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An 80s House Turned Serene Escape On The Mornington Peninsula

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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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