Saturday Spotlight on…Artist Anna Mulcahy

So today being Saturday is a very appropriate day to introduce the first post in my ‘Saturday Spotlight on…’ series for my humble little blog.  I thought I would kick it off with the personality that I guess is the catalyst for the series – that would be one Anna Mulcahy.  The series being; regular Saturday posts on emerging and established design and artistic talent that has caught my eye, inspired me, made me laugh, made me cry and whom I believe in as a talent and as a story to tell and share to a wider audience.   I hope you enjoy reading, discovering, perhaps revisiting and by all means leave a comment and let me know you’ve stopped by.

I first met Anna Mulcahy a few years ago now, when she came in to Maple Homewares in Balwyn.  Anna had brought some of her gorgeous Collage Crosses in to Maple, hoping to get her pieces in to some of the local homewares stores.  Anna is such a genuine, humble, warm person, and you know straight up that there is no BS – so refreshing.  She is a terrible salesperson though (and she won’t mind me saying that, she’d say it herself), you know she lives to paint and the thought of people paying for her passion I think, initially may have been a little challenging for her to comprehend.  She’s getting better at it.

Anna is one hell of a talented lady, creating detailed hand-made paper and mixed media collages.  She also creates dreamy, exotic backdrops for her collages and gorgeous detailed drawings.  Over time I have seen the changes in Anna’s work as she gains more confidence in her own abilities, and belief in herself as a ‘fully fledged’ artist.  Needless to say Anna’s work is now represented in some of Melbourne’s most popular homewares stores; namely Maple Homewares in Balwyn, Fenton and Fenton in Prahran, Curious Grace in Yarraville, Montebello Emporium and Sissy in Mt Eliza (about an hours drive from Melbourne). Anna’s work is so bright and colourful, I find myself drawn to every one of her pieces.  Her pieces evoke images of faraway places, places we’d love to go to but for whatever reason can’t quite get there.  It’s no surprise then than Anna draws much of her inspiration from past travels across Egypt, Israel and Morocco. I’ve seen Anna’s pieces in homes (mine included) take centre stage, they are so rich in their exotic palette and imagery that they bring a space to life and can do justice to the family that lives there.  Anna’s passion seeps through her pieces and in to the homes fortunate enough to have invested in her talent. 


Anna at Curious Grace Anna Mulcahy and ‘Azraq’ at Curious Grace in Yarraville

 Anna, tell us about yourself.  Did you always want to be an artist, and what led you to where you are today?

I was always good at Art but it wasn’t encouraged in a house full of professionals, therefore it was thought of by myself and my parents as more of a hobby.  20 years ago I painted my first piece and an interior decorator friend of mine saw it and sold it to her client for $500.00 unframed! So my art career began. Twenty years later I have managed to paint full time and as a single mum it has been a fantastic career as I could be at home for my babies.

Both your paper art and paintings are certainly gaining popularity. Is there a particular medium you prefer?

I love mixing it up. I paint abstract designs in acrylic paint and turn it into collages at the moment as they have been particularly popular.

How would you describe your artwork?

I would describe my art as global, colourful and very happy.  

Emerald City at Fenton and Fenton

 ‘Emerald City’ looking right at home amongst the eclectic mix of home wares at Fenton and Fenton in Prahran.  

Do you have an idea of what you are going to paint from the outset, or do some pieces unravel once you start putting brush to canvas.?

I have a pretty good idea before I start especially with collages as they have to be measured with precision although I often end up with a totally different piece than what was in my head to start with!


Aztec Blue at Curious GraceIMG_5251

‘Aztec Rose’, ‘Aztec Blue’, and below collage crosses – highlighting the precision in spatial arrangement and preparation that’s required.  

Collage Cross

Collage Cross 2











What does a typical day involve for you?

No such thing as a typical day! I paint when the creative urge hits which luckily is all the time. Sometimes 9 -5pm sometimes 9pm – 3am. I just go with it and have an Anna nap if I need too.


Anna at her studio in Glen Iris, painting the finishing touches to ‘Colonel Haiti’.

Top 5 resources for inspiration.

1. Travelling especially the Middle East

2. Everyday objects. A pretty outfit to a walk with the dog.

3. Interior and fashion trends

4. My mood

5. Doodling and playing with paints

Which other local artists, designers or creative people are you liking at moment.

So many fantastic artists out there. Two favourites are Jai Vasicek & Katie McKinnon  plus the Masters. Marc Chagall being a favourite

What are you looking forward to?

I look forward to more travel now the children are older. Morocco, Spain and Portugal are high on the wish list

Favourite place to shop and eat in Melbourne?

Homewares: Maple. Curious Grace. Fenton & Fenton and SISSY in Mt. Eliza

Clothes-  I buy it if I love it and it doesn’t matter where it’s from.

Restaurant – Amigos with the kids The Smith with friends Cafe Cucina or Stoke House for romantic dinner


Above – Anna’s ‘Persian Pink, ‘Emerald Medina’ and ‘Spanish Sunset’ and Jai Vasicek’s crosses (below) at one of Anna’s favourite stores (and mine),  Maple Homewares in Balwyn











What are 5 things most people don’t know about Anna Mulcahy?

There is nothing people don’t know about me. Pretty much an open book. I’m an optimist and passionate and I think very funny too, although my kids may disagree! I love my partner, kids and friends and am at my happiest painting.   A huge thank you Anna, for your time and for your ability to inject our homes with so much life and colour.   Lisa xx

FezCarbivale at Curious Grace

‘Fez’ at Fenton and Fenton, and ‘Carnivale’ at Curious Grace

Wasi DesertCollage

‘Wasi Desert’ and a gorgeous elephant collage – showcasing the extent of Anna’s creative talents.






It’s a Subway Situation in the Bathroom

I never tire of Subway tiles, I know they have been around forever, well since early-twentieth century anyway. Originally gracing the walls of the subway in New York, who would have thought that they would become a design favourite – creating  such a classic look.  I love the way you can bring a little more edge and attitude to the room by merely having a contrasting grout colour. Personally I love the white subway tile with a dark grout and some gorgeous brass tap ware – for the bathroom.  And it’s the bathroom that I’m interested in at present, as myself and a client embark on their bathroom renovation – with so many ideas that need to be fine-tuned, here’s a few of my favourite images for inspiration.


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Image via Apartment Therapy



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Image via  Incredible to note that this image is a computer rendering by Studio You Me , so talented.



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201807598_CuLwuTYY_cImage 6 via


Image 7 via

What I’m Diggin’ Right Now

I’m back…let’s not go into how long it’s been, but a bit has happened, needless to say Live-Breathe-Style has had a bit of a freshen up and I have lots of awesome ideas, images and inspiration for you to enjoy. Let’s kick off with a roundup up of things that ‘I’m Diggin’ Right Now’.

light and rug I love everything about this space above. I came across this image on The Style Files and although I tend to go for a lot more colour, the textures, materials, height of the ceiling, scale of the furniture and lighting make it a truly captivating space. The Z1 Black pendant in particular caught my eye. I am a massive fan of Ay Illuminate design house based in the Netherlands. They work with beautiful natural materials to produce the most exquisite range of lighting, basket ware and ceramics. This pendant light is no exception.

The rug, another of my personal favourites, is a traditional Beni Ouarain carpet.  These are made by the Berber tribes of the North-Eastern Middle Atlas Mountains in Morocco. They were traditionally used as bedding to keep warm in the cold winter months.  These rugs, understandably fetch a fair price – upwards of $3000 for a decent sized Beni Ouarain.  Kinda out of our price range at this point in time, but I did notice that Freedom Furniture  have a very decent version of this rug, the Moroccan Boxes Floor Rug.  It is a combination of cotton and wool, but it actually looks pretty good.  Even better, it’s on special –  $379 for a 300cm x 200cm.  It might just get me by until I can fork out for the ‘real deal’. 

Coco and Milo


How gorgeous are these cushions? They are from a small homeware company called Coco and Milo.  They have a quirky, eclectic mix of cushions that feature on the  Made It online market. In particular I love the Handprinted Scandi Aztec cushion, that also comes in black with the gold fringe. 

pineapple lamp

Next on the list is this gorgeous bone china Pineapple Lamp from Have You Met Miss Jones. It featured in last weekends Sunday Age, ‘Home Style’ lift out.  It would be the most adorable, quirky addition to a child’s bedroom.  The lifestyle company Have You Met Miss Jones, continue to produce exquisitely crafted, interesting and unique products. They started out specialising in white bone china products, but have now expanded to include clay pottery, porcelain, wood, resin, recycled glass and lacquer.  Jump on their website and see all the quirky goodness for yourself.

teatowels gallery


One of my favourite Australian artists, Rachel Castle, has released a range of screen printed Tea Towels. There are 4 in the range and they are designed with the intention to frame and hang.  They are a limited edition (just 100 of each design), and a fantastic way to have a little piece of Rachel Castle in your home .  Rachel’s whimsical paintings, embroidery, screen prints and range of bedlinen is exquisite and she has a huge following in Australia and Internationally (deservedly so). Lucy Feagins from The Design Files posted a fantastic interview with Rachel, back in 2010, well worth a jump over. 

castle bedding

rachel 2

rachel 1


To finish off my little (big) list of things I’m lovin’, here’s a little fashion.  I’m still struggling with the fact it will be Winter in just over a month so I still managed to slip a few ‘Spring’ like pieces in there. Although considering I am one to wear thongs in the thick of winter (with a scarf, beanie and coat mind you) it’s probably not all that unexpected.

leopard loafers

Leopard print (or Ocelot if you are that way inclined) is still EVERYWHERE….scarves, bags, shoes, pants, jackets, coats, hats.  But for damn good reason.  It looks great with just about anything.  You can clash prints, or keep the rest of the outfit simple…it adds interest, colour and seriously for $50 (try Shopbop) these super cute Soludos look super comfy, and again – could be trotted out any season – gotta get me some of these.  With distressed denim, white T-shirt, you’re good to go. 

Milano and Arizona Birkenstock

Ahhh yes the old Birkenstock has made a comeback (did it ever go?).  The last pair I had traipsed all around Europe and were with me for quite some time thereafter. The ‘it’ sandal for Spring/Summer (and look Winter with a pair of woollen socks? Yes?) is the Birkenstock.  Yes it’s on trend, but sooooo comfy, so might just be jumping on that bandwagon once more.  The latest style being touted around town is the Arizona (in black or white….let’s go black for Autumn/Winter shall we?) .  

asos leather jacket

This brown leather jacket by Mango, a Spanish clothing company (available via Asos) looks amazing.  It’s REAL leather, and ON SALE (from $344 down to $223) BARGAIN. Autumn, Winter, Spring…..done.  I know the black leather bikers jacket is getting it’s fair share of publicity, but for me, brown leather fits the bill. Not as harsh, and perhaps a little more ‘versatile’ for my lifestyle (as a Mumma). 

free people jacket‘The Light Shining On Me Jacket’ jacket by Free People  is the perfect little jacket to throw on over boyfriend jeans or some ‘skinnies’ with a white T underneath.  Stunning during the day or night, this little jacket is on my list for spring.  It has crochet accents and a layered trim that gives it that edge. I love pieces like this, because as you look at it more closely you can see more and more detail.  An interesting piece that will get heaps of use. Tick.

Right o, I’ve broken the drought.  Looking forward to getting stuck into all things design, decoration, fashion and food….

Thanks for stopping by.

Indoor plants: bringing the green inside

I’m a massive fan of indoor plants, providing they are cared for and thrive.  I preach their many benefits to all and sundry, so why not post about it I say, along with some pretty pictures of course. There are so many reasons why greenery should be brought indoors, and before I get on to all the benefits from a ‘visual’ perspective let’s for a moment consider the health benefits.   I found this great post at on Life and Livingness – by Tom that lists 6 Air Purifying House Plants.

Among them are the Snake Plant – great for bedrooms as it helps to maintain a healthy amount of oxygen near you whilst you sleep.  Also great for filtering out formaldehyde, which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products.           

Image via

The Gerber daisy will thrive in your laundry or bedroom, and is great for filtering out the benzene that comes with inks.

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The Areca Palm – great for living rooms, as it is an excellent air humidifier, removes Carbon Dioxide and toxins from the air.

The Peace Lily, one of my favourites, is known for removing mold spores, so great in the bathroom or laundry.

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Ok, so on to the ‘aesthetics’.  I hear so often, comments such as ‘I know my house/room needs something, but I just don’t know what’, or ‘I just don’t know what to put in the corner!’.  There might be many reasons, from a design perspective, for these comments, but more often than not, a gorgeous plant of some description, be it Palm, Fiddleleaf Fig, Cactus or any other variety in a gorgeous pot will add some personality and life to the space.

Plants add height to a room.  They offer something that will draw the eye up.  A room full of furniture all at the same height can be ho-hum.  Hence the use of artwork, mirrors, floor lamps and plants, to not only add colour, texture, light and movement, but to also allow the eye to travel across a room at varying heights – creating interest.  

In the image below, (and yes, I would be happy to take any one of the elements, on it’s own), see how by adding the Fiddle Leaf Fig the eye is drawn up, past the height of the light fixture, and you notice the incredible height of the ceiling.  The Fig is enhanced by the gorgeous sheers and louvers behind, and all the patterns and textures work together to create a balanced and harmonious space.  The plant is juxtapositioned perfectly against the sculptural lighting fixture and in a very clever way accentuates the void of space up towards the ceiling.  No question, this would still be a stunning room, without the Fiddle Leaf Fig, but it is all the better for it.

A plant can also offer a sculptural element to a room.  

The Cactus in the picture below works perfectly with the other elements in the space – the mid-century furniture, the sculptural shape of the drop pendants, and the ethnic basket ware and rug.  The wall colour and texture make the Cactus, lighting and furniture pop.  There is enough interest created in this space, purely by these elements alone.

Plants can be used to create symmetry in a room.

In the images below symmetrical balance is achieved with the same plants, both in species, size and visual weight on either side of the room.  In the first and last picture, the plants are placed either side of the focal point of the room (the paintings and fireplace). In the  second picture the plants are placed either side of the couch, leading the eye to the window and beyond. In all pictures, the plants are used to create a comfortable, balanced setting.

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Plants can be used to add interest to an otherwise ordinary wall/space.

The wall garden is certainly becoming a popular feature in and outside the home, whether it be outside surrounding a decked area, or inside and used in the kitchen for herbs or as a wall feature in a larger space.  Whatever the intended use, the wall garden will add life, colour, movement and interest to the space.

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And there is always the option to go all out. This might be where I’m headed.

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I think you get the idea.  Better go water my Howea forsterianas and Spathiphyllum cochlearispathum.


Lisa x

Interiors Photo Month on Instagram with Interiors Addict

In case you didn’t know (and I do appreciate the fact not all of us are obsessed with Design Blogs) July was Interiors Photo Month on Instagram.  This idea was adapted by Jen Bishop of Interiors Addict, from a fellow blogger Fat Mum Slim and was such a great way of introducing many of us to the addictive qualities of Instagram.  I had created an Instagram account, but prior to Interiors Photo Month I had taken perhaps 2 photos in total, and they were pretty lame I must say.  By having a crack and playing along with thousands of others throughout the month of July, I gradually got the hang of Instagram and was soon creating some rather arty photos.  Instagram is an app that allows you to add all sorts of wonderful effects to what might be otherwise classified as ‘ordinary’ photos. By uploading your picture onto Instagram, you are allowing others to see your photos and you can also see everyone else’s – well there’s hours of fun right there!

The idea was that each day you are given a key word relating to ‘interiors’, and your challenge was to snap a picture depicting that word and post it on Instagram.  As you can see by the listing below taken from Interiors Addict some key words are pretty broad, others quite specific.  It was a bit of fun, and it actually made me tidy up the house and start to think about the placement of objects a little more, do a little ‘zshooshing’ much to my husbands dismay.  Ok so the house might be back to the shambles it was prior to Interiors Photo Month, but it was fun whilst it lasted, and now the kids get to school on time.  

If you would like to check out my Instagram pics my Instagram handle is @livebreathestyle.

Here are some of the pictures I posted on Instagram throughout July for Interiors Photo Month. 

   Day 3: Bargain

Rattan stool from Ebay ($10)

Day 4: Natural

Elm Dining Table, Kentia Palm, Grassweave basket

Day 5: Couch

Favourite spot in the house

Day 7: Candle

‘Circa Home’ and ‘Have You Met Miss Jones’

Day 8: Pattern

Gorgeous lighting at Hotel Sorrento

Day 9: Light

Vintage lamp just acquired from my Mother-In-Law

Day 10: Books

The ‘Red’ Collection

Day 13: Bright

Yellow does it every time

Day 16: Bedside

Simple, but works for me.

Day 23: Desk

Wish it still looked like this!

Day 25: New Purchase

Latest purchase from Anthropolgie

Thanks again to Jen Bishop at Interiors Addict, was a lot of fun.

Heidi Middleton at home

I just came across these images of Heidi Middleton in her home, posted on The Diversion Project, originally  from Tales of Endearment and had to share them with you.  Both blogs/sites have so much eye candy it will make your head spin, and you might learn something along the way too.  Tales of Endearment, as the author, Natalie Joos puts it (who is a Fashion Consultant and Casting Agent in Brooklyn), is a collection of ‘stories about friends, vintage, love, style and life’. Please go check it out.  Hope you enjoy the images as much as I did.  Such an amazing woman, is Heidi Middletion, for a multitude of reasons.

All above images via Tales of Endearment

The ladies in all their glory, Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton of Sass and Bide.



Kilim the cold out

Ok so I know it’s going to get a hell of a lot colder, and I do actually enjoy winter, really I do, but I’m just not ready for it right this minute! The backyard has been damp for what seems like months, my skin is all pasty, it’s dark by the time we get home from school pick-up (ok not quite, but close) and I have to literally push the rabbit out the door to get him to venture onto a non-carpeted surface. So have I brightened your day yet?  What about some Kilim cushions? They might help, I’ve been thinking of introducing some into the home decor.  Kilim cushions are made from old hand loomed Persian carpets and Turkish rugs.  The undamaged sections of these vintage rugs are salvaged and resurrected into the form of a cushion and they can come in so many patterns and colours, some faded, some bright.  I have seen these blogged about, pinned, instagrammed and (insert other type of social media here) more and more lately as we get into the colder months. The patterns, textures and colours inject personality, warmth and interest to a space. Here’s some pics to get the point across….

Image from Desire to Inspire

Image from Norrgavel catalogue

Image from The Marion House Book

Image from The Design Files

Image from Domino magazine via Mimi and Meg Blog

Hope these images warmed you up, and here’s one just because I can’t seem to get Italy out of my head… 

The Champagne Bar at Le Sirenuse, in Positano.
Image from