If you’re like me, trees houses served as a livelihood where you spent summer vacations with friends. Since the mid 90’s, the tree house has become increasingly popular in many regions of the world. The treehouse is almost something of a fad and a competitive activity. Tree house builders come up with the most outlandish ideas to top other builds.
While tree houses are fun to relax in, it’s important to remember that you must always think about how your structure will affect the surrounding eco-system. We all have to acknowledge the beauty that nature provides. After all, this is one of the reasons why so many love the refreshing sense that treehouses provide!
Background on Tree Houses
Tree houses come in many forms, shapes, sizes, colors, materials, and so on. They have become visible in popular culture with Animal Planets television show Tree House Masters. If you haven’t watched it yet, one episode and I guarantee you’ll be hooked! Clearly, some of these are big kid toys.
While treehouses are normally used for recreational purposes, they can also serve commercial purposes as well. Building code for tree houses varies depending on the municipality that you live in. In most cases, tree houses are not considered permanent structures and therefore, they do not have to adhere to any special guidelines. It’s always a good idea to check with local regulations before you decide to create your own backyard tree fort. Sometimes they can be considered a “temporary structure.” In this case, a tree house is treated much like a garden shed would be.
Did you know: The Korowai, a Papuan tribe located in the southeast of Irian Jaya, live in tree houses. Some of them measure nearly 130 ft tall. These structures serve as protection from neighboring tribes.
10 of the Most Amazing Tree Houses in the World
1. The Hemloft Treehouse
What’s better than retiring at the age of 26? Well, software developer Joel Allen would be the one to ask. After a very, very early retirement, Joel decided he wanted to “build something cool” and became a carpenter. His personal project gained so much attention that is has even been featured in several international design magazines. Way to go Joel!
It took him over 2 years to build and total materials cost $12k. He was able to source most of the materials from Craigslist of all places. Now happily married with his wife Heidi, the two have a child and no longer have time to maintain the space. This may be a one of the reasons that Joel decided to give away the pieces of his architectural feat. On posting the pieces back up on Craigslist, Joel had this to say:
“I thought it would be kind of poetic to see it come full circle, to see all those materials I bartered off craigslist to go back on to Craiglist to go back on to Craigslist, kind of as more than the sum of their parts.”
2. Yellow Treehouse Restaurant
Believe it or not, this is actually a restaurant in Auckland, New Zealand. Diners can enjoy a seemingly magical experience as they walk up an illuminated bridge pathway to an egg-shaped kitchen. This structure wraps around the tree and is able to accommodate up to 30 guests at a time. Perfect for a gathering of close friends and family. Designed by Yellow to Pacific Environments, this treehouse is now a venue for weddings, functions, and other social gatherings.
3. Mirror Tree House
Located 40 miles south of the Artic Circle in Sweden, the Mirror Tree House was constructed by Tham & Videgard. When pictures were first unveiled to the public, many people actually thought it was a digitally created image. Boy were they wrong! Tham & Videgard were enlisted to complete the structure as part of the Tree Hotel Project. This is one of 6 hotel tree houses that are available for rent. Add this to your bucket list.
4. The World’s Largest Tree House
Lord Northumberland owns the World’s Largest Tree House on record and I’m not exaggerating. This tree house is probably bigger than most people’s houses. How big is it? Try 6,000+ square feet of above the earth madness. To make things even more interesting, this tree house is located next to the Alnwick Castle that was used in the Harry Potter films. Maybe this is what gives this treehouse it’s spooky mystique.
4,000 square feet of suspended walkways dance 56 feet above the ground. Housed somewhere in this gargantuan structure is a restaurant that seats 120 along with a classroom and several cafes. With an estimated cost of $7 million, Lord Northumberland may have just created a completely new category of luxury treehouses.
5. Tree House in Andu Momofuku Centre, Japan
If you’ve ever wanted to live with birds, this is the place for you. This tree house is built to house both birds and humans. How is that possible? Well, the interior of the space is separated by a wall. Peep holes in the wall allow visitors to check out what the birds are doing in the adjacent room. Let humans and nature become one!
6. Free Spirit Sphere Treehouses
Free Spirit Spheres creates these handcrafted spheres. Each sphere is capable of being suspended via a web of rope, giving the illusion of a hanging pendant. These suspended spherical treehouses can be found in the midst of the West Coast rainforest of Vancouver Island, Canada.
7. Takashi Kobayashi’s Tree House
Takashi Kobayashi is a man who is encapsulated by the construction of elaborate tree houses. After moving into a small wooden apartment in the back alleys of Harajuku, Japan, Takashi made a life-changing decision. Through the creation of treehouses, Takashi seeks to “break down the feeling of separation that exists between humans and nature.” This is just one of his many creations.
8. UFO Treehouse
I must admit, if I saw this treehouse in the woods, I would probably run the other way but I know I’m not the only one. This Swedish Tree Hotel has a design that is out of this world. While you won’t be able to blast off into outer space, you will be able to loft above the treetops.
9. Teahouse Tetsu
Terunobu Fujimori built this treehouse with minimalist fashion in mind. Set in the midst of a cherry blossom background, this treehouse is a modern masterpiece. If you’re traveling by Yamanashi, Japan anytime soon, you might want to make a slight detour!
10. Airplane Treehouse
At first sight, you might think you’ve just discovered a crash landing site. Think again. Joanne Ussary bought a vintage Boeing 727 for $2,000. It’s funny because it actually cost her twice the cost to transport the plane! In total, Joanne spent a whopping $24k to renovate the inside of the plane. Now, this Boeing 727 treehouse boasts a Jacuzzi in the center of the cockpit and is filled with all the amenities of a luxury executive suite!
*The pictures listed below were provided courtesy of Sean Walker. Sean mentioned that he visited the Airplane Treehouse on a trip to Costa Rica. He was kind enough to send in these exclusive photo’s that give you a peak inside the deck. He says there’s also an old CIA drug/gun smuggling airplane that is now a bar right across the street from the Airplane Hotel. Oliver North’s old plane. Check it out if you’re ever in Costa Rica! Thanks Sean!*
“I’ve been to that 727 hotel in Costa Rica. It is quite fascinating and fun! The whole area has interesting features like Ollie North’s drug running plane converted to a bar across the street from this hotel.”
About the Author
Cheryl Khan is a graduate of UCSD who now lives in San Diego, CA. She love visiting the beach, watching Fourth of July Fireworks at Presidio Park, and catching movies at Edwards Cinemas. You can contact her by sending her a message on Google+ or sending her a tweet @SuperInteriors!