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An 80s Beach House Turned Serene Escape On The Mornington Peninsula

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You can’t get much closer to the ‘wild beauty’ of Blairgowrie’s back beach than Camillo House, located on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.

The serene three-level property offers uninterrupted views of the coastal surrounds at every turn, while the getaway’s recently renovated interiors help turn the magic of the once-faded 1980s holiday home into a serene escape from ‘the grind of modern life’. It’s a full sensory experience, complete with a signature ‘house scent’, and a Negroni on arrival!

15th November, 2022

Welcome to Camillo House in Blairgowrie. Photo – Kate Shanasy

The holiday house has three floors and three bedrooms, making it the perfect escape for up to six guests. Photo – Kate Shanasy

Owners Clare and Sean have meticulously renovated the getaway over the last two years – without losing the charm of its 1980s roots. Photo – Kate Shanasy

The expansive kitchen on the ground floor. Photo – Kate Shanasy

Timber details and expose beams fill the house with a sense of calm. Photo – Kate Shanasy

The dining room. Photo – Kate Shanasy

A colour palette of blush and orange complements the home’s timber bones. Photo – Kate Shanasy

A cosy fireplace for colder nights in. Photo – Kate Shanasy

‘In addition to filling Camillo with 22 original artworks from Australian and international artists, we have teamed up with an incredible group of local and legendary creatives to bring our vision to life,’ Clare explains. Photo – Kate Shanasy

A look into the luxurious retreat and bar on the upper level. Photo – Kate Shanasy

Every room has uninterrupted views. Photo – Kate Shanasy

The serene main bedroom has an equally impressive ensuite, complete with peachy-toned tiles and a double shower! Photo – Kate Shanasy

‘There is something that feels beautifully undiscovered about our location on Blairgowrie’s back beach,’ Clare adds. Photo – Kate Shanasy

Wake up to natural light before heading out to the deck to start the day. Photo – Kate Shanasy

The luxury accomodation has beeen designed to offer a total escape from everyday life. Photo – Kate Shanasy

Enjoy a barbecue on the sun-drenched terrace. Photo – Kate Shanasy

‘Totally at one with the landscape, Camillo is a hideaway that celebrates the raw beauty of our part of the world,’ Clare says. Photo – Kate Shanasy

Christina Karras
Tuesday 15th November 2022

‘We have created Camillo as a true escape in every sense of the word’ – Clare Hillier

The moment guests arrive at Camillo House, they’ll find a perfectly poured Negroni waiting for them at the bar, uninterrupted views and a sense of total escapism inside the walls of the beautifully restored getaway.

But when Clare Hillier and her partner Sean bought the home a few years ago, it was covered in pine lining boards and had a rabbit-warren floor plan. It felt more like a dated ‘Swedish sauna’ than a dreamy weekend escape.

The couple purchased the house a few years ago from the original owners, a family who had built it as their private holiday home in the 1980s. While it was still structurally very solid, there was ‘a lot going on’ inside, and Clare found herself immediately drawn to the light-filled building and the memories it held. So, before they even begun the two-year renovation, Clare and Sean spent the summer ‘camping’ in the house to get to know it better.

‘We learnt where the perfect spot was to sit and catch the morning sun, we hiked along dunes on our doorstep to swim at hidden beaches and fell asleep with the doors flung open, listening to the sound of crashing waves,’ Clare says. This deep appreciation for the home’s past and its idyllic location inspired their sympathetic and refined renovation that set up a new chapter for Camillo House.

Every room and surface in the home has since been updated. Under the guidance of their builders, LUBU Building they introduced a ply ceiling as a ‘visually quieter’ replacement for the original ‘hectic orange pine boards’, resurfaced the slate floor to remove the 1980’s high gloss, in addition to replacing all the windows and the rotted timber decks. They also enlisted the help of CS Studio for the project’s tonal interiors, filled with warm tones of burnt orange, dusty pink and terracotta against a textural and timber backdrop.

‘In collaboration with Blair Smith Architecture, we reconfigured the layout of the house to make the most of the views and create more usable, restful spaces and design a distinctive new kitchen, bedrooms and three new bathrooms,’ Clare says.

Other creative touches include 22 original artworks from Australian and international artists, a slow soak timber bath by Wood and Water, custom furniture by Bootleg Studio, and a signature ‘house scent’ made in collaboration with local perfumery Rewild Co!

And Clare says it’s this luxury and attention to detail that helps make Camillo House a true ‘antidote to the grind of modern life’ – with the option to venture out to the new Alba Thermal Springs, one of the Peninsula’s 50 cellar doors, or to simply stay in watch the sunset over the sand dunes nearby.

Book your stay at Camillo House online here.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net