Welcome to our final Journal instalment for Autumn. Where we examine success in space and place creation. Interior images by Kate Shanasy When Clare Hillier, the talent behind Camillo House, contacted me to design a bespoke scent for this Blairgowrie, oceanfront property, it was a clear ‘yes’ from me. There is nothing quite like it. Anywhere. It’s cool aesthetic has helped it land in media platforms such as The Design Files and Broadsheet Melbourne, just to name a couple. Quoting TDF, “Camillo House is a renovated 80s holiday home on the Mornington Peninsula, with coastal views, a signature scent and a Negroni on arrival.”. If you are looking for leadership in the hosting space, look no further. With the whole experience focussing in on the guest, it is beautiful to watch, and I am sure, even more beautiful to stay at. So without further ado, I am thrilled to introduce the clever Clare to you…. [Amanda:] “Clare, those that have found your oceanfront, luxury accommodation in the dunes overlooking Bass Strait, are raving about it. I clearly remember you telling me the story of how this all came to life – from dreaming to fruition. The story really did form the entire brand underpinning Camillo House and it feels like every decision was effortless. Can you share what it was about Camillo House that really did form the entire tale of it’s success and helped with the decision-making?” [Clare:] “My background is in consulting as a Brand Storyteller. So, the very first step in this journey saw me spending time getting absolutely clarity about what Camillo would bring to the world.” I defined our brand philosophy (or DNA) – a single thought that underpins our promise to our guests – and our brand values that guide how we behave day in, day out. Together, they are our guiding light that informs everything that we do and against which every decision is measured – and boy have there been thousands upon thousands of decisions since that first day I started dreaming of Camillo.” [A:] “I can quite confidently say that most of us have been in a planning stage of building, renovating or business building. When you were in this stage, what were the non-negotiables for you?” [C:] “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. We also had one simple rule. All our design decisions had to stack up to the ‘#%&k yes principle. We wanted everything about the space to be distinctive and original , to elicit a visceral response from our guests when they step through the door. Whether it’s bathing outside, watching thunderstorms roll in while lying in bed, or card games around the fire pit, another non-negotiable was that as a space, Camillo needed to frame the rituals of time away towards deep connection with nature and each other.” Camillo’s signature scent by Rewild Company [A:] “How would you best describe the style of Camillo House?” [C:] “Original. Real. Warm. Considered. Playful. Heart-led.We want Camillo to be a space that thrills and delights – that is a complete departure from the everyday.” [A:] “What is your favourite nook in Camillo House and why? How does it make you or your guests feel? And why is this important in the world we currently live in – to have a nook such as this?” [C:] “The top level of Camillo is a very special space, anytime of the day. Start at one end of our retreat with a coffee in hand to watch the sunrise over the Bay and Arthur’s Seat and complete your day at the other end of this space, perched at the bar for an incredible view of the sun setting over Blairgowrie’s wild dunes. Spend your time reading our beautiful collection of books, playing chess to the sound of crashing waves – or just being.” [A:] “The Camillo House brief was really clear when I was creating it’s signature scent. It was such a pleasure to pull all the elements together. That beautiful Negroni-style, bold and adventurous. The signature scent fills the space for each guest. How important was it to you to have a signature scent for Camillo House?” [C:] “Rather than playing the supporting role of accommodation to our guest’s holiday tale, we wanted Camillo to be an experience in and of itself. Having a signature scent was integral to this as it helps create an immersive experience that touches all the senses – that carries memories of time at our seaside escape, long after the guest returns home.” Leaving us wanting more, shot by Jane Fitzgerald [A:] “Art features quite prominently at your place. How did you settle on the artists you chose? And what was it about these pieces of art that tied in so beautifully to Camillo House?” [C:] “We affectionately call Camillo, the Art House as we have original works from over 30 artists on display and are continually adding to this collection. Our art collection came about quite organically and was very much heart-led. We collected pieces from artists we love and wanted to share with our guests. Often when we purchased a piece, we didn’t know exactly where it would go, but that it had a place at Camillo. We are excited to see this collection continue to evolve, especially through our Artist Retreat Program where we invite creatives to stay at Camillo and use the space to inspire, dream and create from.” [A:] “If you put together a style-book of this place on the Mornington, what pieces would it include?” [C:] “We wanted Camillo to be filled with unexpected pieces that you won’t see everywhere else. So, we decorated almost entirely with vintage furniture that we sourced from near and far and pieces we designed and made ourselves.” [Amanda here. I asked Clare to run through what a Camillo House style-guide would include and here are her clues….] “Scour auctions, antique shops and vintage stores for original art that you can give a more modern or simpler presentation to with a new frame. If you can’t find the perfect piece? Don’t be afraid to make your own! After spending months searching for an entrance table with quite specific dimensions, we decided to create a very simple design using leftover Spotted Gum from our renovation and feature legs from Melbourne designer, Bootleg Studios. Facebook Marketplace is an absolute treasure trove for surprising one-offs and more importantly, no lead times! Focus on the shape and condition of the piece, and then make it your own. For instance, I love the shape of the Hay ‘Slit’ Side table, so I hunted one down on Facebook Marketplace and then had it custom powder-coasted in Camillo’s signature Deluxe ‘Manor Red’. [A:] “I heard that there is a Negroni waiting for us on arrival. Do you have any secrets on making an incredible Negroni?” [C:] “Choose a good quality vermouth and treat it properly! Once opened, vermouth oxidises and quickly loses it’s lovely, complex aroma. So, make sure you keep it in the fridge after opening. It will stay in good shape for about a month, and then in passable shape for two months after that. Anything longer than three months, and it will be time to part ways!” [A:] “What is the best piece of advice that you have ever received?” [C:] “I don’t think it gets much better than this passage by Aldous Huxley and the call to go lightly, lightly……. “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.” – Aldous Huxley, Island [A:] “What is your hope for those that visit this special corner of the Earth? That find themselves here at Camillo House?” [C:] “Slow down. Shift priorities. Dream. Be. I hope Camillo invites our guests to experience new ways of living and memory making – that it is a true escape in every sense of the word” A huge thank you to you Clare for sharing your time and place with us all. And her signature scent filled with key notes of Valencia Orange, Pink Pepper, Amberwood, Cardamom, Clove Leaf and Vanilla can be experienced in-house when you stay at Camillo House in Victoria.