Bluey's Treehouse Preschool Care & Learning [DRAFT]

Image Credit : Sally Mayman Turtle Pictures www.turtlepictures.com.au M: 0415 927 218



Project Overview

Bluey’s Treehouse is a purpose built early learning centre, inspired by the classic Australian Coastal home. Unlike the average child care centre, each room has natural, homely touches which include recycled timber, wool carpets, organic sheets, vintage collectibles, Porters wallpapers and painted feature walls. The result is a warm, nurturing environment which stimulates friendship, play and learning.

The warmth of the inside was extended to the outside play area, which includes a “treehouse”, wooden dining settings and old fashioned swing chair.

It is the little details at Bluey’s such as the original treehouse painting in the foyer, the heritage style room signs and the emphasis on Australian memorabilia that make this project so outstanding. Like in a wonderful home, there is something to capture your interest and imagination in every part of this space.
As soon as you step into Bluey’s, past the ship’s bell and through the main entrance with a hand carved door knob, you feel like you are stepping into an “enchanted home”. In fact the Educators are thrilled to be working at Bluey’s which comes with their own staff/living room and the parents dropping off their children find it hard to leave.

Project Commissioner

Bluey's Treehouse

Project Creator

Seaside Creative Interiors


Bluey's Treehouse
Scott Dalton
David Forrest
Linda Calabrese

Ingrid Kwong
ingK Design

Katie Breden
Berry Jam Marketing Partners

Project Brief

Bluey’s needed to be a centre where staff loved to work, kids loved to be and parents felt minimal, if any anxiety in leaving their children.

With the opportunity to build a new early childhood centre from scratch our Client decided to throw away the standard rule book and look at it from another perspective. They had a clear vision of building an early childhood centre that looked and felt more like an enchanting home than a bright, plastic commercial kids place.

The brief called for the well- known “Rose House” in Palm Beach to be used as a starting point. With that in mind the design combined a palette of neutral tones, natural fibres and finishes, with interesting details that added character and the tactile nature of a home scattered throughout. The design allowed for the children themselves to bring the colour.

The project brief specifically called for a space that:
- Fulfils all government regulations
- Looks like a home, not a commercial space
- Promotes playfulness, creativity, friendship, learning
- Functionally works for teachers and children
- Generates an emotional connection
- Reflects the local environment
- Minimises the “guilt and anxiety” parents naturally feel.

Project Innovation/Need

In order to achieve our overall goal of building a centre where staff and kids loved to be and parents felt minimal anxiety, we had to look at our design and product selection from a new perspective.

For the parents we sourced nostalgic memorabilia that they themselves would have seen in their parents and grandparents home. This included old suitcases, hard cover nursery rhyme books and pre- loved sporting equipment such as bats, balls, fishing nets and oars.

We planned to captivate the children with the blend of traditional toys like the old fashioned water pump, outside blackboard combined with a state of the art white board and music system. All in a warm, comfortable setting that has chairs, rugs, pictures and wicker storage like a home.

With the shortage of staff in the early childhood industry looking after this group was a priority for our Client. Their space was designed as an adult room where they could relax, escape and refresh. The Bluey’s staff/living room has not just an Italian coffee maker, but an Ipad bay, charge centre, lounge chairs, and tv, topped off with a custom printed blind with an early morning beach scene.

Design Challenge

The design challenge in this project came from creating a highly functional commercial working space, while feeling at every point you are in a warm, comfortable, residential environment.

Every selection from skirting boards to reading chairs and bed linen, we had to ask ourselves four questions.
1. Is this what you would see in our “Rose Cottage” home, or a classic Australian beach house?
2. Does this comply with government regulations?
3. Will our Educators be able to work with this?
4. Will this survive the wear and tear of an 85 children capacity Early Childhood Centre?

It added to the complexity of the project, but we needed to step away from traditional preschool suppliers and liaise with more residential wholesalers. To enhance the functionality and sense of belonging, each activity room had its’ own Australian theme. From there a wallpaper, signature “reading chair” and relevant accessories were sourced.
Nippers – Nautical: recycled oars, nets, striped wallpaper, history of the “Duke”
Butterfly – Nature: Featherstone “butterfly” chair, 1945 Pixie O’Harris illustrations
Brumbies – Outback: stock whip, drover’s hat, Banjo Patterson poems
Bilbies – Nursery Rhymes: antique nursery rhymes framed, playful monkey wallpaper
Joeys Room – Lullabies: ballet slippers, ballerina mirror, 18th century replica cots


Sustainable choices were often the best alternative to reach our goals. The added benefit is the selections we made might be slightly more expensive in the short term than less sustainable products, but will certainly last longer and have a lot more character.

In deciding to choose more sustainable products for Bluey’s interiors we also knew we were making the best choice for our children. With respect to their health and comfort we know that natural fibres and sustainable alternatives are the best option.

Our selection of sustainable products for Bluey’s Treehouse included:
Organic linen for all the children from Gather Kids
100% woollen rugs from Max Lawson
New Zealand pine Baxter cots handmade to replicate 18th century European design
Australian hardwood used in outdoor kids tables
Ecoya timber signs and enchanting door knob created by local artisans
Recycled timber storage units made locally
Nostalgic Accessories: dozens of thoughtfully selected second hand items from many Antique and Vintage specialists that include - books, toys, bats, balls, fishing reels, oars, ballet slippers, ship’s bell, suitcases .....
100% wicker baskets used for storage in each Activity Room
Australian Made: Porters wallpapers, organic linen, kids activity tables, toys
100% Cotton canvas cushions.

This award celebrates innovative and creative building interiors with consideration given to space creation and planning, furnishings, finishes and aesthetic presentation. Consideration also given to space allocation, traffic flow, building services, lighting, fixtures, flooring, colours, furnishings and surface finishes.
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