Welcome to Clarendon Eyre. This unique regional retreat has recently been unveiled by Keep It Cleaner co-founder Steph Claire Smith and photographer turned project manager Josh Miller.

Effortlessly blending farmhouse flair and contemporary comfort with bespoke interior furnishings from DIY Blinds, the duo have created a luxury oasis in the remote Victorian town of Bearii.

Taking up the design brief with Vision Design Studio, they sought to enhance the home’s connection with the unique landscape, pay homage to the historic original structure of the home and introduce contemporary design features such as smart home automation to support their growing family.

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It’s rare to find a home’s history as unique as this rural retreat. Nestled between the New South Wales border and the Murray River, Clarendon Eyre’s life began as two houses – one from Melbourne, the other from Mornington – which were relocated and connected.

The key to connecting these two homes was a bridge that became an expansive formal dining space. Not only does it cater to 18 people but its thoughtful design allows for a seamless connection to the alfresco area. The instant option to expand the room promotes an effortless way to enjoy the outdoors and host with ease.

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Connecting the old and the new elements in the home took some mindful considerations. The intention was to capture the grandeur of the outdoor landscape and to bring this impressive sense in. The use of face fit curtains sitting close to the ceiling worked to complement the expansive windows and charming architraves.

When Steph and Josh took Clarendon Eyre under their wing, the interiors were dark and disconnected. With the expertise of Vision Design Studio, they set out to create a larger, brighter, more open, and family-friendly space. Josh describes the vision, “On this property itself is a five-hole golf course, so it was really important to bring the ‘wow element’ of the outside, inside. We did that by designing a modern take on a farmhouse.” The choice of colours, fabrics and textures work to create an equally captivating interior while also accentuating the beautiful outdoor surroundings.

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Josh and Steph turned to DIY Blinds for quality window furnishings that stylistically honour the period home’s ornate window frames and high ceilings. In choosing face fit curtains and roller blinds throughout the living and bedroom areas, the ornate cornices remain uninterrupted and continue to be a beautiful feature of the home. The black rods add an interesting visual element and offer an enchanting contrast to the furnishings.

“When sitting down with the design team, it was really important to keep the traditional heritage of the home with large architraves and cornices, then complement that with new motorised blinds with full-height sheers,” Josh explains.

With DIY Blinds’ large fabric samples delivered straight to their door, even in the regional location of Bearii, Steph and Josh were able to choose their fabrics and colour combinations with confidence from the comfort of their own home. “There are a lot of Australian natives around here, so we wanted to make sure that all the colours really complemented that. It was ideal for us to find an Australian-owned and Australian-made product,” says Steph.

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With flexibility in mind, Blockout Roller Blinds in Sanctuary Plaster and Sheer Curtains in Laconia Air Swan were the perfect way to take control of privacy and light throughout the home and accommodate any time of year. The 100% linen curtains add softness, an organic texture, and an effortlessly luxe feel to the interiors. “Previously we had really dark block out blinds that didn't let in any natural light, so having the full height sheers was really important to let all the natural light in, but also be nice and soft,” Steph says.

This theme of capturing and controlling the light at different times of the day was key to the different furnishings in each room. The focus was to achieve the right balance between opening up and brightening a space without allowing the sunlight to be too strong or overpowering. The end result was a cosy and intimate living space that works to encourage soft and diffused light in.

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Integrating technology seamlessly into the home adds a touch of luxury to any space, especially those that have a 12-seater home theatre. The automation works to dim the lights and roll down the block out blinds for complete darkness and sound dampening, providing an immersive cinema experience.

A self-confessed gadget aficionado, Josh loved creating the home theatre using Motorised Roller Blinds powered by a Somfy Sonesse WT 40 motor. The Vivid Block fabric and Charcoal/Black colour of these blinds deliberately blend into the walls, paired with Sheer Curtains in Centennial Charcoal that dial up the drama.

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“Inside the cinema we've used the sheer curtains in a charcoal colour around the whole entire wall, besides the screen, like a sound-deadening device, and it's epic!” Josh says. “You hit play on the remote and the blinds go down.”

To ensure the ease of living flowed throughout the home, motorisation was also added to the bedroom and dining room roller blinds, limiting the need to interact with each and every blind throughout the house. “When we leave you say ‘goodbye’ and everything shuts, and say ‘hello’ and it all opens up. It's just easy,” Josh says.
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Josh says the entire renovation of Clarendon Eyre has exceeded his expectations. ‘Overall, we're stoked with how this has all come together,” he says. “It's changed the house to be 10 times better than what it was…We couldn't be happier.”

With the addition of carefully selected blinds and curtains, previously uncomfortable and uninviting rooms are now Steph's favourite areas of the home.

“When I thought of window furnishings, I didn't necessarily think it would make such a big difference to the feeling of a room, but it really has,” she says. “The blinds have just been the perfect finishing touch. They've let in the beautiful light that this property gets without it being too strong and overpowering. It's just so warm — we love it.”

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