Thursday, 13 March 2014

New Things, New York & Happy New Year

Hello.  Happy New Year.  How is it March already?  I know its a cliché but time really does fly.  We've had a nice start to 2014.  Some good projects are on the go and we've been busy stocking up the store again after a busy Christmas period..  Olivia and I travelled to New York early February where we spent 10 days trudging around in snow and freezing conditions to find some wonderful things for Black & Spiro.  Some of my favourite finds can be seen above including vintage paintings and one-off textiles.  We still have things arriving weekly from the trip so make sure you pop into the shop for a visit if you are looking for something extra special.

Central Park was like, as one of my instagram followers said, 'a scene out of The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe'.  Pure Magic especially for 2 Aussie girls used to the unbearable humidity in Brisbane.

Visiting New York's vintage markets is one of my favourite things to do.  There is just so much and so little luggage space that making a decision on what comes and what has to stay is very difficult.


I usually always have a buying regret, and this trip was no different.  On our last day I found this wonderful book that I should have bought and now so desperately wish I had but alas, we had so much to get home and I had to leave it behind.

Olivia's first trip to the Big Apple and the weather certainly turned it on for her!  She was in snow heaven.

Bergdorf's incredible displays did not disappoint.  This painted fan installation was just randomly placed in a section upstairs in the store.  So much work and so much creative thought that must go into every single display project they produce.

For me, a trip to NYC wouldn't be complete without a meal at my fave Osteria Morini in Soho.  Simple, traditional, hearty Italian.  Love it so much.


We also visited Freemans for a bowl of warm soup after our visit to John Derian's divine stores just around the corner.  I was sad to see that Peels had closed just a few weeks prior to our visit!!

We loved catching up with Jamie Meares from Furbish Studio and her lovely assistant at Tipsy Parson.

This trip, we stayed in mid-town at The NoMad and I was so taken with the building that we looked out onto from our room and hotel rooftop.  One of my instagram followers informed me that it is the home of the very fashionable Isabel and Ruben Toledo!  Click HERE to read and see more about them and their seriously amazing home in the clouds!

Our busy week in NY came to an end.  We had a fabulous time and came home with lots of beautiful things and lots of great inspiration for our year ahead. 

Despite all that New York is, I was so happy to come home to this!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Black & Spiro Online Pop-Up Store NOW LIVE!

I'm excited to let you know that our pop-up online store is NOW LIVE!!xx

The address is -

If you experience problems getting into the site - go to our normal Black & Spiro website which is - and click on the ONLINE STORE link.

Hope you enjoy browsing through and shopping our curated collection of bits and pieces!!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Announcing a Black & Spiro Online Pop-up Store!!!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had 3 exciting things to share with you in October and I'm so sorry I forgot to let you know the 3rd exciting thing we have happening!! 

Albeit a bit late, I'm thrilled to let you know that we are opening a Black & Spiro Christmas online pop-up store!  The store will go live on Wednesday 20th November and it will trade through until Christmas.  We have lots of beautiful things going into the online store that I have found from all over the place including table linen, candles, our beautiful Black & Spiro cushions, vintage paintings, vintage objects and one-off pieces of furniture. 

The online store web address is - .  Just remember it won't go live and be up online until Wednesday 20th November.

I hope you are as excited about this news as I am!!  Bring on November 20!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Buzz - Our Latest Restaurant Project

Earlier this year we were asked to visit the new Gas Works development in Newstead where Margot McKinney & Peter Kedwell planned on opening their 4th Buzz Restaurant.  It was a late Autumn afternoon and the skies were a pale blue fading into a warm soft pink.  What greeted us on site was a gigantic concrete jungle with shards of aluminium, rocks, plastic, air-conditioning vents, building tools and lots of scaffolding.

The Kedwell-McKinney brief was for us to help them create a restaurant that felt comfortable, was fresh, light and open, with lots of appeal and interest for their customers and somewhere for people to also enjoy dinner (as Buzz is mostly known for their fab breakfasts and lunches) or even just a drink at the bar. 

We used Peter Kedwell's history and career in the fruit and vegetable industry as our inspiration for the project.  Fresh food and market produce became our main focus for the colours, materials and ideas we presented.

We also wanted the restaurant to have a warm, almost lived-in, country farmhouse-type atmosphere and this image above provided us with inspiration to use bagged brick, timber and zinc in the finishes.

The fabulous big black industrial lights we found in France look wonderful hanging in the space and have you spotted the little terracotta plant-pot lights hanging over the central bar?  I came up with the idea when I was in my garden potting terracotta pots just before we presented the concept.  It was like a little garden angel reached out to me and said - wouldn't they look great turned upside down and used as lights at Buzz!  Again, this played wonderfully on the garden/market theme.


This fabulously detailed green door that Alexandra Macmillan posted on her Pinterest page was the perfect piece of inspiration we needed for our cabinetry design and colour.


It's just so wonderful when you start to see your ideas and vision for a project come together and  just as you had planned in your head.  Site visits just got better and better as each day passed just prior to the restaurant opening last weekend.

One of my favourite things we created was the old cane market basket wall.  We collected up a bunch of old baskets from all over the place including a few that came from my own collection at home.

Another favourite thing is the back-lit shutter panelling we devised and installed over the large ugly round column as above.

And although in our original concept we had suggested to use old market posters adhered directly to the bare concrete wall, the wonderful vintage Queensland paw-paw girl that Margot found certainly is a fabulous fit.

As in any project, some things don't arrive on time so the stools you see in this section of the restaurant aren't permanent.  We have some new ones arriving in the next little while...well actually who knows when!!  Notice the lovely collection of old vintage green and white and black and white plates we hung on the wall just above the kitchen-pass....another favourite thing.

 And finally, one last favourite thing is the beautiful blackboard we created.  This back-piece to an old sideboard we once had found it's perfect resting place here.  Olivia and I painted it with black-board paint ourselves and we asked Vanessa Macphail to do her thing with the lettering.

If you get the chance to have a meal at Buzz, I hope you enjoy what we have created there.  I'm hopeful that we can add a bit more excitement to the exterior spaces over the next few months as time passes...

Thank you Margot & Peter for asking me to help you with this wonderful project.  I hope it's a fabulous success!


Monday, 21 October 2013

Black & Spiro News


I forgot how great it is to clear the decks!  Our store room is nice and spacious again after what seemed like a 2 hour crazy hurricane in the shop last Saturday morning at our 1 day sale.  I was very excited that almost everything went and since that crazy day, we have been able to shape up the shop and give it a bit of a face-lift with some beautiful new things.

Olivia and I were so inspired last Tuesday night that we stayed back into the dark hours of the night creating this wonderful wall of tear sheets in the store.  It has created much interest and chatter in the shop amongst our clients and customers.

Last Thursday night we opened our 'Flowers' art exhibition.  Divine flower paintings line our walls by Pip Boydell, Bridgette McNab, Jenny McCown & Linda Sheppard.  If you haven't popped in to see them I invite you to do so as they really are so beautiful and they certainly add a lovely layer to the store!  The exhibition will run for another 3 weeks.  I will be sad to see the paintings go!

Look at these very special new cushions we have in the store made from antique textiles.  I am in-love with every single one of them! 


Another new addition in the shop is our beautiful old circa 1920's piano.  We encourage anyone who comes in to have a little play if they want including your children!  We love having it in the store and we are thinking we might have a few Christmas carol Saturday morning sessions leading into Christmas!

In project news, later this week the brand new Buzz restaurant at Gas Works will be opening.  We provided the full concept for this new restaurant and we are so excited about unveiling it!  I will post some pictures here soon I promise!!

See you soon.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Announcing a Black & Spiro SALE!!

I'm excited to let you know that we are having one of our big Black & Spiro sales this Saturday 12th October at the shop!!  It's been such a long time since we've had a clean out and I really need to clear some space!!

Make sure you are early as you all know our line up can be a bit full-on!!  Also, I advise you to bring cash as our cash line is always much quicker than our credit card/eftpos line!!

We've got sofas and armchairs, lamps, cushions, fabrics, a few antique pieces of furniture, rugs, chairs and all sorts of lovely things on offer at crazy prices.  I'm really in the mood for a clean out so come along and grab yourself a wonderful Black & Spiro piece at a bargain price.

As you know, I don't have these sales every day and who knows when the next one will be!  You'd be mad to miss it!

See you this Saturday!

Thursday, 3 October 2013


I'm writing from here {above} today.  Such beautiful light in our studio this morning!!  Anyway, back to what I want to tell you about!

October is always a big month in our family.  It's my birthday on the 3rd, my soon-to-be sister-in-law's birthday on the 7th, my grandmother's birthday on the 11th and my husband's birthday on the 13th! Celebrations galore!!

But this October is going to be the biggest of all because we have 3 fabulous things planned for you here at Black & Spiro.  The first event is next Saturday 12th October but I can't tell you the details about it just yet.  However, watch out next Monday 7th October as I will reveal all.  You will be very excited about this one, I promise!!

The 2nd event is a collaborative art exhibition which we will hosting here at the store called FLOWERS.  Opening night is Thursday 17th October and everyone is welcome.  Come and joins us!  Pip Boydell with be showing her latest pieces and let me tell you they are AMAZING.  Sydney Painter Bridgette McNab along with Jenny McCown and Linda Sheppard will all be showing pieces inspired by flowers.  If you are looking for a little piece or even a big piece to fill a spot then this will be the perfect event for you!!
The 3rd thing is also one I can't share yet.  However, it will be happening in the last week of October and I think it will be something you will all be very happy about....especially our customers from interstate!!

So keep your eyes peeled and your ears open this month as we have lots for you all to enjoy!


Monday, 30 September 2013

Shop News

In shop news, late last week we received a rather lovely shipment of antiques.  A few divine sideboards, tables and objects.  If you are looking for that elusive piece, make sure you pop in as I think our new pieces are some of the loveliest we've had in a long time.  We have also just had a big delivery of our beautiful Black & Spiro bespoke cushions - so many different patterns, shapes and colours to choose from.  Some of the cushions we have had made are in the divine, unique fabrics I found when I was overseas.   



Tuesday, 17 September 2013

French Leave


I thought it appropriate to call this post - 'French Leave' which is defined as - an abrupt and unannounced departure (without saying farewell).  

Over the course of this year I have kept myself off the streets doing my usual decorating thing with some wonderful clients and some exciting projects but I have also been heavily engrossed in writing my first book with Penguin which is due for release early next year.  I never really anticipated the incredible amount of work, energy and inspiration needed to write a book and so I felt that in order to put all my effort into my writing I really couldn't write a book and a blog at the same time.  I hope you can understand my French Leave and grant me pardon.  Maybe having my book on your coffee table next year will make up for my leave of absence here this year!

It astonishes me to think that Spring has arrived here in Australia and we are on the down-hill slide to Christmas yet again.  Having just returned from a much-needed holiday in Europe where we (my family and I) experienced and enjoyed the end of Summer there, I am excited to think about our forthcoming Summer months.

I thought you might like to see a few of my holiday snaps which, if you follow me on Instagram, you may be a little sick of seeing.  I personally love seeing peoples holiday snaps especially of Italy so here you go.  I might also post a second series in a few days time.

Oh and before I depart I will let you know that we have some really exciting things happening at Black & Spiro over the next month, including a wonderful collaborative art exhibition which I extend you an invitation to.  I will post the invite here on the blog and on my Instagram in the coming week so watch out for it.  Pip Boydell will be showcasing a new series of paintings in a divine new style and we have a wonderful Sydney artist, Bridget McNab and 2 other fabulous Brisbane artists as well!  We also have another exciting day planned here at the store in the coming weeks which I will let you know about closer to the date.

Hope to see you in the shop soon!!

 In no particular order - from Positano to my new favourite place in the world - Capri...