Treehouse Interior Design Ideas
Image courtesy of Rockefeller Partners. Photo by Eric Staudenmaier
Inside Rockefeller Partners Architects’ Brentwood Hills treehouse, a water closet, daybed and display shelves make it especially inviting. Angled steel support columns recall tree trunks. And for all of its more contemporary touches—from the drop-pendant chandelier to the modern fireplace—an abundance of wood still makes the space feel like a classic. Floors are solid walnut; ceilings, eaves and decks are ipe wood; and floor-to-ceiling mahogany windows and doors showcase views to the canyon beyond.
Thinking of building the treehouse of your dreams? Don’t let interior design fall by the wayside! We’ve found more than a dozen treehouse designers who made their marks indoors.
After spending nearly 12 years designing treehouses for others, Oregon-based engineer Charles Greenwood decided to try some of the far-fetched ideas he’d been mulling around in his brain. What he wanted for himself was not just an arboreal retreat, but a place to live year-round. His diminutive domicile needed to be fully outfitted for modern life. The best way to meld modern conveniences in an outdoor escape? To remember the trees, of course. “Since treehouses must be able to move and flex, several typical interior finish products, such as sheet rock, could not be used,” he explains. “Therefore, I used maple-ply paneling and commercial wainscot; neither of which are thick enough to prevent flexing.” A working kitchen, coffee bar and dining nook are just a few extras he added on to the engineered structure, all of which kept it feeling ultra-luxe. Greenwood also believes in extending communion with nature, so he added two sun porches—one for morning and one for evening light. Brilliant!
Rebel architect Joel Allen took a more practical tack when he built his infamous egg-shaped “HemLoft” treehouse in government-owned woods outside of Whistler, British Columbia. At just 200 square feet, it still lives large, thanks to fully integrated shelves, benches, even a desk. Talk about interior innovations!
Carbondale, Colorado’s Green Line Architects, on the other hand, had a little more room to play with their take on the treehouse. The folksy structure may not be as compact and practical as the HemLoft, but it is pure fun. A retreat built for naturalists Branden Cohen and Deva Shantay and their kids, the Crystal River Treehouse is a beautiful spot for a staycation. A wood stove and compost toilet may qualify a stay here as “roughing it,” but spread out a floor mattress and toss in a few bean bags, as this group did, and you’ve got the ultimate “kumbaya” hangout. Want your treehouse interiors to have a turnkey decorative touch? See if your builder can create furniture to match the aesthetic du jour. That’s what Steven A. Novy, David Rasmussen and Robyn Scott did when they spruced up the Crystal River Treehouse at a later date—yielding practicality and panache in one!
For some treehouse builders, the trees reign supreme. Just take a cue from Oakland, California carpenter Nelson Chan, who recently ventured into treehouse territory by constructing a marvelously minimalist house for a miniature homeowner. “The tree has a lot to say about [design],” he affirms. “Unlike a clear space where there are no obstructions, you’re dealing with branches and limbs, so being creative and thinking outside the box is crucial.” The space he devised is accommodating to adults, but has only the essentials 6-year-old Loula could need. Branches pierce its floor and exit through the walls and ceiling, while most interior details are extensions of the construction itself—built-in benches, shelves and skylights. A simple table and chairs are all the extras you need need when building on this philosophy—a tenet of simplicity that also governs countless firms around the world, from Vermont’s The Treehouse Guys to North London’s High Life Treehouses Ltd., whose work you’ll also see here. One thing’s for certain: Whether you like your treehouses whimsical, functional or austere, we’ve got a range of interiors that run the gamut. Flip through our gallery to discover the entire style spectrum.