Camille Styles interview: a day in the life of a designer

Camille Styles is a designer and lifestyle expert who has just debuted her first product collection, Casa Zuma. We asked her all about a day in her fascinating life.

Camille Styles interview: What time do you wake up in the morning? 

I’m an early riser and aim to be up in the morning by 6am.

a walnut wood salad bowl designed by Camille Styles filled with salad on a stool
Firstly: Walnut wood salad bowl, Casa Zuma.

What’s your morning routine? Do you have a usual breakfast, a coffee, and/or maybe a ritual or practice such as yoga or meditation?

I started the habit of getting up early to make breakfast and sit with my journal in college. I’ve carried it with me through moving to a different state, starting my career, getting married, and having children.

​​For me, it’s about starting the day being proactive rather than reactive. By intentionally setting aside time in the morning to focus my thoughts for the day ahead, I’m prioritising what’s most important to me. I’m channelling my energy into that, instead of dispersing it among whatever happens to pop up throughout the rest of my day. 

four stone bowls stacked on a wooden stool
Secondly: Canyon stoneware cereal bowl in Granite, Casa Zuma.

Camille Styles interview: a day in the life

Camille Styles interview: We’re sure every day is different, but talk us through a typical day for you.

The morning starts with journaling and coffee, then breakfast with my family in the sunshine. I get outside for some kind of movement—walking, swimming, surfing, hiking. My workday is an outflow of things I love. Writing, collaborating with creative people, designing spaces, planning a retreat, working on a book, or recording a podcast episode. I pour myself fully into each project, without rushing from one thing to the next. There’s time for everything.

In the evening, I put work, my phone, and all the “to-dos” away and fully embrace time for play. There’s hanging out with friends, organising my house, and cooking fresh homemade meals. I end it outside, looking up at the stars.

a white salad plate with food and crockery on it
Thirdly: Canyon stoneware salad plate in Chalk, Casa Zuma.

How would you describe your interiors style?

Light, earthy, and expressive. I always stick with a neutral palette, but add in elements that make the minimalist color scheme anything but boring. I’ve long admired textured walls, including plaster, lime wash, and other finishes that give walls an old-world, patinated texture. I also love mixing different wood tones as a way to add interest to an all-neutral space.

A day in the life of a top American designer

Camille Styles interview: Which three interior design rules do you live by? 

We’ve all fallen victim to one interior design mistake or another at some point. Whether it’s over-styling a small space, jamming light-loving plants in a dark corner, or simply not having a clear vision and aesthetic.

a ceramic vase designed by Camille Styles filled with plants next to a picnic full of food
Fourthly: El Matador simple handmade white ceramic vase, Casa Zuma. So lush.

Some design rules I live by are: 

  • Make sure your full-length drapes break and rest slightly on the floor, even if it’s just an inch. For a more elegant, formal look, they can even pool on the ground.
  • When it comes to furniture, remember this: just because it will fit doesn’t mean you should buy it! Always consider protecting a nice amount of negative space in a room for a more balanced look.
  • Even the most beautiful space looks a bit scary under fluorescent overheads. Always consider both natural and artificial light sources when designing a space. You won’t regret the money you invest in the bulbs and fixtures that give off the most flattering light.

But remember, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to design. Ultimately, your home is a reflection of you and the styles you love, so go with your gut and have fun!

a woman holding a large walnut bowl in her hands
Walnut wood salad bowl, Casa Zuma.

Camille Styles interview: a day in the life

Camille Styles interview: Congratulations on designing your first product line! How did you come to create Casa Zuma? What was the process like?

Casa Zuma’s products align with so many of the ideas we’ve long explored on Learning to be more fully present, surrounding ourselves with things that spark joy, and connecting with the people who matter to us.  

The inspiration came from the slower way of living my husband Adam and I discovered as we began renovating a 1950s beach house across from Zuma Beach. Although our products are designed and sourced from all over the world, Casa Zuma is a brand rooted in a sense of place. This wild beauty of Malibu is our muse. Our materials and colour palettes are inspired by the oak trees and agaves, sandstone cliffs and crashing waves of coastal California.

an oak wood cutting board designed by Camille Styles featuring a bowl of yoghurt, melon slices and a bowl of honey on it
Oak wood cutting board, Casa Zuma. So dreamy.

Through the years, various opportunities have come up to create and sell products. Some were interesting, but none felt quite right. I knew that if I ever put a physical product into the world, it had to be something that really spoke to me. Something that I could concept from start to finish, design myself, and work directly with the makers.

We’ve spent the last year working with artisans around the world to create Casa Zuma’s handmade pieces for your home and your table—and I am truly obsessed with every. single. one. Our core collection is full of the handcrafted, joy-sparking pieces that I’ve long searched for for my own home. Every piece tells a story and gets better with age. Several times a year, we’ll announce limited-edition drops that we’ve collaborated on with artisans we love.

two handblown glasses by Camille Styles which are filled with water
Handblown recycled glasses, Casa Zuma.

A day in the life of a top American designer

Camille Styles interview: Which is your favourite room of your house and why?

If there’s anything the last few years have taught us, it’s that we all need our own safe refuge when the world feels crazy. One where we can breathe easy and enter our own place of comfort, rest, and serenity. For me, this is my bedroom. The neutral colour palette creates a surrounding that feels soft and enveloping, never overpowering.

My bed plays the starring role. My friend, designer Claire Zinnecker, helped me figure out the plan for the custom-design. Then our furniture builders, Petrified Design, used them to create shop drawings. I’m so thrilled with how our bed came together, and it was empowering to bring my vision to life, especially on a big furniture piece like this. 

The bay window area reading nook, super soft rugs, and matte black and neutral finishes all pair perfectly to create a cosy, spa-like environment. 

a stoneware dinner plate with grapes and melon and a knife and spoon on it
Canyon stoneware dinner plate in Granite, Casa Zuma.

Camille Styles interview: a day in the life

Camille Styles interview: What do your evenings involve? Do you have dinner? Who do you spend time with (e.g. family), and what do you do?

Around 5 p.m., Adam and I both power down our computers. The kids are typically getting home from school/camp/sports around the same time. I love using this hour to tidy up the house, hear about everyone’s day, go through the mail, and start dinner prep.

We usually eat sometime between 6pm. and 7pm. A typical weeknight dinner is something simple and satisfying that I can put in the slow cooker in the morning. We used to always eat together, but it’s getting increasingly challenging. The the kids are getting to the age where sports and activities bleed into the evening hours. So we just do our best to have as many family dinners together as possible during the week.

Lately (when it’s not blisteringly hot outside) we’ll go for an after-dinner stroll around the neighbourhood. I really love this time to get in some movement after the workday. 

four walnut wood salad bowls held in a woman's hands
Individual walnut wood salad bowls, Casa Zuma.

Camille’s favourite nightly ritual

My favourite nightly ritual is taking a hot bath while the kids wind down and watch their nightly show. I shut the door to the bathroom, turn off overhead lights, light candles, and put on a face mask. 

Then it’s time to put the kids to bed, which is quite easy and fun now they are old enough to get themselves ready. Phoebe and I do a Duolingo lesson every night together as part of our goal to learn Spanish this year, and Henry and I read a book.

Adam and I usually watch one show together then I do my wind-down routine (below). I usually try to have lights out by 10:30pm.

four sculpted ceramic beige vases by Camille Styles
Las Flores sculptural ceramic vases, Casa Zuma.

Winding down for the evening

Camille Styles interview: How do you wind down for the evening?

Sleep is something I’ve struggled with in the past. I’ve learned (the hard way) that a good night’s sleep is THE #1 most powerful thing we can do for our health. I start my wind-down routine at least an hour before bedtime:

1. Turn my iPhone to “Sleep” mode, which silences calls and texts. If I even look at texts or social media close to bedtime, it makes it impossible for me to go to sleep any time soon.

an oversized grey linen napkin under a plate of food on a table
Oversized linen napkin, Casa Zuma.

2. Make my tea and take my supplements. Right now I’m taking this Best-Rest Formula. It calms my brain and supports a healthy circadian rhythm.

3. Get the room dark by closing my blackout shades and queuing up my eye mask.

4. Turn the air down to 69 degrees. A too-hot temperature is one of the main causes of sleep issues.

5. Get in bed and read until I’m so sleepy I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. Usually, it’s fiction or a good memoir, so I can get lost in a plotline that distracts me from any racing thoughts. 

a stoneware spice jar sugar bowl by Camille Styles filled with salt with a wooden spoon in it
Lastly: Stoneware spice jar sugar bowl, Casa Zuma.

So, did you love this feature? Then you’ll also enjoy our Day in the Life interview with Linda Barker.

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