Designed for his parents, Rose and Max Seidler, Rose Seidler House was Harry Seidler’s first commission in Australia.

Now a museum managed by Sydney Living Museums, the house in its garden setting is an authentic representation of Harry’s early vision for Australian architecture. The furniture and interiors also form one of Australia’s most important mid-century collections of domestic design.

Curator Joanna Nicholas will lead a tour of the house and grounds, and discuss the history of the commission and construction of the building. She will also talk about the life the house created for Harry’s parents, and the challenges and privileges of caring for, and interpreting, this significant and fragile place. This will include stories of working with a property and the collection, which contains items and finishes as diverse as asphalt floor tiles, shelves made from vitrolite, fake-animal-fur bedcovers and steam-bent furniture!

About the building
The ample site on which Rose Seidler House is built, and Seidler’s desire for maximum interplay of interior spaces, resulted in a hollowed-out square plan exposed on all sides, with the north-facing living space and sheltered terrace open to the valley view. Living and sleeping areas are separate, joined by a central family room. Alcove-type bedrooms can be separated off, or made part of the living space, by closing or opening one dividing curtain. ‘Tentacles’ – the stone retaining walls, the ramp leading to the garden (and future pool) and the louvre fence shielding the drying yard – reach out from the rectangular structure and anchor it to the surrounding land.

Design/Completion: 1948–50

Sir John Sulman Medal, RAIA, 1951

Tour leader: Joanna Nicholas, Curator, Eastern Sydney Portfolio, Sydney Living Museums
Joanna Nicholas curates Elizabeth Bay House, Vaucluse House and Rose Seidler House for Sydney Living Museums. While passionate about the conservation of these properties, she is also committed to revealing their histories and identifying new stories about their past inhabitants and collections to share with audiences of all ages. Joanna studied Fine Arts and Museum Studies at the University of Sydney, then worked as a curator for the National Trust of Australia (NSW). She has been at Sydney Living Museums for over 12 years in various roles. She curated the exhibition And So to Bed, on the history of beds and bedding in Australia, at Elizabeth Bay House in 2002.

Additional information                 

  • Photography is permitted
  • The house is not wheelchair accessible
  • No large bags are permitted in the house
  • Participants will be required to remove their shoes before entering the house


Bookings essential

General $40
Concession/Members $35


SUNDAY 16 NOVEMBER 2014 12PM–12.45PM



Exact location to be confirmed at time of booking