Treehouse Designers Guide: Austin Tree Houses
Image courtesy of Austin Treehouse
Rob Soluri's "Kid-catraz" project has five windows that slide open with screens, a door with a window and it can be accessed by climbing the tree to get to the lower deck and stepping up to the main area.
Like many people who make their living building treehouses, Rob Soluri didn't plan to for it to be a career. The president of a custom commercial and residential construction company, Soluri donated a treehouse to a live auction at his son's school and wound up building a treehouse for a local family with an autistic son. "They were thrilled to have a safe place for him to play in his favorite tree," Soluri says. "My crew and I planned and built that first treehouse and a business was born."
In the business since:
$3,500 and up
Most requested design:
"Treehouses aren't like other construction projects; I don't have real designs," Soluri says. "It may sound corny, but if you look at the tree limbs as outstretched arms, you can almost picture the tree happily supporting the structure. I pick a limb to start and it gets built organically."
Collaborative construction. "Most folks would rather get a root canal than pick a builder," Soluri says. "I pride myself on being open and transparent throughout the entire process, working as a partner with my clients to create a sort of building synergy. I like to say that what I'm really building is trust."
At the client's request, Soluri built a completely enclosed treehouse that could only be accessed by climbing the tree, with electricity to power the ceiling fan and video game monitor.
The construction of great things runs in Soluri's family. His father was an engineer and his grandfather was an Italian immigrant and stonemason who worked on the renovation of the White House during the Truman administration and the construction of the Pentagon.