a tiny bit of me.”

From the beautiful photography by Tim Salisbury, to the delicious layouts, and Spiro’s approachable point of view, there’s lots to embrace about this cheerful and authentic 13 ½” x 10” 256-page book. “It felt like the right time to write this book, as a way to share my perspective at this rather bright and balanced point in my life.”

This article first appeared in the March 2022 issue of Designers Today.

Jane Dagmi is Editor in Chief of Designers Today.