Nostalgia and fantasy: A bar and restaurant interior with a sense of fun

Did you have a treehouse growing up? If you didn’t, I bet you wanted one. Built from scraps of timber (with varying levels of expertise), these ramshackle structures were forts, fairytale castles, pirate ships and playgrounds for lucky kids with a suitable climbing tree and tolerant parents.

The owners of Treehouse wanted to bring that imagination and sense of excitement to a grown up space using salvaged and vintage materials. Mandy climbed up to check it out.

Treehouse, North Sydney

Photography and text by Mandy Lamont.

Salvaged building materials and vintage decor used at Treehouse bar and restaurant, North SydneySalvaged building materials and vintage decor used at Treehouse bar and restaurant, North SydneyRecycled building materials and vintage decor used at Treehouse bar and restaurant, North Sydney

On the bustling corner of Miller Street and Pacific Highway in North Sydney, climb the stairs and you’ll find the escape of the Treehouse.

This playful space deliberately avoids conventional styling. Owners, Sally, Graeme and Andrew, wanted it to feel like a treehouse: a collection of pieces from different places brought together with a hint of magic.

Sally spent a lot of time sourcing materials from the Heritage Building Centre in Rockdale or weekly Raffan Kelaher auctions. The result is an eclectic mix of details ranging from vintage gates and gargoyles to a 99 cent piano from ebay.

Salvaged building materials and vintage decor used at Treehouse bar and restaurant, North SydneySalvaged building materials and vintage decor used at Treehouse bar and restaurant, North SydneyTreehouse bar and restaurant, North Sydney

The interior was more sparse when Treehouse opened three and a half years ago but new finds are added regularly. A recent feature is cosy booths with industrial style rope-and-pulley lighting.

Salvaged building materials and vintage decor used at Treehouse bar and restaurant, North SydneySalvaged building materials and vintage decor used at Treehouse bar and restaurant, North SydneySalvaged building materials and vintage decor used at Treehouse bar and restaurant, North SydneySalvaged building materials and vintage decor used at Treehouse bar and restaurant, North Sydney

Recycled features at Treehouse include:

– Old oak doors across the front of the spacious bar
– A wall of salvaged louvres topped with LED lights that change colour like a massive game of tetris
– Antique iron gates leading to the courtyard with vintage mirrors, bird cages, umbrellas and gargoyles adding a touch of ‘through the looking glass’ madness
– Secondhand chandeliers in the main dining room
– Art deco lights over the kitchen and retro lamp shades used upside down on the ceiling
– Colourful clusters of vintage armchairs
– Original hotel-style toilet doors (some with boxes on the back where you used to put your penny) finished with pressed metal inserts instead of glass
– And salvaged school troughs and vintage accessories in the bathrooms.

Treehouse bar and restaurant, North SydneySalvaged building materials and vintage decor used at Treehouse bar and restaurant, North Sydney

Businesses are starting to shake free of mainstream conventions and really have fun with interior styling. At Treehouse the decor and the motto both invite you to ‘come and play’.

60 Miller Street, North Sydney. www.thetreehousehotel.com.au