Inside a Melbourne Family’s Capri Villa

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    Uschi and Danny Schwartz, with their two-½-year-old son Benji, are a Melbourne-based couple who were yearning out for the European sunshine during the cold winter months. Two years ago, they found the perfect Capri-home on the cliffs of the island in the Bay of Naples — complete with glistening Mediterranean views.

    The Schwartz’ had been looking for the perfect sun-soaked villa but didn’t expect to stumble across a favourite while having lunch below the property. “It took our breath away,” says homeowner and designer Uschi. After the first inspection, they realised the villa, perched on a steep decline, needed a complete renovation — perfectly suiting the young family who wanted to impart their own style. 

    The Capri summer home had been formerly part of an Italian politician/property magnate who subdivided his Palazzo and sold off subsections — the Schwartz’ 3,000 sqm property housed the centuries-old stone cistern that had been transformed into a villa in 1974. Facing south, the water-side home overlooks the famous Faraglioni islands and has private access to the sea, the pine forest and limestone cliffs.

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    The water-side home honours views of the Faraglioni, the limestone cliffs, the boats and the Mediterranean Sea —even from the shower.

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    The Schwartz’ added a saltwater pool, constructed in concrete and stone and set into the terraced stone wall, overlooking the bay. 

    The first changes were to open the living space to reflect their breezy informal Australian lifestyle while honouring the Mediterranean environment and surrounding forest. They gutted the interior, only keeping the original external stone walls, added windows and renovated the basement store into a separate apartment. 

    Inspired by the stunning vistas, the young family kept the furniture clean, fresh and natural, to harmoniously blend with the natural surroundings. The three-levelled interior consistently reflects the exterior with natural woven artworks made on the island from Eco Capri and dinnerware by local artisans, Eureka di Pollicino, handmade and painted in Capri. 

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    Local joiners crafted the kitchen with Austrian Oak doors and local limestone benchtops, complemented with Capri artisan dinnerware from Eureka di Pollicino.

    Sourced from Europe, many of the interior features reflect the Schwartz’ travels: clean, white sofas from the Conran Store in London; handwoven ceiling pendants from Tunisia, bought at Mona Market in Le Marais Paris; and Italian Terracotta tiles designed by Patricia Urquiola. But the young family compliments these euro-buys with commissioned paintings from Australian artists Karen Hayman and Marc Schaller.

    Most of the family’s time in the Italian villa is either spent by the saltwater pool or on one of the many terraces overlooking the vistas. The family chose Fermob furniture consistently throughout, adding vintage pops of colour to celebrate the surrounding tonal and textural palette— including the Mediterranean terraced garden they established from the ground up.

    The Schwartz’ have built the perfect summer home, with multi-layered spots for aperitivos, salty siestas, and watching the changing light on the Faraglioni in the warm Capri sun.

    This feature originally appeared in est Magazine issue #37.

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    Spending quality family time on the outdoor Fermob furniture down by the water’s edge is one of the young family’s favourite pastime— bringing a picnic and taking shade under the rustic bamboo pergola; rinsing off in the salty sea after lunch.

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