Tuesday 30 September 2008

Vanessa's Italy

I'm loving the beautiful Polaroids Vanessa has been posting from her recent trip to Italy! Click HERE to see more.

Another Gorgeous Outdoor Shower

In addition to the outdoor showers I posted yesterday here's one which my Mum sent me tonight which she recently saved. Thanks for the inspiration Mum!!

Image via Garden Rooms

Monday 29 September 2008

Outdoor Showers

After a long morning at the beach there's nothing quite like getting back to the house and having a cold shower to wash off all the salt and sand. I have these gorgeous outdoor showers saved in my files as inspiration for when we build our little outdoor shower over at Straddie one day...I'll just continue to dream and to collect more inspiration images for now as this little project certainly isn't on the priority list at the moment!! As my mum always says, good things come to those who wait...so wait I will.

Image 2 - via Elements of Style

Today I Love...

Hello again. How was your weekend? Today I'm in Love with this gorgeous vintage inspired photo by Amy Dickerson.

Friday 26 September 2008

It's The Weekend...Phew!

Have a fun weekend!

Image - Christine Rudolph

Thursday 25 September 2008

Martha's Absolutely Favourite Things

"Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."- William Morris

Today I'd like to introduce you to Martha B. the writer of one of my favourite blogs, Nibsblog. Before having her son, Martha studied Anthropology, Art & Interior Design. She also worked for two major department stores doing window displays and fashion shows. Martha inspires me on a daily basis with her Vocabulary posts, her Then & Now posts and her Lil'Pix posts. I like her intelligent and witty approach to design and I definitely think she's a traditionalist at heart which I love. Overall, I love reading Martha's viewpoint and the pictures she posts are beautiful!! Let's see and hear all about Martha's favourite things...

"On our fireplace mantle are some of my favorite things:

Brass candle holders were a wedding gift. Look closely- the candles are in the shape of tree branches!

I love books and you'll find them all over our house. A small stack of them with a beach stone (found by my son) on top.

Polaroid of my father-in-law and his sail boat held in a vintage metal florist "frog."

Behind it is a starfish (a gift from my mom) and some old letters from my grandmother.

Antique pottery holds flowers from my garden.

For my 30th birthday my parents gave me the mantle clock- something I had always wanted.
Woven mirror was a sale item at Pottery Barn ten years ago.

Deer antlers (above the mirror) were from an antiques mall in upstate New York. At Christmas time I love hanging ornaments
from them!"

Oh, Martha your favourite things are lovely. They are all obviously very special pieces which hold lots of special memories. I'm sure you will treasure them forever. Thank you so much for sharing them with us!!

Absolutely Favourite Things will appear here every Thursday so stay tuned!!

(Photo by Martha B. August 2008)

Wednesday 24 September 2008

Flowers & Cake

What a glorious combination - flowers and cake! We had fresh flowers on our wedding cake and I often place fresh flowers on top of cakes I make but this one above takes the cake literally!!

Image - Vogue Living via Creature Comforts

New Fabric Obsession

I love this new fabric we have just received sampling for at Black & Spiro. It is an embroidered linen. I'm tying to find a little something to use it on...I'm thinking a little stool would be pretty. It actually reminds me of a very old piece of embroidery...gosh it's so beautiful and even more so in real life!! Email me for enquiries.

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Pretty Pink

Oh, that lamp, that mirror frame, that wall colour - love it all!! But then again it is Ruthie Sommers...my favourite designer of all time!!

I have the perfect spot for this gorgeous Made By Girl Poster!! Loving the red and pink combo!! Wouldn't it look gorgeous in that beautiful white mirror frame in the top picture {mirror removed of course}!!

Tuile frills get me everytime!!

Here are a few pretty pink pictures I'm mad about!

Top - Ruthie Sommers via Stylecourt, Middle - Deeply Madly In Love Poster from Made By Girl, Bottom - Rachel Popo Photography via Oh Happy Day Blog.

Monday 22 September 2008

More Straddie Pics...

This is the main bedroom - I used an old cane bed head I found which I painted blue and the shades on the lamps are made in a new floral fabric I love. I threw lots of patterned cushions on the bed which I dressed with a plain white quilt. The bedside tables are white painted timber with basket drawers - perfect of the beach.

Here is one of the flower arrangements I did in an old blue and white jug. I placed it into a vignette on the big old white sideboard I have in the dining area. Note the India Hicks candle - one of my favourite scented candles.

This is the little shelf Harry and I had fun filling with bits and pieces found from around the Island and some pretty jars from the back of a cupboard.

Harry and I went over to Straddie late last week to get the house ready for some tenants arriving. I also had my handyman come over to do some bits and pieces around the place which was SO great. He hung the little old printer's shelf I found at one of my favourite junk shops on the wall above the blue inlay chest on the back deck. Harry and I scouted around the Island looking for things to fill it with. We found shells, stones, bits of wood, dried fern leaves, dried seed pods and a few little jars I had hidden away in the cupboard.

When visitors/tenants are coming to stay at the house I love to fill it with fresh flowers & foliage which I pick from the middle of the island....usually I pick lots of pretty Banksia and other Australian natives which I place into big vases. I do it in the hope that it makes the people staying feel special. I also love to leave little luxuries around for the visitors to use. For example I leave lots of beautiful candles, a pretty set of place mats and napkins so that they can entertain their family & friends on the back deck, pretty soap in the bathroom etc. etc. I like to make it the way I would like it if I was renting the house. Anyway, I received a lovely text from the visitors staying in the house at the moment saying how lovely it all was and they particularly loved the fresh flowers. So all the hard work does pay off in the end!! Please email me anna@blackandspiro.com.au for enquiries about renting the house for a holiday.

I have posted some more images above as I have been asked by readers to share some more pics.

Sunday 21 September 2008

Rita's Gorgeous Apartment

This image is an older one of a vignette in Rita's apartment which I continue to love

I really love these new pictures of Rita Konig's chic apartment which is featured in this month's Domino. I particularly love the all-white walls with the pops of colour in the furnishings! It's just so pretty, lived-in and GORGEOUS!! I could move straight into this apartment without changing a thing!!

Saturday 20 September 2008

Listen To This!!

Do yourself a favour. Click HERE now and enjoy Pia playing the Piano!! Amazingly, Goose Bumpingly beautiful!

Thanks Martha!!

I was so thrilled to come back from Straddie to find that I had been included in Martha's Best of Blogs: Editor's Picks by Rebecca Robertson, Deputy Decorating Editor at Martha Stewart! How exciting! Thank you so much Rebecca for including ABT!! Also a big congrats to fellow bloggers This is Glamorous, Coco+Kelley and Design*Sponge for also making the list.....these three blogs are among my favourites too!!

Thursday 18 September 2008

Happy Weekend!!

I'm heading off a little early this week as I have to pop over to Straddie again tonight to get the house ready for some more tenants arriving on Saturday! I hope you all have a great weekend and I'll be back next week!!
Image by Monika Elena

Grace's Absolutely Favourite Things

Gracey Bonney from Design*Sponge is one of the original design bloggers and is believed to be one the very best by many readers worldwide. Based in Brooklyn Grace originally started Design*Sponge as a place where she could talk about her love of chairs with anyone who was interested. Today her site is HUGE with a worldwide readership and hits of more than 30,000 a day! How does she do it? I know that when I have had any email conversations with Grace she's very quick and always seems to be very organised and always so, so pleasant!! I was thrilled when she said she would send me some of her favourite things. Let's see what Grace has to say about her favourite things...

"This is our new "landing strip" in the living room. Our living room space is impossibly small and cut-up into odd alcoves with walls jutting out here and there. So without cutting into the room, we wanted to create a space where we could leave notes for each other (without paper clutter) and keep mail, keys and magazines that typically pile up pretty quickly in our house.

The chalkboard frame is a vintage piece from Blue Bell Bazaar at Etsy- I love the way Gosia (who runs the shop) thought to reuse found frames and give them new life with a little bit of chalkboard paint. The little hutch by the door is a fleamarket piece that our friend Carl from Repop NY found for us- it's got a drawer where I stash my laptop and houses a rotating collection of my favorite books of the moment. I bought some el-cheapo wire baskets at the hardware store and used some Benjamin Moore test pots to paint them a bright blue (which contrasts nicely with the grey and orange wallpaper we have on another wall in the room). I made the little pencil cup one afternoon with some of my favorite gift wrap from a local paper shop.

It's been rainy in Brooklyn lately so I've been getting a lot of use out of my favorite umbrella from Pare- it's so girly and I always get compliments on it when I walk to the coffee shop in the rain.The prints on the wall are favorites from Hammerpress, Camilla Engman, Sugarloop, Alice Stevenson and Little Doodles at Etsy. Most of all I love the Paul McCobb chair beneath it from Scout in Chicago. The plaid upholstery makes me wish for Fall to hurry up and come soon."

I'm in love with that chalk board and of course I love the art cluster wall!! Thanks so much Grace for taking the time to put this together for us!!

Absolutely Favourite Thing will appear here every Thursday so stay tuned!!

Wednesday 17 September 2008

Trying To Convince...

I emailed this picture of this gorgeous fabric through to one of my lovely clients today as I thought it would be the perfect choice for her 2 old French chairs but she wasn't convinced. She is wanting a fabric which is bright and patterned with a bit of pink and some black and possibly some other colours as well. She already has some black and white stripe dining chairs and I was planning on putting it back with new white slip covered sofas with lots of colourful, mismatched, patterned scatter cushions and a few vintage furniture pieces thrown in....I'm going to keep trying as I think this fabric would be beautiful on her chairs. I'll let you know how I go!! And anyway she might just change her mind once she sees the fabric in the flesh....fingers crossed!!

Miniature Ottoman Boxes

Look at these cute miniature buttoned ottoman boxes by Kimberly Applegate {yes the same Kimberley Applegate who paints those gorgeous chair paintings}. They are available for purchase on her website Live a Plush Life. Wouldn't they look gorgeous on a desk or even in a coffee table vignette filled with little treasures! Love the styling of these photos too!!

Current Project

Here are a few more little peeks of a job we are all working on at Black & Spiro at the moment. This gorgeous old {white} Queenslander is located in an inner city suburb of Brisbane on a humongous block of land....lucky owners!! There will be more pictures to come as the job progresses so do stay tuned. Next time I'll include some exterior shots of the house too!!

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Pretty Tins

I am inspired by these pretty floral tins via Icklemissus @ Flickr...

Dreamy Dollhouse Furniture

If I was a doll I'd definitely be coveting this furniture for my dollhouse!!! {Source unknown}

House Hunting

If I was house hunting in Brisbane right now this house would definitely be on my must see list...

Monday 15 September 2008


Let's start the week with some very pretty photos by photographer Monika Elena. I would love to create a room using that top image as inspiration!!

Sunday 14 September 2008

Bone Inlay Furniture

I have been receiving many enquiries from readers in the US about where to purchase the bone inlay furniture which I show here and stock at Black & Spiro. As we are a little too far away Courtney was able to offer a suggestion in LA...Dan Marty Design. I hope this helps you all out!!

Simple Pleasures

How was your weekend? We had a very quiet weekend at home which was so lovely. Yesterday Harry and I were in the garden and we spotted some Rainbow Lorikeet's {very colourful Australian birds} in our beautiful old tree sucking the pollen & nectar out of the newly sprouted pretty orange flowers. Another sign that Spring is here!! It was so nice to spend the weekend enjoying simple pleasures just like this. What did you get up to?

Friday 12 September 2008

Whisk Me Away...

Yesterday I had to make a quick, over and back trip to Straddie to get the house ready for some tenants arriving. I very nearly didn't come home. The weather was perfect. The waves on the beach were glassy and rolly and I just wanted to escape and hide over there for a few days. But, I came to my senses and came back to work. On the way home I sat in the car on the barge reading some magazines and as I looked out the window this pretty little sailing boat was sailing past. I must say I am thoroughly enjoying the beautiful Spring weather here and I just can't wait to head over to Straddie again for a few days over the school holidays with my special little one. Anyway, enough of my rambling. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. See you next week!!

Thursday 11 September 2008

Black & Spiro Today

Here is a little old chair we just had recovered for a client which we received back from our upholsterer today. I couldn't help taking a photo and sharing it with you. This fabric is the same one {in a different colourway} we used to cover the Lulu 2 seater we currently have in the shop. It is certainly a favourite fabric amongst us all at Black & Spiro at the moment! I'm actually considering having a bed head made in it for home....it's those birds which keep luring me in!! Email us for fabric pricing and availability info@blackandspiro.com.au

Pia's Absolutely Favourite Things

Beautiful, talented and super kind Pia Jane Bijkerk is an inspiring Australian stylist, photographer, writer and blogger {wow she's one busy girl} currently based in Amsterdam with her 'French boy' {French for lover}. Pia and French boy live on a houseboat in one of the beautiful canals in Amsterdam - how exotic!! I was recently lucky enough to meet this talented multi-tasking woman and her French Boy in a city we both love, Paris. I'm sure our blogging friendship will endure for a very long time and I hope she finally fulfills her dream of one day returning home to Australia to live!! Let's see what Pia is absolutely crazy about!!

"I was very inspired by your request for a few of my favourite things and found myself collecting little treasures from my various travels ever since you asked me. As a stylist, I find I have phases of 'object love' and at the moment I am finding so much inspiration in handmade ceramics. As it turns out, all these pieces come from the three cities that hold my heart (and that I call home) - Paris, Amsterdam, and Sydney. And as wonderful luck would have it, today was a gorgeous sunny day here in Amsterdam,casting a lovely soft haze across my vignette and making it the perfect opportunity to capture 'a few of my absolutely favourite things'. I think it looks a bit like Polaroid which I love!

Anna, do you remember when we met in Paris a couple of months ago, I had a little parcel of handmade ceramics that I had just purchased? I found them in the quaintest little boutique in the backstreets of Le Marais, and ever since then I have had a penchant for little ceramic vessels to add to my new collection. So last week when I was in Sydney I had a chance to take a quick trip to Paddington Markets, one of my favourite market places in the world (I have a few favourite market places, but this one is definitely in my top 5!) - I spotted the stall of ceramicist Samantha Robinson. I used to use her pieces as props when I was styling in Sydney, and it was great to stumble upon her work again, I couldn't resist taking a few pieces home with me (they are the little hand printed espresso cups in the front right of the photo). And back in Amsterdam this morning I visited one of my most treasured ceramic stores, Vivian Hann's on the Harlemmerdijk. Everything here is from these special boutiques. Each piece brings a smile to my face, and I love picking them up every now and then and feeling their rough and smooth textures. And yes, every now and then, for special occasions and when we have guests, we use them. But for now, this is where they sit, on a shelf, in 'le petit bateau' in Amsterdam."

I must say I love the simplicity of these pieces so much and I do love the story behind them too! Thank you for sharing your collection of things with us Pia!

'Absolutely Favourite Things' will appear here every Thursday so stay tuned.