16 Spectacular Treehouses

Find out how treehouse makers across the country and around the world are building up.
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Photo By: Image courtesy of Joel Allen. Photo by Heidi Hermanski

Photo By: Image courtesy of Joel Allen. Photo by Heidi Hermanski

Photo By: Image courtesy of Joel Allen. Photo by Heidi Hermanski

Photo By: Image courtesy of Greenwood Engineering. Photo by Sean Bagshaw

Photo By: Image courtesy of Greenwood Engineering. Photo by Sean Bagshaw

Photo By: Image courtesy of High Life Treehouses. Photo by Henry Durham

Photo By: Image courtesy of High Life Treehouses. Photo by Henry Durham

Photo By: Image courtesy of Susan LeCraw

Photo By: Image courtesy of Susan Fairbanks LeCraw

Photo By: Image courtesy of Nelson Chan

Photo By: Image courtesy of Nelson Chan

Photo By: Image courtesy of Alexandra Meyn. Photo by Deneka Peniston

Photo By: Image courtesy of Alexandra Meyn. Photo by Deneka Peniston

Photo By: Image courtesy of Alexandra Meyn. Photo by Deneka Peniston

Photo By: Image courtesy Barbara Bourne

Photo By: Image courtesy of Barbara Bourne

Secret Lair

Joel Allen’s treehouse is a secret. The former software developer built his egg-shaped structure, called HemLoft, on government-owned crown land in the woods outside of Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. Truly a labor of love, Allen and his fiancée, Heidi, crafted much of it together using free materials claimed from Craigslist ads.

Built-Ins Add Style Up High

Inside this surreptitious structure in the Canadian woods are the things treehouse dreams are made of. Young designer Joel Allen, who lives here part-time with his fiancée, Heidi, has created an intimate space replete with built-in benches and shelving, meaningful photos and objects, and even a spiral staircase leading to a hinged window for scanning the forest scenery.

This Treehouse Is Decked Out

Deep in the woods at his HemLoft treehouse, carpenter Joel Allen fashioned a sliding-glass door to the deck, where he and fiancée Heidi cook meals with market-fresh ingredients. Nearby, a top-hinged window opens so that they can easily water a “houseplant” on a ledge outside.

A Live-In Oregon Treehouse

Through his Cave Junction, Ore.-based company, Greenwood Engineering, architect Charles Greenwood spent 12 years building treehouses for others. But in 2006, he took some engineering risks by building his own live-in treehouse. Set aloft with the help of some support poles, the studio is fully outfitted for modern life, complete with an east-facing “tea deck” and west-facing “drink deck” that allow him to enjoy the scenery from sunset to sunrise.

Cooktop

The kitchen of designer Charles Greenwood’s personal treehouse is a sophisticated space fully equipped with Corian-like counters, mahogany drawers, custom hardware and a steel range hood. Simple furnishings, a quaint coffee bar and a variety of finishes bring color and life to the wood-clad room.

Round House

North London-based treehouse designer Henry Durham’s firm, High Life Treehouses Ltd. (www.highlifetreehouses.co.uk), is known for rotund buildings with classical architectural hallmarks, enhanced by varied wood tones and lots of detail work. Found throughout Europe, not all of Durham’s treehouses are octagonal or round, but his bespoke beauties, like this Shanty Treehouse, are always ultra-eye-catching.

A Shanty Treehouse

Created by Henry Durham of High Life Treehouses Ltd., this Shanty Treehouse (www.highlifetreehouses.co.uk) has an awesome, lodgey vibe and two levels. Tartan-covered cube ottomans, an antler sconce mounted on a slice of wood and a makeshift fireplace give it that certain coziness. The wood grain on the walls is a tribute to the surrounding trees, while a second-story loft acts as a playful place to escape.

Reclaimed Treehouse

Former Atlantan (and now California girl) Susan Fairbanks LeCraw completed this treehouse a decade ago when she was living in the Southern city. Located close by the governor’s mansion, it perches over a lush fern garden and looks entrancing in all seasons. Constructed entirely of reclaimed materials, approximately 25 windows comprise its walls. A bridge from the main house extends to the space, where an upstairs loft has a king-sized and a downstairs sofa bed extends into a queen for company.

Fanciful Treehouse

Susan Fairbanks LeCraw’s enchanting Atlanta treehouse was decked out dreamily, with pillows and curtains LeCraw made by hand from collected fabrics. Sunlight streams through its numerous windows, shining on tattered rugs, antique quilts, wicker chairs, stained glass, a shabby sofa bed, mosaic tables and a melange of Moroccan lanterns. Enjoyed by children as much as the adults, the fanciful design invites gatherings morning till night, season by season.

Cedar-Shake Treehouse

Photographer, designer, artist, industrial designer and handyman Nelson Chan, of 2Chan Design, has worked on many diverse projects. But the first treehouse he ever designed was this stunner, located in Oakland, Calif. He got the job on referral from fellow builder John Lionheart, and designed it winsomely — that cedar-shake siding and wraparound deck had us at “hello.”

A Treehouse for All Ages

Though it belongs to a proud 6-year-old named Loula, adults still love to hang out in this Oakland, Calif., treehouse, built by treehouse newbie Nelson Chan. Inside, he constructed a built-in bench, skylight and deep windowsills to make the six-by-seven-foot space appear more spacious, while finishing touches like a simple table and chairs for coloring, plus a camping lantern, make it feel like home. Soon, Chan plans to paint clouds onto the ceiling and add built-in storage shelves.

Brooklyn Treehouse

Artist Alexandra Meyn built this treehouse behind her Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, N.Y., home while looking for work in a bad job market, after graduating with a master's in interior design from Pratt Institute. Constructing her space around a mulberry tree, she let the environment dictate what materials were used, while a small budget ($400, all told) forced her to be creative. Salvaged materials were used in abundance.

Straight Out of Brooklyn

The porch of Alexandra Meyn’s Bed-Stuy treehouse is a fabulous hangout spot, decorated with rocking chairs picked up at an estate sale, dangling window frames, radial floorboards, an elegant secondhand table and a light fixture fashioned from antique ice-block tongs. A sturdy ladder leads to the upstairs lounge.

Bed-Stuy Dreaming

Inside artist Alexandra Meyn’s Brooklyn treehouse, her colorful aesthetic takes center stage. This room, used for sleeping, working, reading or ruminating, has a collected look that springs from its collage of fashion illustrations, remnants of Elysian Fields prints, pink floral fabric walls, a vintage coffee table, lace draperies, string lights, candles and copious crafty accents.

Jungle Fever

Inside Costa Rica’s Finca Bellavista sustainable treehouse community is this fabulous residence called El Castillo Mastate. The rounded structure is outfitted with tiger-strand bamboo floors, a sleek platform bed, tiki-style woodwork, a vessel-sink vanity with seashell faucet, and tropical shades of red and green befitting the exotic surroundings. This home is occasionally rented out to lucky visitors.

Treehouse in Paradise

Finca Bellavista in Costa Rica is a lush, 600-acre property of private treehouses connected by bridges and ziplines. Its owners often rent out their spaces nightly or weekly, rendering this residential Shangri-La one of the world’s finest treehouse resorts, as well. Architects from all over the world have built homes here, and with treehouses like the El Castillo Mastate house, their craftsmanship shows.

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