Interior designer Anna Spiro lives between Melbourne and Brisbane with her partner Luke Warwick, and children Harry and Max, but calls North Stradbroke Island/Minjerribah her ‘true home.’
‘It’s where I have been coming to with my family since I was a little girl. It’s the most beautiful place on earth,’ Anna says.
After selling a cottage she owned on the island for 16 years, Anna went seeking a small home with an ocean view, which she found just up the road!
‘Despite its gorgeous views, Cassidae Cottage had been on the market for quite some time,’ says Anna. ‘The building is made up of two hexagonal weatherboard pavilions, and I suspect most people would find it hard to know what to do with a house that shape. But for me, it was perfect. It had everything.’
The house was in dire need of a renovation, allowing Anna to really make it her own. First things first – replacing the brown, aluminium-framed windows. ‘I replaced them with large floor-to-ceiling timber windows and sliding doors, which has added so much light, increased the view of the ocean from inside, and makes the house feel much more open,’ Anna says. ‘Removing the 1990s cornices and square setting from the ceilings made everything feel modern and fresh.’
The existing layout of the living/kitchen pavilion was also reconfigured for improved functionality.
All this and more was achieved in just six weeks (!) with the help of builder, Luke Noble, and cabinet maker, Craig Madders.
Decorating wise, Anna opted for a slightly more muted scheme than her signature ‘grandmillennial’ style. ‘Something a little bit simpler, something more restrained and less patterned, than I normally would,’ she explains. ‘This house needed to be restful, peaceful; somewhere I could take a breath, away from all the patterns and colours with which I usually surround myself.’
Classic white interior walls were layered with block colours in tones of the ocean and bush, while the exterior is a contrasting dark navy (Porter’s Paints Yacht Race) that blends into the environment. ‘I didn’t want a stark white house that stood out. I just wanted it to be dark and fade into the beautiful landscape that surrounds it,’ says Anna.
The main bedroom is all about the ocean view, while the guest bedroom offers a different experience entirely, featuring bold red and white toile wallpaper and matching red window frames. ‘It’s such a fun room; it really wraps you up when you stay in it,’ says Anna. ‘It’s proof that any room, no matter what shape it is, and even if it appears to have nothing going for it, can look and feel amazing with a bit of creative thought and a confident approach.’
The renovated house is everything Anna and her family need for simple island living, and where she feels most content.
‘There is nowhere else I’d rather be,’ she says. ‘This is my idea of heaven.’
For more of this home and Anna Spiro’s work, see her new book ‘A Life In Pattern’ (Thames & Hudson Australia) out now.