An art lover’s dream – with pieces in every room (including the bathroom!), designer Clare Hillier and her partner Sean refined the existing structure of this 1980’s home, to create this relaxing retreat away from the bustle of city living.
We talk all things renovating, designing with senses in mind, and the importance of creating a place for guests to rest and connect with nature.
Hi Clare! Thank you so much for welcoming us inside the beautiful Camillo House. Tell us a little bit about what you do and how you stumbled across this incredible property?
Thanks so much for coming to visit! Camillo was born out of the depths of Melbourne’s long lockdowns. With the world feeling smaller than it ever had, in 2020 I started dreaming of creating a true escape - in every sense of the word.
After six months of relentless searching, I found this property and went through it with the owner, Sid. He had built the property in the 1980’s as a holiday home for his family before eventually retiring to it. Sid told me that every evening, he, and his wife would cross the road to the dunes for sunset drinks. He also showed me the ‘Metrosideros’ tree they had planted in front of the house the first summer they were there. From that first visit, I knew there was something very special about the energy of this home and the memories it contained. I knew this was the place where I could create a unique experience and share it with whoever came through the door.
What can you tell us about the inspiration behind the name?
Legend has it, the Negroni cocktail was invented at the Caffe Casoni in Florence, Italy in 1919 when Camillo’s namesake Count Camillo Negroni requested a stronger version of his favourite cocktail – the Americano. His friend and bartender, Forsco Scarselli, replaced the soda component with gin, added an orange garnish and the Negroni was born.
The perfect balance of bitterness and sweetness, the Negroni has always been close to my heart. In fact, my partner, Sean, and I dreamt of creating Camillo over a Negroni (or two!). And when guests arrive at our seaside escape, they find a perfectly poured Negroni waiting for them at the bar.
You and your partner Sean spent two years renovating the property and honouring its 1980s bones (to perfection might we add!). Tell us a little bit about this brief and any non-negotiables you had?
Our vision for Camillo was that it would be more than luxury accommodation. Rather than playing a supporting role in our guests’ holiday tale, we wanted to create an experience in and of itself.
This meant that when we were creating the space, we had one simple rule all our design decisions had to stack up to – ‘the f*ck yes principle’ (please excuse my language!). We wanted everything about the space to be distinctive and original, to elicit a visceral ‘f*ck yes’ from our guests when they step through our door.
As an antidote to the grind of modern life, we designed spaces and selected materials with sensory pleasure in mind and a devotion to attention to detail. There is something that is more playful about creating a space for people to escape to than when you are designing a home for everyday living.
Wooden furnishings, pink cosmopolitan quartzite and green velvet carpet are just a few of the many interior standouts! How would you describe the styling of Camillo House and where do you source your inspiration from?
Camillo’s styling has personality and unexpected moments but still feels welcoming and restful. It’s grounded in real materials (like slate, stone, timber and venetian plaster) and timeless design. Rather than following a formula, it truly comes from the heart.
One particularly important element in Camillo’s styling is our collection of original artworks by 25 up-and-coming artists and renowned names. Over time, this collection will continue to evolve through our passion for spotlighting inspired creatives, Camillo’s Artist’s Retreat Programme and commissioning custom pieces to adorn our walls.
With art in every room (even the bathrooms!), an escape to Camillo is like sojourning in a private gallery.
So, give the people what they want to hear! How can someone spend the weekend here?
We love creating memorable experiences for our guests! You can book directly with us via our website.