Our Home Life Series is a weekly sneak peak into the homes and lives of Australia's most creative and inspiring people.
This week on the Home Life Series, we take you inside interior designer Cassandra Dillon's modern coastal family home. Located in beautiful Red Hill, her contemporary mid-century home features natural elements, stunning views and floor to ceiling lighting. We chat to Cassie about her career in interior design, particularly the power lighting has in creating a cosy haven for your forever home.Best of all, this incredible home is available to rent through Luxico. Read on to find out more about this incredible dream home.
1. Can you tell us about your gorgeous home, how long have you been here and who lives here?
This is our dream home and it was a real labour of love. I’m a very detailed person and really considered every element and how it works as a whole. We had a budget and stuck to it- aiming for good value decisions. The home is a contemporary mid-century design with natural elements that we love. We also built it to be well sealed thermally and environmentally efficient. We have a fully electric home and supplement our usage with a 10kW solar system. If you haven’t lived in a thermally efficient home, you haven’t known comfort!
I live here with my husband, Michael, and children Emma, 8, and Jack, 6. We finished this home almost 3 years ago, but have lived in Red Hill for 9 years.
2. You’re an amazing interior and lighting designer, as the house demonstrates! Can you tell us a little bit about what you do and how you came to start your own business?
I always had a creative side, but was so strong in STEM subjects that I fell into environmental engineering after school. I also worked in property development and project management. But after I had kids and moved away from the city I wanted a more sustainable career that match my interests. We were also planning our dream home, so I undertook new training in interiors. I have steered into lighting and hard interiors as it suits my technical side. I’m good at it! My broad education means I have a good understanding of the whole design and building process.
3. What’s been your career highlights / favourite project to date?
I partner with Lighting Options in Mornington as Head Designer. I really enjoy seeing all the different architectural and interior styles that come across my desk.
My clients are usually planning their forever home and they really want to get the lighting right. It is so rewarding helping clients achieve a functional and relaxing home environment. I need to bring together the architecture, their cabinetry, furniture and interior selections. I love hearing their positive feedback when they eventually move in.
My favourite project would have to be my own home! Having control of the whole project, implementing my own ideas and seeing how it turned out- it’s been so rewarding.
4. How would you describe your own personal interiors style?
I like organic, contemporary and refined spaces. High ceilings add such a nice feeling of space and should be used wherever possible. I have always loved natural colours so I am loving all the current options for organic and natural finishes. Raw materials done well are timeless so if your budget can stretch to include these in your home it will bring such a sense of calm to your space. Texture and matte finishes reign supreme in my book! Consistency in finishes and materials throughout is the key to achieving a considered home.
5. Lighting is one of the hardest things in interiors, but something you obviously gravitate to! What are your tips for creating the perfect lighting plan?
People spend a lot of time in their home at night, so it makes sense to carefully consider the lighting for the right feel and function in your space. Lighting is best considered early on so it can be integrated into the design and budget! It is so often an afterthought and that makes it harder to achieve an enjoyable atmosphere in the home. You want to create an ambient layer of light and a task layer that you can use as a boost. I try to only use downlights where they are actually needed for a specific purpose. Think wall uplights in living areas, recessed LED strip for overhead cupboards, robes, pelmets and special cabinetry (plan for this early in your cabinetry). Quality of the strip light is so important here. Wall lights are great in bathrooms. Artwork, textured walls, and architectural features provide a great opportunity to highlight with your lighting. There are so many fitting options to consider that have a different effect on your space - glare, beam angle, light strength, warm/cool light, accuracy of colour representation. Every home is so different in interior style and it’s important to consider and compliment this with your lighting.
6. You live in a beautiful bushy part of the Mornington Peninsula. What is the sense of community like here and what drew you to the area?
I grew up in Melbourne, but moved to Red Hill 9 years ago. I just love where I live. It feels really grounded and it’s such a social place to live. I think partly it’s living in a smaller community and partly because it’s a tree change area with so many new people, that everyone is really open to new friendships. It’s a supportive community with good values and the perfect place to raise my children.
7. What’s your favourite room in the house and why?
My ensuite is my most favourite room- especially my walk-in shower! It has high ceilings with natural light that just streams through the full-length windows. We built in a planter box in the top of the shower wall. The plants flow down providing a natural calmness. It’s such a special place to start each day.
8. Whats your favourite Kip&Co thing in the latest range?
Linen bedding is a great way to give a home a quality feel. The “staples” colours in the French flax linen bedding range has some great options that will suit and last in any home. For a bit more fun I am loving the Minty Stripe and the Toasted Marshmallow range!
9. Is there any way people can see your beautiful home?
The house was recently featured on The Design Files. We hire out our whole home over summer through Luxico, and occasionally at other times. We also run an AirBnB studio if people wish to experience the property and what Red Hill has to offer any other time.
Read other stories in the Kip&Co Home Life Series.