Image Left: Australia Square designed by Harry Seidler

Image Right: Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Today I started my training as a volunteer guide for the Australian Architecture Association. I joined my group at the Customs House building at Circular Quay and despite inclement weather, was really looking forward to the following two hours.

We visited ten buildings, including several by architect, Harry Seidler and I looked at Sydney in a completely different way from the way I have done before; usually not looking up! Many of the buildings I was familiar with (QANTAS, GPO, Australia Square, Conservatorium of Music) but many I had never really “seen” before, which is amazing considering I’ve lived in Sydney for three decades (not consecutively)!

Uncovering some of Sydney’s history was a fascinating look into this city’s beginnings and although I’d heard of the “tank stream” wasn’t really sure what, or where, it was. Now I know!

I hadn’t even been inside the renovated GPO Building – and that work was carried out in the 1990s. How could that be? I just don’t go into the city that often to be honest, or if I do it’s not for a casual walk around; rather it’s to go to a specific destination.

I have now discovered places that I’ll be going back to and hopefully, taking friends and visitors to.

Left: the City Mutual Life Building is a beautiful example of Art Deco – my favourite period style.

Right: QANTAS House. Designed by Rudder, Littlemore & Rudder and completed in 1957, this is a classic early example of a curtain wall design that still takes the breath away. Photograph by Michael Miller.

One tour I am looking forward to is the Bar Tour! Discovering some of the City’s watering holes will be most enlightening I’m sure and I hear that the tour of Justin Hemmes’ Ivy is not to be missed.

During the summer the AAA runs Twilight Tours. On a balmy Sydney evening that would be a fabulous experience followed by dinner or drinks in one of the many fine establishments that make Sydney such a popular destination with both locals and visitors.

I do hope you take the time to enjoy one of these tours and discover a side of Sydney you may never have seen before; you might even join me on one.

For more information:


On the weekend I was on Hamilton Island enjoying not only viewing the latest addition to the Island’s architecure but also many of the festivities including the Yacht Club official opening, the Audi Hamilton Island Yacht Race and the Collette Dinnigan fashion parade.

Among those enjoying the festivities on Hamilton Island were the Queensland Premier, the Hon. Anna Bligh who opened the Yacht Club and Kerrie-Anne Kennelly who was with her husband John celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. Kerrie looking gorgeous in her colourful full length dress.

Ben -“the best job in the world” Southall was in fine form as were Commodore of the Club, famed yachtsman Iain Murray and Hamilton Island owner, Sandy Oatley.

Collette Dinnigan celebrated the launch of her Resort Collection 2010 “Santorini Sands” with friends and members of the press, while Island Group Public Relations Manager, Jill Collins ensured everything went smoothly; seen here with journalist Ute and Ian Oatley.

And here’s me at the Collette Dinnigan fashion show with one of the new Audi A5 Cabriolets that was on the Island for the celebrations.


Yes, sometimes I do manage to leave my desk! This weekend I was privileged to have been invited to Hamilton Island, courtesy of the new owners, the Oatley Family to view the Islands stunning new yacht club and villas.

Designed by renowned Australian architect, Walter Bada and with landscaping by celebrity designer, Jamie Durie, the villas were designed to offer a unique lifestyle for either owner-occupiers or those holiday-makers wishing to experience all that Hamilton Island has to offer.

The design of the villas has captured the essence of tropical living with a look of understated elegance and to take advantage of the amazing views and prevailing breezes. Interior finishes include natural timbers – rough-sawn and dressed, muted Australian tones of khaki and coffee which is central to the overall ambience.

The architect reflected that inspiration for the design came from drawing on thematic elements in the local environment which includes marine and bird life, shells and petals. Once the vegetation matures, each villa will enjoy privacy from lush landscaping that will blend with the natural surroundings.

Those fortunate enough to own one of these villas will gain Founding Membership to the Hamilton Island Yacht Club with privileged access to all the facilities including a private members’ level and members’ health club.

The yacht club was officially opened on Friday night by Queensland Premier, the Hon. Anna Bligh, at a star-studded event and fireworks display.

On Saturday I visited the new Golf course and Club on neighbouring Dent Island, followed by a tour of the villas and yacht club where I was among a select few who had the opportunity to be escorted through the development with the architect. On Saturday night Collette Dinnigan presented her 2010 Resort Collection “Santorini Sands” alongside the beautiful pool at Qualia, where I was privileged to stay while on the Island.

Sunday was the commencement of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week and we viewed the start of the race aboard Audi’s Ghost Boat, which provided a unique opportunity to experience close-up the excitement and learn more about this exciting sport from our hosts.

You will see more of the Hamilton Island experience in the January/February issue of Australian Home Design.


Here are a few photos taken tonight at Designer Rugs’ Sydney showroom where they launched Greg Natale’s New Regency collection of rugs.

In this economy, it’s a brave company that not only brings out a new range but also puts on a great party for the City’s designers. It was good to see so many out there giving support.

You might recognise a few faces from TV too!




I adore these new rugs designs, created for Designer Rugs by interior designer Greg Natale. Greg came on to the design scene in 2001 and his work has been featured in several of our magazines including Luxury Home Design and Contemporary Home Design. I love Greg’s work; the combination of modern with classics and the ease with which he seems to pull everything together. No wonder he has won many design awards.

Greg’s rug designs are contemporary but they will work with both modern and classic schemes. The gorgeous photos here were taken by Anson Smart and I think you’ll agree that they evoke a feeling of elegance and sophistication, for which Greg’s work is renowned.


The Evolution, designed by Ferruccio Lavani for Emmemobili, is a unique masterpiece, which is characterized by the combination of classic and modern designs hand-carved in solid oak with the essentiality of contemporary style.

Enriched by handles in burnished brass it is available in both natural or tinted oak.



If you love architecture and would like to see and learn more about Sydney’s most oustanding public and private buildings, escorted by knowledgeable guides and often with the architects who designed them, join the Australian Architecture Association (AAA)or become a regular on one of its many tours.

The AAA was formed to broaden the promotion of Australian contemporary architecture to as many people as possible, leading to a greater understanding of the value of good contemporary architecture to society and a growth in the culture of architecture.

My love of architecture and design is well known to my friends and colleagues and as a professional interior designer myself, it has always been my mission to promote an awareness of Australian and international architecture and design to the wider community to demonstrate the meaningful way it can impact on our lives.

I have been a member of the AAA since it’s inception five years ago and have now joined its latest intake of trainee volunteer tour leaders. Over the next six months, I will undertake training which will include mentoring by an experienced tour leader, attending many of the walks as well as the workshops which will give me the knowledge to eventually lead tours.

I am really excited about having this opportunity to share my passion with others and I know that I am about to embark on a wonderful journey of discovery. I hope that one day you will join me on one of my walks!

The AAA is a not for profit organisation, which was formed by a number of Australia’s leading architects. For more information and to join the tours, visit


Three years ago I organised and escorted a tour for architects and design industry professionals to Italy and it was an experience I will never forget. Our tour guides, Isabella and Luigi Dusi, reside permanently in Italy and their knowledge of Italy’s architecture, design, culture, food and wine is vast, making their tours sought-after by visitors from all around the world.

We visited the Milan and Lake Como regions where we experienced work-in-progress, historical sites, factories, showrooms, La Scala Opera House, galleries and museums. On to Florence we stayed in a beautiful Villa and visited the amazing Carrara marble mountains (not for the faint hearted!), historical sites, restorations, galleries, showrooms, textile mills and from there via Eurostar to Venice – I loved Venice! – the Murano glass factories, Fortuny mill and gardens, Opera House and the boat trip out to the Junghens were memorable as was our visit to Vicenza where we experienced Palladio’s architecture in all it’s magnificence guided by professor of history from the University of Milan.

I’ve been asked if I would undertake this tour again and of course, I would! I am now preparing for September/October 2010. If you are an architect, interior designer, builder or developer, specifier, student or other design industry professional and would like to join me, email me at and I’ll be delighted to provide you with more information.

Daring, for once, to look beyond that day …… I dragged myself up the highest mountain and gazed across the first luscious vineyards and silvery olive groves spread across near hills and far away valleys ….. scrambling down a rocky goat track I stumbled upon an isolated shrine ….. a sweet Madonna of benign simplicity smiling into eternal silence. This is Italy, the one I came to find. – Isabella Dusi…


On the eve of the Emissions Trading Scheme being voted upon in the Senate, here is a
rare opportunity to hear the latest climate updates as delivered to the Senators in
Canberra earlier that day.
On Wednesday 12th August, Sydney residents are invited to an address by Dr Jay Lehr,
Science Director of the US Heartland Institute, and Professor Bob Carter, Science Adviser to the Australian Climate Science Coalition (ACSC) and one of Australia’s most experienced environmental scientists.
The Emissions Trading Scheme bill is the most important taxation and wealth transfer
legislation to go before the parliament in decades and yet the consequences of the
legislation are poorly understood.
This is Sydney’s opportunity to find out more about the scheme and how it will affect each and every Australian.
Hosted by the ACSC, the climate update for Sydney residents will begin with an address by Dr Lehr, economist, environmental scientist and one of the United States’ most respected commentators. Dr Lehr will outline the state of the global warming debate as well as the political and economic implications of the proposed US
scheme to tax carbon dioxide.
Dr Lehr’s enlightening insights will be followed by Professor Bob Carter, Research Professor at James Cook University in Queensland, who will address the audience on the science relevant to the global warming debate. Professor Carter will debate that there is no evidence to link man-made carbon dioxide emissions with global warming and that the science indicates that natural climate change, both warming and cooling, is the real threat that we face.
“A rational, strategic and scientifically backed national climate policy of preparation and adaptation is needed to deal with this threat, and the same policy will cope easily with any human-caused change that might, or might not, manifest itself in the future, said Professor Carter.
“An emissions trading system has no place in a proper national climate policy. Indeed, by deliberately increasing the price and instability of Australia’s power system, an ETS will act to hurt individuals, companies, the national economy and the environment alike,” continued Professor Carter.
Professor Carter is a former Chairman of the Australia Research Council’s funding panel for Geological Science and of the National Marine Science and Technologies Grants Scheme. He has also served as Director of the Australian Secretariat for the Ocean Drilling Program, which is the world’s premier international collaborative research program in environmental and geological science.
Certain to be highly informative and controversial, the ACSC climate update will take place on Wednesday 12th August from 6pm – 8pm at Rydges World Square,
389 Pitt Street, Sydney. Bookings are essential as spaces are strictly limited.
To reserve a place contact Katy Denis via email:
or call 0414 388 879.

About the Australian Climate Science Coalition (ACSC):
The Australian Climate Science Coalition is an affiliate of the International Climate Science Coalition and was formed by a group of scientists and professional
people interested in encouraging continued scientific research into the world’s climate and in particular into the effects of increased concentrations of carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere. The mission of the ACSC is to promote open scientific debate on the causes of climate change. ACSC is an apolitical, not for profit,
science advisory group. For more information about the ACSC, visit