Shelter: Colorado Treehouse
In Vail, CO, grown up people turn into big kids. You see it on the slopes, on Main Street, and in the forests where people posing as “adults” build themselves custom tree houses—just like we’ve dreamed since we were five.
Is it something in the air, the mountain water, or the resident's deep pockets? Whatever it is, it’s kicking up nostalgia like a late night viewing of The Goonies. The only cure for treehouse fever: build one. And for that, Missy Brown can help.
Brown’s the designer behind this Colorado treehouse, and she’s savvy on things in trees. For this construction, the home owners and Brown walked the acres of the land looking for a proper anchor. A 90-foot spruce was the ticket.
Taking dead wood from a recent beetle infestation, they cantilevered the build around the tree’s sturdy trunk by a series of bolts, suspension cables, and supports. Unlike your childhood dreams, the trunk of the tree isn’t exposed in the middle (a waterproofing no-no), but like your childhood dreams, there is a 30-foot top deck with a view of the surrounding landscape.
A spiral staircase guides guests upward (a sophisticated upgrade from the nailed on 2x4’s), and inside there’s some bare essentials: couch for naps, writing desk, mini-kitchen (camping cooktop). For winter months, there’s electrically heated baseboards, so the good times go on year round.
Up top, the deck offers full views, and if you need to go full Swiss-family Robinson, there’s a winch for hoisting up supplies, BB guns, slingshots, etc.
While the family uses the treehouse for more mature things than pirate takeovers, there are times that the grandkids take the fort hostage—and we’d like to think good games ensue.
If not, at the very least they can mimic grown up Vail life in a fitting setting—martini parties in the comfort of a wood cabin suspended in air, now there’s something worth growing up for.
Images ©: Missy Brown.