A tree house, a free house,
A secret you and me house,
A high up in the leafy branches
Cozy as can be house.
A street house, a neat house,
Be sure and wipe your feet house
Is not my kind of house at all –
Let’s go live in a tree house.
As much as I’d like to claim credit for that bit of literary brilliance, most people will recognize it as one of Shel Silverstein’s more famous poems. And famous for good reason; apparently, an amazing number of people never get over the allure of living in a treehouse, even as adults. Lest you think this is just another millennial example of arrested development and entitlement, see some of the homes bellow, which were neither designed nor commissioned by the 25-35 set.
Adult treehouses generally have beautiful stairs (rather than peg ladders), large windows, electricity, and indoor plumbing. Many of these are used as rentals or guest houses, but some are primary residences, at least in warm weather seasons. What they lack in storage they make up for in views and romantic ambiance.
This one was displayed in Longwood Gardens, PA, but please do not send me angry emails upon realizing that there are no hobbits in residence. Seriously, not one. (Though people’s expectations of what they think they can find no longer surprise me. You should hear some mothers of single boys.) The architect is Bill Allen of Forever Young Treehouses. When asked why he would expend his architectural degree almost exclusively on treehouses, he says, “Treehouses are like puppies and hot-air balloons. Only mean people don’t like them.”
The pictures above all show the classic type of treehouse, done in a style known as American Gothic. (This style may be best personified by the Berenstain Bears’ home.) But in case you were thinking that the rustic/homey look was the only one available for treehouses, consider this beauty. I could not find out the exact location, but if given the chance I would definitely spend a night up here:
This modern pod in Whistler, British Columbia, was built for private enjoyment by Joel Allen. (The bannister-free stairs may hint at the fact that he intended to keep this space a secret, until people started posting pictures online. Thank you, Internet.) He fabricated this mancave using entirely free materials sourced from Craigslist.
Unfortunately, this tree restauraunt isn’t kosher. What a spectacular sheva brachos could be made here. (Actually, how much of a kosher market is there in New Zealand anyway?)
Modern treehouses have a solid niche market. Baumraum in Germany specializes in these treasures. Why there, of all countries – they who are not exactly known for humor, idealized childhood, or quixotic pursuits? Your guess is as good as mine.
Just this last conceptual one, for the next time you find yourself vacationing in the remote forests of Sweden. The treehouse was designed to blend into its surroundings. It accomplished this goal so well that an infrared material visible only to birds was added to reduce air traffic accidents. This is a particularly clear image, but hikers often miss the mirrored aluminum cube altogether.
Zisi Naimark holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The New York School of Interior Design and has been working for professional design firms since 2012. She lives in Kew Gardens Hills, where she is tolerated by her husband and sons. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.