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Tree House

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When I was a nipper my brother and I had a tree house nestling in between some ash trees. It wasn’t large but it was exciting – our own home high in the foliage. A bit like this, I’m sure you’ll know the type.

I suppose we were inspired by the Ewoks. Fast forward a good twenty years and we live in ‘respectable’ houses. But what if we could live in houses like these guys…?

German company Baumraum  makes specially tailored tree houses to specific requirements of the potential customer. A far cry from the hastily knocked together wooden planks most kids are used to. These will set you back up to £100k and come with features like iPod docks, heating and plumbing.

Not to be outdone, British company Blue Forest also aims for the high end market and comes out with gorgeous designs like these:

All countries are seemingly after the upper class tree house market. Take French company La Cabane Perchée  Designed by Daniel Dafour and needing a rather tall ladder. Sticking with an environmental theme, these buildings often come with solar panels for green power.

Wanting something a little more rustic and down to earth? Well, not literally down to earth of course. This one is set among a mature stand including Scots Pine and comes with a hint of luxury but nothing too fancy.

One of my favourite designs comes from architect Tom Chudleigh who created the Free Spirit Spheres. These wonderful cedar constructions have an eerie otherworldly look to them.

Oriental lanterns such as those traditional Chinese and Japanese affairs inspired Lukasz Kos to design this stunning structure with the dramatic use of light. Attached to four mature trees he calls it  the 4TreeHouse.

But homes are for living in, not just to be design spectacles. The Wilkinson residence in Portland, Oregon took 7 years to build and is my kind of tree house. Robert Oshatz, the architect, says ‘A lover of music, the client wanted a house that not only became part of the natural landscape but also addressed the flow of music.’ Well, I’m not sure about all that but it sure looks good.

Is this a shed high in the air? With a dizzying spiral staircase this arboreal house harks back to a more traditional idea of the tree house. Where is the electric shower, this is what i want to know?

So far I’ve always thought of tree houses having to be made of wood; it just seems right doesn’t it? Well, Andreas Wenning of Baumraum fame has kept wood for decorative interior panelling and left the exterior structure of this Jawa Sandcrawler lookalike to be made of weathered steel.

And I couldn’t finish without including this sculptural beauty found in Japan. Outstanding.

Talk about cheap bathrooms, all those leaves give me an idea. Anyway i’m off to collect some branches and build myself a home, cheaper than rent in London.

The Joshua Tree Boulder House proves imagination is still alive and well. Every inch of this 1700 square foot, 2-bed / 2-bath home is intentional, and every design element is deliberate. This magical creation sits on 2.5 acres in Joshua Tree, California. The house is the brainchild of W. Garett Carlson, ASLA, a licensed landscape architect for more than 30 years.  His landscape designs grace Hollywood’s recently remodelled Sunset Marquis Hotel, as well as the gardens of celebrities such as Jack Nicholson, Goldie Hawn, Johnny Depp, Blake Edwards, and more.  The house was built with sustainability in mind, using an intriguing palette of metal, wood, concrete and glass to create a peaceful modern living space where traditional boundaries are dismissed.  Ten-foot high, custom-made floor-to-ceiling pocket glass doors open to create a 40 feet wide expanse that connects the living area to the landscape.  A fire pit to one side of the patio, and a water feature on the other side are both set within boulders to further enhance the experience.  This is indoor/outdoor living at its best.

Exterior

The roof of the house provides insulation in a novel way: up to 18” of soil covers the sloping roof, planted with a wide variety of native California wild flowers and grasses. Seen from above, the roof appears to be a part of its desert landscape. Structural steel I-beams support the 250,000 lb load, designed to withstand a 10-point earthquake. The roof has a 3’ pitch: 11’ on the east side, which also creates the space for the wall to wall 10’ sliding glass doors – down to 8’ on the west side. The pitch also allows the roof garden to drain.
Corrugated steel siding on the house and the garage is the highest gauge and quality available.

Interior

Inside,the floor’s surface was ground smooth , then sprayed with dyes to create a natural-looking surface. The floor was then polished and waxed to create a rich patina. The ceiling is tongue and groove Douglas fir, with several layers of dark stain and varnish to create a deep shine that subtly reflects the finish of the floor.
The kitchen features custom built dark wood and glass cabinets and state-of-the-art appliances. Bathrooms have custom cabinetry, Caesarstone counters. The master bathroom features a deep soaker tub surrounded by blue glass tile. Custom closet – off the master bedroom, a walk-in closet features custom shelving and drawers to maximize the space.

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