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.






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.

Tribal Fashion

The Tribal Fashion wave is certainly gaining momentum, and by the time Spring/Summer 2012 hits our shores we’ll all have made friends with our statement ‘bib’ necklaces, aztec patterned pants and will be going all out with a head-to-toe print affair. No?  Come on, Tribal fashion is so much more exotic now.  It has certainly been around for some time, I’ll give you that, but has progressed from ‘animal prints’ and the ‘safari inspired’ look to a more artistic mix of African inspired  prints.  It seems pretty much anything goes. 

You could opt for a statement accessory such as the ‘bib’ necklace

I can’t promise you’ll look like this, but I do rather like this photo…and the necklace.

Ok, so let’s move on to footwear shall we?

If wedges are your caper, get a load of these babies.

Or if flats are more your thing, try these on for size.

This Spring/Summer clothing designs are fun and elegant, and the beautiful exotic colours have a gorgeous effect. Prints are also embellished with beads and shells, there seems to be no limits to where you can take this trend. To play it safe you could choose one piece with an exotic/vibrant print and play that down with a coordinating colour in a skirt, top or pants.  To take it further you could combine prints that have either similar or coordinating colours.  It’s all in the way you walk anyway, walk with conviction and you’ll pull it off.

Mara Hoffman

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

Monday Reveal

Ok so I think it’s time to cough up some images of a house I have been working on.  It’s a new-build and I will try and post some ‘before and after’ images each week.  As each post goes up I endeavour to tell you more about the job, and let the house ‘unfold’ so to speak.  Needless to say, the busy ‘young’ family of four have moved into their gorgeous home.  It’s a home built for entertaining and as such has had a busy first few months.  Now all the party animals have retreated back to their own homes (albeit temporarily) and put away their cozzies we had a chance to take some photos.  We still have a bit to do, mainly decorating with rugs, artwork, some big furniture pieces and some finishing touches in the lighting department, but the look and feel of the home is becoming established.   

For the first ‘Monday Reveal’ is the kitchen.  Here’s a picture taken just before the cabinetry carcasses went in (temporarily).

Picture taken with cabinetry carcasses and pendant light over island bench installed

And….here we have how it looks today (well, just after the cleaner has left..I did mention family of four right?…plus one HUGE dog).

We’re really happy with how the kitchen turned out.  The Corten tiles on the back wall look amazing in natural light and just as impressive at night with the pendant light on.  All cabinetry is coated in a two-pack finish.  A warm white for the wall cabinetry and a deep charcoal/brown for the island bench.  All benchtops are in Caesarstone ‘Urban’. The kitchen overhead light fixture is the Toss B ‘Sphere 7’ from Hub Furniture.  Stools are from Kendall.  As you can see we decided against going with a sleek white kitchen.  Even though the house is a very contemporary design (I will have to get a good pic of the exterior, quite incredible),  the materials and colour palette used in the kitchen and other areas of the home help to soften its edges and give the house it’s personality – they create warmth and character, and don’t appear too prescious, just like the family who lives here. 

I hope you like my little ‘reveal’ and I look forward to posting more about this home, and other jobs along the way.

Enjoy your ducted heating tonight…better go and catch the last half hour of ‘Revenge’.

Fashion Friday

How can I resist blogging about bright colours with this gorgeous weather we are experiencing here in Melbourne and for Friday, Fashion it is.  I always seem to find myself revisiting my favourite Fashion pictures, and I didn’t want to bombard you too much for the first Fashion post (read – it’s getting late and I’ve spent enough time farting around trying to get this post up) so here’s a few pictures. Some I’ve had filed away for some time and some (the shoes) are what’s to look forward to for Spring/Summer 2012, and yes, yes I know it’s a little early for us here, but never hurts to plan ahead, and most of us will need to looking at the prices of some of these beauties…start saving.

What a fun outfit, I might not be able to pull off those sleeves (actually, definitely not), but awesome colour combination - one of my favourites.

Officially obsessed with this colour combination, can't help but lift your spirits, really.

Rag and Bone Apollo Suede High Heels in Aqua

Reed Krakoff Two-tone leather sandals

Juicy Couture Sidnee Strappy Sandals

Neon wristbands and clutch via Pinterest

Layers of fun thrown together

Art to brighten your Tuesday

What is it about a good pool or beach scene?  Is it the bright pops of colour adding an element of fun to a space? Or the memories of good times, or perhaps the promise of long lazy days spent not doing much at all.  Artwork effects an interior on so many levels – and having a positive effect on the individual that lives in that space is just one of them.  Here are some of my favourites below, and I hope they make your day just that little bit brighter.

Praia Piquinia by Christian Chaize

North Shore_1 by Shane Bowden

Pool Shot by Erin Curtis

Eden Roc Pool by Slim Aarons

A Massimo Vitali photograph hangs on the wall in Courtney Cox's Malibu retreat, image courtesy of Elle Decor

Refresh by Samantha French