Adric’s MAKE featured treehouse

I was at a mens retreat last week and made contact with a really cool fellow from Seattle named Jon Taylor. He hooked me up with a new publication called MAKE magazine, and I’m totally impressed. So much so, that I just bought a subscription.

This magazine is all about providing “how to” technology for the do it yourselfer and inventor types. It dispells much of the mystery behind consumer products and shows you how to build your own, or near equivalent, for a few bucks. And when I checked out the MAKE blog there is a piece on a treehouse. These folks are awesome.

Several photos of this treehouse are also posted on Flickr and it is a good example of a single-tree, urban backyard friendly, design. I particularily like the attention given to building around the tree such as this wall that seals around the branch. Details like this can really add to a great treehouse design, particularily the look acheived when the branch is seen from the inside.

However, accomodating the tree can also be very labour intensive — both to build initially and to maintain as the tree continues to grow. It is not advisable to build walls or ceiling structures tight to the tree if the branches are too far from the crotch, or if there are seperate trees, since the motion allowances will make sealing them a problem.

Also, one of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about this type of “inclusive construction” is that sealing water from trickling down the limb is damn near impossible. And the result is a damp and musty reation in the inside of the home. OK for a rude play house, I guess, but not acceptable if one plans to live in it for any length of time.

The last comment I have on this fine piece of arboureal architecture is the support system. One of the biggest issues with building on a single tree is how to acheive balance and support. Notice on the first image that the house is set out from center of the main trunk, and therefore is an unbalanced weight load on the tree. The solution used by Adric and his father is to put a post on the far overhanging edge to provide support to the unbalanced weight. Otherwise, the tree will bend and sag, especially when the supporting branches are not vertical, and the treehouse will become tilted possibly to the point of being a serious problem. All and all, posts can be an effective way to get the most house in your tree, if you like it low.