CIMF 2018 Masthead

Designer living rooms open for viewing

Emma Macdonald

Have you ever walked by a house and just ached to get a look inside?

Here’s your chance. As part of the DESIGN Canberra 2016 Festival, a showcase of designer living rooms in some of the city’s most architecturally acclaimed homes will be open to the public.

The free tours will also be complemented by pop-up exhibitions in each home by local artists and craftspeople with an array of works for sale. Chief Executive of CraftACT Rachael Coghlan said the idea of accessing living rooms to celebrate the city’s annual festival of design arose partly out of her own curiosity.

She had spent 20 years walking past a beautiful mid-century home on Dryandra Street in O’Connor wondering what it looked like beyond the front doors.


Rowe House, as it turns out, is a 1961 classic modern heritage-listed design by architect Neville Ward. The cubiform home – in the Post-War International design – is now owned by fellow architects Bruce and Catherine Townsend.

The couple run their own practice out of the house and were happy to come on board the Living Rooms project.

Rowe House is just one of eight homes taking part across the inner north and south over the four Sundays from October 30.

Examples of living rooms will be shown across eco designs, classic, heritage renovations, and contemporary styles.


The open home with a difference will also provide an opportunity for local makers to display and sell a range of designs including ceramics, glassware, homewares, woven materials and jewellery.

Living Rooms is supported by BMW which will supply a car in each home’s driveway that reflects the home’s particular style.

The tours will take place between 10am and 4pm on Sunday 6 November (inner south), Sunday 13 November (inner north), and Sunday 20 November (inner south – repeat).

A schedule of homes and locations can be found here.


Emma Macdonald

Emma Macdonald has been writing about Canberra and its people for more than 20 years, winning numerous awards for her journalism - including a Walkley or two - along the way. Canberra born and bred, she’s fiercely loyal to the city, tribally inner-north, and relieved the rest of the country is finally recognising Canberra’s cool and creative credentials. More about the Author

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