treehouse feature

Treehouse Project

Recently I was presented with the opportunity to style a beautiful Waterfall Gully home with Interior Designer, Rachel James (Design Love Sustain), for an upcoming new TV show. Aptly named ‘The Treehouse’, it’s being featured on new Channel 10 series, Australia By Design. Hosted by renowned architect, Tim Horton (pictured), the series showcases the best in Australian architecture. 

first pic

The owners, Linda and Tom Cawley, renovated their 70s style Waterfall Gully house with a spectacular cantilevering upstairs extension designed by Brent Dowsett of C4 Architects. The extension received a Commendation for ‘Residential Architecture – Alterations and Additions‘ and is a great example of adaptive reuse and sustainability.

The prospect of their home appearing on TV prompted the owners to give their home an update. With the extension complete, help was needed to style and freshen up the interior. Enter us!


The brief

An affordable update utilising as much of the existing decor as possible. Create a modern retro feel, incorporating autumn tones and natural materials; warm and earthy to suit the original 70s vibe downstairs, bright and minimalist to complement the modern upstairs extension. Oh, and have it ready in 10 days!

In alignment with our values, it was important for us to source and use locally made products to style the home.

Kitchen & Dining

The kitchen, with its raw, earthy features, including a window looking directly out to the natural stone environment, already looked fabulous so not much was needed. The dining area is an open space, doubling as a thoroughfare to the stairs, so it was important to keep this space simple and unobstructed. After some decluttering, we added new artwork to the stone wall, which featured a timber lined niche – so 70s! It was the perfect little spot for a potted string of pearls. 


Framed canvas by Ettie Ink, String of Pearls Potted Plant by Potted Thoughts, Small Wallhanging by Megan Walsh-Cheek: Textile Artist, Menu Grinders from Oscar and Willow.


This room is a classic 70s sunken lounge with timber features and raw textures such as panelled ceilings, exposed beams and a stone feature wall with a fireplace – all working together to create that cosy retro feel. The recently installed oversized windows are a feature of this space, allowing the gorgeous leafy exterior to become part of the room. The owners wanted to keep their existing couch and artwork, so we simply updated the space, adding new accent cushions, potted plants, a unique ‘tree trunk’ coffee table, large bespoke wallhanging and accessories to complete the room.


Large Wallhanging and framed Felt Landscape by Megan Walsh-Cheek: Textile ArtistSling Leather Wood Log Holder and Etoile Fireside Tools from Black Lime, Tall Hessian Stone Pot with Mother-in-laws Tongue and Small Terracotta Pot with Chain of Hearts by Potted Thoughts, Cushions by Bandhini Design House, Chunky Knit Throw and Tree Trunk coffee table from Oscar and Willow, Geo Pear by Ettie Ink.


Part of the upstairs extension, the office features a spectacular everchanging view with plentiful natural light. Already a stunning space, we decluttered, then added beautiful plants and new artwork. Two super cool Dowel Jones chairs from 1k Chairs completed the modern aesthetic of this workspace perfectly.


Grey Pedestal Pot with Donkey’s Tail, Oblong Hessian Pot with Chain of Hearts and Grey Bowl with Trailing Philodendron by Potted Thoughts, Copper Leafed XO and Copper Spots artwork by Ettie Ink, Sacred Space candle by Alchemess, Dowel Jones Full Hurdle chairs from 1000 Chairs.

Master Bedroom

The main room of the upstairs cantilevering extension is the master bedroom, complete with walk in robe and ensuite. The generous floor to ceiling windows capture an enviable 180 degree view to the outside, giving the impression of living in a treehouse. Loads of natural light, along with a diorama of trees, provides an obvious and very beautiful connection with nature. The built in timber storage bench teamed with timber plywood ceilings and fresh white walls makes this a space you could hang out all day! We updated the bedding and cushions while also adding more greenery and artwork.


White Cylinder Pot on wooden stand with Philodendron and Scalloped Edge Terracotta Vase with Rhipsalis by Potted Thoughts, Wallhanging by Megan Walsh-Cheek: Textile Artist, Sacred Space candle and Sacred Space Energy Essence Body Temple Wash by Alchemess, Flower arrangement by Ponder Posy, Chunky bed throw and cushions by Adairs, Monstera and Waiting for the Sun framed artworks by Ettie Ink, Striped Pot by Design Twins, Blue and White Fringe Block Printed cushions by Ruby Star Traders.


For the outside areas we updated the outdoor furniture with simple, new, modern pieces.


Kate and Kate cushions and Harlequin Pot from Oscar and Willow, Tait Volley Chairs and Cane-line On The Move table from Black LimeGrey Pedestal Pot with Donkey’s Tail by Potted Thoughts.

Tune in to watch South Australia’s top 10 architectural statements on Australia By Design this Saturday, 12 August at 3pm on channel 10.

Australia By Design

Thank you to all of our wonderful local suppliers who helped to make it all happen:

Oscar and Willow, Megan Walsh-Cheek, Black Lime, 1000 Chairs, Ruby Star Traders, Bandhini Design House, Ettie Ink, Potted Thoughts, Ponder Posy and Alchem{ess}.

About us

Rachel James is an Adelaide based Interior Designer who has a passion for eco-friendly and sustainable design. Specialising in bathrooms and kitchens, she also consults for Alan Sheppard Constructions.

Rachel and I had already been in discussions about collaborating on interior design and styling projects, so when the ‘Treehouse’ opportunity presented itself, we jumped at the chance to work together.

We both have similar values and were always running our ideas past each other, so it seemed logical to combine our passion for interiors, along with our individual skills and experience in the design industry to work collaboratively on future interior projects. We are excited about the prospect of launching an interior design partnership soon. Stay tuned!


The Treehouse Team: Michelle Fogden and Rachel James, Tom Cawley (owner), Tim Horton (host), Linda Cawley (owner), Brent Dowsett (C4 Architects) and Channel 10 Crew.

Rachel James, Interior Designer @ Design Love Sustain

Michelle Fogden, Artist and Stylist @ Ettie Ink

No Comments

Post a Comment