DESIGN FOCUS: THE TREE HOUSE
The Tree House in Ayr re-opened at the end of last year after a £400,000 transformation by owners Buzzworks. The restaurant, which has been owned by Buzzworks for the last decade, now joins the group’s House brand venues after a slight alteration to its name (it was formerly known as the Treehouse).
The venue, which is situated on a prominent corner site in the Sandgate, now appears bigger, lighter and much airier following the transformation which has seen the restaurant’s design brought into line with its sister venues which include The Mill House and The Corner House – all of which have been designed by Jim Hamilton.
The restaurant’s capacity has increased to 100 covers, with the addition of stylish booth seating and an exclusive private dining area for up to 20 guests situated in an area which was formerly the venue’s bathrooms. They have now been moved through to the back area of the restaurant, on the way to the outside area which is itself currently undergoing a transformation.
The entrance has been reconfigured and instead of coming directly into the restaurant there is now a small gateleg at the door, which takes you to the right and then left into the main bar area.
To the right as you come in there is a feature wall – a wooden framed glass partition which separates the private dining area from the main restaurant. During the day, however, this area is also utilised for diners. It features an exposed stone wall and a black and white tiled floor, a faux fireplace with bric-a-brac on the wall above. This area looks like it has always been there, despite the fact it has just been created.
The bar has now become a feature in its own right – stretching almost the length of the wall, and the wall of the bar is now vertically tiled with Mediterranean-like white and tiles – while the back gantry shelves have all been refreshed and have been back lit with a refreshing neon green light (which no doubt changes colour) with the glass wear suspended on a rack above the marble-topped bar.
Directly opposite the bar there are two large high booths – upholstered in deep red leather and accompanied by dark green upholstered stools – these booths present customers with the perfect opportunity to survey all that is going on at the bar. This area also has a few posing tables. The height difference between this furniture and the tables and chairs in the main restaurant area is quite clever because it gives you the impression that the area beside the bar area is raised, but it is an optical illusion as the whole restaurant is at ground level.
The ‘tree’ feature in the original restaurant has been totally removed and a wall has been also been removed to create an open, spacious dining area. However the foliage element of the original Treehouse has not been completely removed, instead the new Tree House features lots of bird cages suspended from the ceiling decorated with greenery. Inside the smaller cages are battery-operated candles, while two larger feature bird cages are roped with fairylights. The latter hang above the two raised booths.
The main dining area features large glass windows but at its centre there is a large semi-circular booth which has been upholstered in brown leather. This matches the fixed seating along the back wall, but above the booth instead of windows, there is a large statement mirror. Some of the tables have white marble tops, while others are copper and some are wood. The seating is primarily gray and green in colour. The mix of colours is very contemporary as is the mix of finishes on the walls.
Some areas have tongue and groove while the main dining area also features red sandstone exposed brick. The wall to the right of the bar has been covered with vertical wood strips with an uneven surface – the walls to the toilets and outside area have been treated the same way – hanging off the wall beside the bar are various plant pots with more greenery.
However to the left of the bar the wall is tongue and groove and this has been painted a matt black and here framed pictures of black and white foliage give a completely different look. This wall is separated from the open kitchen by a mirrored wooden framed partition which reflects the light which streams through the windows.
The whole refurbishment has been done to a very high standard with Transition Interiors the main contractor on the job with Stevensons of Ayr the upholsters kings Murray Timber was responsible for the distressed white oiled oak flooring which has a ladder effect that stretches throughout the main dining and bar area.
Says Buzzworks Chief Colin Blair, “We wanted to give Ayr town centre and the local community a venue to enjoy and be proud of and all of our changes have been made with our customers in mind.”
Certainly the new contemporary design seems to be going down a storm. We visited on a Tuesday morning and the place quickly filled up with diners of all ages. The atmosphere was lovely and the service first class. Once again Buzzworks have created an establishment that wouldn’t look out of place in any town or city in the land.
Next on the agenda (next month) there will be a bar alongside The Tree House. Watch this space.