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Image credit: Barbara ButlerBeautiful, Durable Play Structures for KidsI used to think that treehouses were just for kids.
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But then I started writing for TreeHugger and was exposed to beautiful, elegant, grown-up versions like the New Zealand Yellow Pages' Treehouse Restaurant, or this more controversial 'invisible' mirrored treehouse in Sweden. But not only kids, grown people can also spend time relaxing and enjoying in the garden in a beautiful tree house. While your childhood was filled with sand box castles, hopscotch, wooded trails and inspecting bugs through the lens of a magnifying glass, children of the 21st century are more concerned with video games and chatting with friends over the internet. MYOO Online Editor Tana Wojcjuk turns her gaze skywards to those houses nestled in the trees, and to the experts devoting their lives to making them into fine architectural art.My childhood notebooks are full of treehouse designs, whose shelves were characteristically full of books.
If you’re struggling to get your kids out of the house and offer them a more enriching childhood experience, consider building a tree house.Treehouse in Djuren, GermanyTree house by the lake1) A tree house does not have to be a mansion in the sky – nor does it have to be a few pieces of ply board nailed to an old oak. Barbara Butler has been building treehouses since 1987 - offering custom built treehouses and play structures that allow kids to get out and experience nature.
One of these hideouts was so crowded with volumes that it only had room for a rolling chair (in retrospect not the best idea in a treehouse) that could lazily scoot between bookshelf, mini-fridge and window. There are many tree house designs for almost any yard space and budget, and they all offer kids the chance to make lasting memories.2) One thing that all tree houses need is a sturdy ladder or staircase. Some tree house builders have chosen to affix small outdoor spiral staircases to their houses while others have created a rudimentary step latter by securing several thick pieces of wood to the trunk of a tree. As one might expect with a client list that includes celebrities like Robert Redford, Will Smith, Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates, the structures are not cheap (prices seem to start at around $10,000) - but these things look like they are built to last. Whatever you choose, remember that it needs to be durable enough to support kids of all ages and sizes – even adults.3) Next, remember that you do not want to inhibit the growth of the tree. And Barbara's folks tell us that they are built with the environment firmly in mind:"Barbara Butler structures are made from reusable, sustainable, biodegradablenatural redwood lumber and treated with non-toxic stain.
A large tree house fasted to one singular tree may be too much weight for the tree to bear. Instead, consider putting the main supports into the ground and building the house around the tree. Smith’s futuristic houses included an aerie for Owl, complete with telescope to view the stars and a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired house for a worm that curved around the interior of a pear.For some, these dreams fade with adulthood, though I would argue that they never really leave us. This way the house won’t stop the tree from growing.4) Lastly, add in a few special characteristics to your child’s tree house to help spur their imagination, such as a boat’s helm, a secret peep hole or a telescope for starry summer evenings.

By giving them their own special forest hideaway, it will not only be easier to get them outside – it will be almost impossible to get them to come back in! Barbara herself added this to the conversation:"We use and recommend "Rubberific" mulch as the surfacing around our playstructures.
It's made from recycled tires and it's a fantastic product: kids really do bounce off of it!
Pete is an anomaly among builders, as the co-founder of Treehouse, Inc he not only builds world-class treehouses for others, but has created The Treehouse Workshop to teach others how to make their childhood dreams come true. We recycle our products: we help clients sell or donate to charity their play structures when they move or when their kids grow up. We bring the structures back to our shop, completely refurbish them and then deliver the "almost new" structure to its new home.While we don't start with recycled lumber, all our construction methods are geared to building a play structure that is long-lasting, repairable, and renewable so that they can endure for generations with very little care. His structures eventually became complex, beautifully designed shelters for adults.When Pete meets with a potential treehouse client he asks what the intended purpose of the structure is, not only for practical reasons but because even after building hundreds of high-flying houses he’s curious about the urge to take to the trees:“I ask, what's it being used for? She just turned 16 and she wanted to give the playhouse to a family who might not be able to afford one.
We partnered with Lauren and her family to refurbish the playhouse at no charge: we brought it back to our shop, cleaned and repaired it and then Lauren and her mom Ellen worked for several days with our staining crew to re-stain the structure and get it ready for delivery. Through the Bay Area chapter of Rebuilding Together, we found a family that takes in fosterchildren to give the playhouse to. Some are used every day, but the vast majority revolve around places to relax, get away, sleep. His custom houses can be intricate, but he emphasizes that we’re drawn to these houses as children because they lift us above mundane adult concerns—and it doesn’t take a fancy treehouse to do that.
No wonder so many are used for making art.In childhood, treehouses hold sway over the imagination.
Specific hardware is required so as not to cut off the tree’s circulation, and some simple tests need to be done to make sure the tree is not rootless or diseased.
If one tree moves more than another, or if the platform stays put while the trees want to whip about the house will be torn limb from limb.Pete and his team build several treehouses each year, and the Workshop gives usually two classes per year (around 5 days per class). But there are many more aspiring tree-dwellers than Pete could accommodate in a class, or who have their own builder-skills but have trouble sourcing the necessary tools.
For these, Pete has started Nelson Treehouse and Supply, launching in November to supply DIY-ers who dream of their own eagle’s nest.
It will provide hardware, plans for a variety of treehouses, expert tips on working with your tree, building a platform, raising walls and roofs, everything but mail you a lincoln-log kit to make a treehouse like the Sears and Roebuck catalog used to do. The original treehouses were of course not houses at all, but the natural refuge of a species with no fangs, fur or claws to protect them.

It is the same reason we don’t like to move from a light room into a dark hallway, we are visible to possible predators and yet can’t see what might be lurking there.This need for protection never fully passed out of us. He believed that architecture should work in harmony with the land around it, rather than manhandling the land for the sake of the structure.
It’s harder to work in a wet environment like Seattle, but their California houses were like treehouses—wide open with great big overhangs. They always sided them beautifully with what was there.”The Greene brothers’ Gamble House in Pasadena, CA.
The house feels lighter than some Wright houses, being built in a more temperate climate than Wright’s Chicago homes. Broad doors and banks of windows let in sunlight and breezes, and the architects have given a nod to their principle material in friezes and stained glass pictures of trees, trees, trees. Even the stairs feel like a series of overlapping branches.“Treehouses are the ultimate in terms of letting nature in,” Pete says.
In urban areas, there's some danger of the ground having been reworked, you can bury the roots of the tree and really suffocate them. I`d love the idea to wonder these creations at the neighbourhoods in Toronto where I`m living. If there's no flare there’s a chance it was backfilled or earthwork buried the roots a little deep. Are there any dangers to look out for in selecting a tree?Trees often shed lower branches as they get taller. Where they have shed lower branches there will be cavities, where you should avoid building. Simple, functional, cheap, open to the sun in winter yet providing a fantastic shadow during summer.
Pines can be a bit sensitive, but there are so many kinds of pine that I’d hate to rule them out. You can even build a treehouse in apple tree in your own backyard.Tana Wojczuk is a cultural critic and the Online Editor of MYOO.

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Author: admin | 23.02.2014 | Category: Simple Shed Plans

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