Inclusive Treehouses

The spirit of freedom associated with living in the trees shouldn’t leave anyone on the ground floor. Chris Haake, James Roth and Jeff Schoellkopf have taken treehouse building to new heights with their wheelchair accessible designs. Their Vermont-based company, appropriately called The Treehouse Guys, received an award from the Paralyzed Veterans last year.

The idea to build treehouses that anyone can enjoy came from Bill Allen, one of the founders Forever Young, an earlier iteration of The Treehouse Guys. Bill built a treehouse with a friend under the watchful eye of his 74-year-old neighbour. She pointed out that she couldn’t join them in the finished house because she wasn’t able to climb the ladder.

The men took Barb’s situation to heart and began to figure out how to make treehouses that overcame the limitations of able-bodied access, and the dream that has become The Treehouse Guys was born.

These guys have built 34 universally accessible treehouses in private camps and public parks across the country. Their designs incorporate the organic shapes of nature, producing incredibly compelling curves throughout their work.

“They’re ageless places,” Bill told a National Post reporter, “When you get into one, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a wheelchair or you’re 74 or you’re 12. The playing field is level and you all seem to become the same mysterious age.”

If you want a treehouse and don’t want to build it yourself, you can always hire people to help you, or to do it for you. Of course it costs more to do it that way, but it also saves you a tree-mendous amount of time and effort. For those of us who have physical limitations preventing them from building a on their own, its great to know that this doesn’t have to stop anyone from living or playing up in the trees.

Here’s a video tour of one of the Treehouse Guys’ works in progress.

(photo from ams vans inc.)