Reaching New Heights with Adult Treehouses

Grown-up treehouses are the new backyard frontier.


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Treehouses have grown up. No longer just for kids, these childhood icons now have adults climbing aboard. Inspired by TV shows like Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters and DIY Network’s The Treehouse Guys, people use them as man caves, entertaining spots, getaways, yoga studios in the sky, screened-in birdwatching perches, and whatever else strikes their fancy.

“We tell people that all is possible,” says certified arborist Caleb White, who with partner Peter Madsen operates New Leaf Treehouse Co. in Columbia County. “Elaborate decks, finished spaces, spiral staircases—even electricity, wood stoves, and simple plumbing are within reach.”

"Adult treehouses,” like those built by New Leaf Tree Co. in Columbia County, feature elaborate decks and finished spaces but also sport whimsical additions, such as secret ladders and rope bridges.

One couple asked the two-year-old company to carve out a spot deep in the woods, not just for the fabulous seasonal Catskill views but also for the away-from-it-all tranquility. The three-month project involved using a zip-line to ferry tools to the remote site, says White. Cantilevered over a rock face with trees literally growing through the deck roof, the retreat has a secret ladder leading to a second level with built-in benches. 

White’s former career building aerial-ropes adventure courses with zip-lines, climbing walls, and multilevel platforms, came in handy when they designed “twin” castle-style treehouses for rambunctious young brothers. A rope bridge supported by aircraft cable connects the two structures, which are surrounded by octagonal decks. What a great setting for a NERF-gun fight! 

If you’re ready to go out on a whim and commission your own, keep in mind that each house is custom-made and built to last, so prices average $40,000 and up depending on the design. Too bad money doesn’t grow on trees!

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