Building is a chance to translate ideas into reality. Sometime results determine the next step and sometimes the materials available influence the ideas. No matter the results it's usually the process and experience more than the results that provides the motivation. ~unknown


The Treehouse

Without a doubt, our treehouse is our favorite spot to relax and spend time with family and friends. Additions to the treehouse depend on the materials we have available. A lot of times an idea comes from just spending time here and seeing a need. We tried a few different ideas for windows and ended up creating this little bay window that works well as a display shelf and lets in more light than the original small window did.

The entire wall with the window is hinged so the front of the treehouse can be opened up to enjoy the weather and let in extra light. It's also nice to be able to open it up to make more room when several people want to sit inside.

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This front door guy guards the front door and provides a knocker but most times the kids will ring the bell instead, at least the first time but it's pretty loud. The window just left of the door opens up and the counter works as a pass through from inside. Below the window is the pop-out for the little electric heater inside to keep things toasty.

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Deck & Spiral Staircase

A fairly recent addition was the deck so we can sit outside and enjoy the warmer days. The deck is covered on all sides by the trees so it's always in the shade and privacy. There is enough room for 4 or 5 people to be comfortable sitting around the table.

Across from the regular stairs we have a spiral staircase. It's not really obvious in the picture but these were the left over ends of the decking and doubled up were just wide enough to make the treads. It's a bit tricky winding down the stairs but it's easy for the kids and makes another way to get up and down.

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The Build

We started the build with the framing from a fence that was falling down. Most of the structural posts were solid and they became the base platform and cross members. The posts are set in concrete and structural ties and through bolts make up the basic framework. The main set of stairs we wanted to be solid and wide enough for most anyone to navigate comfortably and be able to carry trays and things up and down.

The railings are branches and limbs dropped by windstorms and trimming the trees around the yard. Sometimes a branch will have a really interesting curve and one of them made a nice handrail following the stairs. There have been a lot of changes since the weather and time break down the wood and it's interesting to change the look over time. We've let the tree seeds grow up in certain areas and they are being trained to grow along the rails and posts to make a living railing and slowly are replacing the original material with a living framework.

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The structure of the treehouse is all pressure treated lumber, insulated, and faced with plywood for stability. Inside and out are faced in cedar using fencing material that is pretty inexpensive compared to any other type of cedar and it seems to keep the bugs away, I guess they don't care for it which makes it pretty nice for us. A lot of modifications and additions over time and the natural aging of the wood has changed the look over time but the basic idea of reusing and recycling is still the source and inspiration for the treehouse.

A variation on a hammock, this suspended bed was more complicated to weave than it seemed at first but it turned out to be pretty comfortable and worth the effort. We made one loft bed with the rope weaving and another was solid but it was to uncomfortable and removed so only this one remains. A camping mat and it's ready to relax on.

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Any good treehouse needs a trap door. The front door and the trap door have cables run through pulleys to counter-balance the weight so they don't slam and they are easier to open and close since they are pretty heavy otherwise.

Loft Stairs are one way to get up to the loft bed. This is an older design and the stairs are now directly against the wall with a small bench in the corner for storage.

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The front door from inside. This is an early version of the counter weight That makes it easier to swing the door. the door is made of several layers of plywood covered in cedar so it's pretty heavy. The cable runs through a series of pulleys with a sandbag on the other end so you could close the door from the ground if you don't feel like climbing the stairs.

Another early version, the loft bed is actually pretty comfortable but it's a little tricky to climb the ladder to get to it. Not a bad place to hang out once you get there.

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There are a couple of special dog view windows close to the floor on each side of the treehouse so our westie can keep an eye on the squirrels. She likes to lay on the floor there and just look out the window.

There are some glass paned windows left over from the greenhouse build but for these windows Plexiglas and left over cedar made it possible to experiment with some different shapes and ideas without using regular windows for some areas. These were a bit complicated to build but they turned out pretty nice so they were worth the effort.

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