Page 1

THE ANATOMY OF

T R E E HOUSE S NEW BUILDINGS FROM AN OLD TRADITION JANE FIELD-LEWIS


CONTENTS First published in the United Kingdom in 2018 by Pavilion 43 Great Ormond Street London WC1N 3HZ Copyright © 2018 Pavilion Books Company Ltd Text copyright © 2018 Jane Field-Lewis This book can be ordered direct from the publisher at www.pavilionbooks.com All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied, displayed, extracted, reproduced, utilised, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or scanning without the prior written permission of the publishers. ISBN 978-1-91159-512-0 A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Reproduction by Mission, Hong Kong Printed and bound by Toppan Leefung Printing Ltd, China

Introduction THE WOODSMAN Blackberry wood treehouse Family treehouse Aircastle Woodland writer’s retreat The woodsman’s treehouse Treehouse @ the wood THE DREAMER Kudhva Crane 29 The dormouse nest Free spirit spheres Hemloft THE ESCAPIST Treehouse at son net hotel Château valmer The garrison treehouse Apple headquarters Sky den

6

THE DESIGNER Urban treehouse Healdsburg treehouse Inhabit, NY Hofer pavilion Treehouse H06 The fincube Mirror cube treehouse

10 12 18 24 28 THE CRAFTSMAN 34 Uplands treehouse 40 The treehouse at the lodge on loch goil Bower treehouse Bear creek studios 46 48 THE THINKER 54 Outlandia 60 Writer’s hut on stilts 64 Wee studio wooden huts 70 A separate place 74 76 78 80 84 88

94 96 100 104 110 116 120 124 128 130 136 142 148 154 156 162 168 174

THE INSPIRED Paarman treehouse Half a treehouse House in the orchard Sleipnir spiken The bird’s nest Garden treehouse The dovecote

180 182 186 192 198 204 210 216

Acknowledgements and credits

222


THE DORMOUSE NEST This striking human-scale interpretation of a dormouse’s nest belongs to the body of work of serial nest builder Hannes Wingate. Most of his sculptures explore the nesting process of birds. He likes to listen to their birdsong and regards their nest building as a creative strategy that’s echoed in his unique art installations.

THE ARTIST Hannes is a Swedish designer and artist who lives in the United States and works internationally. His work crosses boundaries and looks at the critical interface between people and nature. Hannes loves to spend time in the natural world, exploring nature and our relationship to the land and traditional skills, and when he’s not creating artworks he’s an outdoor survival skills instructor. His work has been published and exhibited in the United States, the UK, Spain, Sweden and Norway. Through a mutual interest in survival skills and bushcraft, he became intrigued by the work of Håkan Strotz at Urnatur in Sweden (see page 24) and was the first artist in residence there in 2014, during which time he built the Hasselmusboet (the Dormouse Nest).

WHY BUILD NESTS? While Hannes was studying at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London he became interested in how birds create something extraordinary out of seemingly nothing. With know-how, intent and time, they build nests that are not only essential but also beautifully tailored to satisfy their particular needs. He was fascinated by how this translates into human terms and how our individual manifestation and satisfaction of what’s essential is at odds with our culture’s collective ideas of fundamental needs and values. The physical nest grew out of his experimentation with practical applications of the nestbuilding process. For Hannes, there’s a natural overlap with early human architecture as well as basketry, and his college thesis focused on a large woven nest he built illegally overnight on a section of abandoned railway tracks just outside London’s Liverpool Street Station. It was 5.5m (18ft) tall and 3m (10ft) wide. Although initially his work concentrated primarily on the physical object produced, he has since come to understand the story of the nest, its creation and how people interact with it. His nest installations serve as an intervention to draw attention to a place or to instigate a dialogue, as well as connecting their creator and observers to the land where they were constructed.

THE DREAMER

THE DORMOUSE NEST

60

61


THE DORMOUSE NEST This striking human-scale interpretation of a dormouse’s nest belongs to the body of work of serial nest builder Hannes Wingate. Most of his sculptures explore the nesting process of birds. He likes to listen to their birdsong and regards their nest building as a creative strategy that’s echoed in his unique art installations.

THE ARTIST Hannes is a Swedish designer and artist who lives in the United States and works internationally. His work crosses boundaries and looks at the critical interface between people and nature. Hannes loves to spend time in the natural world, exploring nature and our relationship to the land and traditional skills, and when he’s not creating artworks he’s an outdoor survival skills instructor. His work has been published and exhibited in the United States, the UK, Spain, Sweden and Norway. Through a mutual interest in survival skills and bushcraft, he became intrigued by the work of Håkan Strotz at Urnatur in Sweden (see page 24) and was the first artist in residence there in 2014, during which time he built the Hasselmusboet (the Dormouse Nest).

WHY BUILD NESTS? While Hannes was studying at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London he became interested in how birds create something extraordinary out of seemingly nothing. With know-how, intent and time, they build nests that are not only essential but also beautifully tailored to satisfy their particular needs. He was fascinated by how this translates into human terms and how our individual manifestation and satisfaction of what’s essential is at odds with our culture’s collective ideas of fundamental needs and values. The physical nest grew out of his experimentation with practical applications of the nestbuilding process. For Hannes, there’s a natural overlap with early human architecture as well as basketry, and his college thesis focused on a large woven nest he built illegally overnight on a section of abandoned railway tracks just outside London’s Liverpool Street Station. It was 5.5m (18ft) tall and 3m (10ft) wide. Although initially his work concentrated primarily on the physical object produced, he has since come to understand the story of the nest, its creation and how people interact with it. His nest installations serve as an intervention to draw attention to a place or to instigate a dialogue, as well as connecting their creator and observers to the land where they were constructed.

THE DREAMER

THE DORMOUSE NEST

60

61


THE TREEHOUSE AT THE LODGE ON LOCH GOIL Former fashion model Iain Hopkins has a sense of place and atmosphere. His new life is as a hotelier running a loch-side hotel in Scotland, and in a stately Scots pine overlooking the water he’s built a treehouse. It’s designed to evoke an atmosphere that’s conducive to creating lasting memories and to provide a unique, quiet and private space for his guests.

THE BRIEF

‘Build it and they will come.’

Iain’s aim was to build a beautiful but naturalistic treehouse, one with a natural look and feel, which would blend in with the environment. The space would need to make the most of the landscape, with views of the hills, forests and loch, and to be suitable all year round in all weathers. At the back of his mind were his experiences as a model, travelling and shooting in the sort of amazing locations whose memories stay with you for years and become part of your story. He wanted this treehouse to have that appeal to his media and fashion clients and to be used for photographic shoots, advertising campaigns and editorial stories.

THE BUILD

136

THE CRAFTSMAN

137 THE TREEHOUSE AT THE LODGE ON LOCH GOIL

The large Scots pine tree right by the waterside seemed the obvious choice for a treehouse. At some point during the 1960s it had been struck by lightning, and part of it had been blown down, which had caused the overall shape to become imbalanced. The design concept was to visually rebalance the tree by siting the treehouse in the area that had been lost. From design to completion the whole build took four months. For the actual construction on site, the building company set up a workshop in a small marquee so that they would not be held up unduly by bad weather and could progress at a good speed. This build phase took only three weeks from start to finish. A specialist tree surgeon climbed the tree using ropes and a harness to position the main structural supports for the treehouse, and once in place the ‘house’ structure was erected on


THE TREEHOUSE AT THE LODGE ON LOCH GOIL Former fashion model Iain Hopkins has a sense of place and atmosphere. His new life is as a hotelier running a loch-side hotel in Scotland, and in a stately Scots pine overlooking the water he’s built a treehouse. It’s designed to evoke an atmosphere that’s conducive to creating lasting memories and to provide a unique, quiet and private space for his guests.

THE BRIEF

‘Build it and they will come.’

Iain’s aim was to build a beautiful but naturalistic treehouse, one with a natural look and feel, which would blend in with the environment. The space would need to make the most of the landscape, with views of the hills, forests and loch, and to be suitable all year round in all weathers. At the back of his mind were his experiences as a model, travelling and shooting in the sort of amazing locations whose memories stay with you for years and become part of your story. He wanted this treehouse to have that appeal to his media and fashion clients and to be used for photographic shoots, advertising campaigns and editorial stories.

THE BUILD

136

THE CRAFTSMAN

137 THE TREEHOUSE AT THE LODGE ON LOCH GOIL

The large Scots pine tree right by the waterside seemed the obvious choice for a treehouse. At some point during the 1960s it had been struck by lightning, and part of it had been blown down, which had caused the overall shape to become imbalanced. The design concept was to visually rebalance the tree by siting the treehouse in the area that had been lost. From design to completion the whole build took four months. For the actual construction on site, the building company set up a workshop in a small marquee so that they would not be held up unduly by bad weather and could progress at a good speed. This build phase took only three weeks from start to finish. A specialist tree surgeon climbed the tree using ropes and a harness to position the main structural supports for the treehouse, and once in place the ‘house’ structure was erected on


STYLE NOTES

140

THE CRAFTSMAN

141 THE TREEHOUSE AT THE LODGE ON LOCH GOIL

There is a gentility about this treehouse. Its size, architecture, location and relationship to the tree all speak of grandeur and a quiet elegance. This commanding Scots pine is a secluded place to linger and enjoy the outlook over the calm waters of Loch Goil while the sun sets in the west. You catch the aroma of seaweed wafting on the evening air and hear the gently lapping waves. No wonder it’s so popular with hotel guests for meditation, private dinners and weddings, as well as for fashion shoots and product launches. Design-wise, the treehouse references the Victorian era both in its architecture and its sense of genteel, elegant lakeside leisure. Although in essence it’s a natural building, it has decorative verandahs and woodwork. Together with the large gabled roof, these domestic features reference the late nineteenth century and the style of the architecture of the main house. This is a treehouse that rests on and envelops the tree’s branches; they protrude through the deck and terraced areas. The exterior wood and supporting structure have a finish that is similar in tone to the colour of the bark and help it to blend into the tree, and this, along with its architectural style, adds a sense of agelessness. It’s hard to tell if this treehouse has been here for just a few years or a great many. The interior finishes are a mixture of the natural tree bark and finished vertical pitch pine boarding. There’s nothing overtly modern here, nothing to jar. It is more of a timeless experience, a reminder and an opportunity to enjoy quieter times.


STYLE NOTES

140

THE CRAFTSMAN

141 THE TREEHOUSE AT THE LODGE ON LOCH GOIL

There is a gentility about this treehouse. Its size, architecture, location and relationship to the tree all speak of grandeur and a quiet elegance. This commanding Scots pine is a secluded place to linger and enjoy the outlook over the calm waters of Loch Goil while the sun sets in the west. You catch the aroma of seaweed wafting on the evening air and hear the gently lapping waves. No wonder it’s so popular with hotel guests for meditation, private dinners and weddings, as well as for fashion shoots and product launches. Design-wise, the treehouse references the Victorian era both in its architecture and its sense of genteel, elegant lakeside leisure. Although in essence it’s a natural building, it has decorative verandahs and woodwork. Together with the large gabled roof, these domestic features reference the late nineteenth century and the style of the architecture of the main house. This is a treehouse that rests on and envelops the tree’s branches; they protrude through the deck and terraced areas. The exterior wood and supporting structure have a finish that is similar in tone to the colour of the bark and help it to blend into the tree, and this, along with its architectural style, adds a sense of agelessness. It’s hard to tell if this treehouse has been here for just a few years or a great many. The interior finishes are a mixture of the natural tree bark and finished vertical pitch pine boarding. There’s nothing overtly modern here, nothing to jar. It is more of a timeless experience, a reminder and an opportunity to enjoy quieter times.


OUTLANDIA At the foot of Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands, nestling in a copse of Norwegian spruce and larch, is Outlandia, a remote off-grid treehouse, art studio and field station. Conceived by London Fieldworks as part of the Highland 2007 cultural celebration, the concept of this artist-led project was developed by the artists Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson. The structure, which was designed by Malcolm Fraser Architects and constructed by a local builder Norman Clark, was shortlisted for The Architects’ Journal Small Projects Award in 2011. Designed as a space to foster creative collaboration, this is a flexible meeting place in the forest. Its inspiration is derived from a diverse range of imaginative and creative sources, including ‘childhood dens, wildlife hides and bothies, forest outlaws and Japanese poetry platforms’. With this striking off-the-ground location, its creators hoped that real artistic inspiration might strike. It was conceived as a place of imagination and fantasy and, as such, its design is regarded as a form of ‘performative architecture’ where the building is defined by the works of art and performances that it elicits from those who engage with it. It has become a piece of sustainable sculpture in its own right, making an important contribution to the local arts in Lochaber.

THE SITE Outlandia is only 4.8km (3 miles) from Fort William, and commands stunning views across Forestry Commission land towards Glen Nevis and Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. The hope is that over its lifespan it will provide an opportunity not only for artists and researchers but for diverse community groups, too, to spend time in this beautiful part of the natural world and to experience at first-hand the solitude of the surrounding forest and the landscape. The actual choice of the site was the result of long crawls through wet undergrowth with their carpets of pine needles and clouds of midges and up steep wooded slopes, in search of natural and human drama. As the architect Malcolm Foster says, ‘The site chosen is full of it. Visitors approach Outlandia along the path we cut through the dense woods behind, descending out of the musty dark of the trees into a big view, which, from dark to light and framed by old, tall larches, opens up across the Glen to the shoulder of the Ben.’ 157

THE THINKER

OUTLANDIA

156


OUTLANDIA At the foot of Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands, nestling in a copse of Norwegian spruce and larch, is Outlandia, a remote off-grid treehouse, art studio and field station. Conceived by London Fieldworks as part of the Highland 2007 cultural celebration, the concept of this artist-led project was developed by the artists Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson. The structure, which was designed by Malcolm Fraser Architects and constructed by a local builder Norman Clark, was shortlisted for The Architects’ Journal Small Projects Award in 2011. Designed as a space to foster creative collaboration, this is a flexible meeting place in the forest. Its inspiration is derived from a diverse range of imaginative and creative sources, including ‘childhood dens, wildlife hides and bothies, forest outlaws and Japanese poetry platforms’. With this striking off-the-ground location, its creators hoped that real artistic inspiration might strike. It was conceived as a place of imagination and fantasy and, as such, its design is regarded as a form of ‘performative architecture’ where the building is defined by the works of art and performances that it elicits from those who engage with it. It has become a piece of sustainable sculpture in its own right, making an important contribution to the local arts in Lochaber.

THE SITE Outlandia is only 4.8km (3 miles) from Fort William, and commands stunning views across Forestry Commission land towards Glen Nevis and Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. The hope is that over its lifespan it will provide an opportunity not only for artists and researchers but for diverse community groups, too, to spend time in this beautiful part of the natural world and to experience at first-hand the solitude of the surrounding forest and the landscape. The actual choice of the site was the result of long crawls through wet undergrowth with their carpets of pine needles and clouds of midges and up steep wooded slopes, in search of natural and human drama. As the architect Malcolm Foster says, ‘The site chosen is full of it. Visitors approach Outlandia along the path we cut through the dense woods behind, descending out of the musty dark of the trees into a big view, which, from dark to light and framed by old, tall larches, opens up across the Glen to the shoulder of the Ben.’ 157

THE THINKER

OUTLANDIA

156


TREEHOUSE @ THE WOOD Jeremy Pitts is a woodsman and craftsman, who cares passionately about wood and woodlands as well as the humanity that goes into careful and skilled woodwork and cabinetmaking. In addition to the beautiful furniture he creates, especially the large single board tables made from local timber, he built this treehouse in his own woodland and it demonstrates wonderfully the various uses of different aged timber from managed sources. He’s a careful and considerate man, with a preference for producing things slowly, respectfully and with integrity. Apart from its considered material choice and craft, he wanted this treehouse to be the perfect place to sit and do nothing, only to feel the tranquility and the connection between the materials and the making.

WOODLAND MANAGEMENT In the past, woodlands were typically managed using the ‘standard and coppice method’ whereby trees would be thinned (coppiced) to create space for other trees (standards) to mature. The ‘under-woodsman’ would craft the wood from the felled thinner trees, and this would be used in cleaving, weaving, basket and hurdle making, fencing and charcoal production. Most of these traditional practices have now disappeared and, as a result, many areas of woodland are falling into decline through lack of management. This treehouse attempts, in a small but significant way, to find contemporary uses for English woodland timber and to demonstrate the tactile qualities of the materials and craft-making processes.

DESIGN AND BUILD Jeremy’s goal was to create a seamless, modern treehouse; one that had a crisp and minimal simplicity in the detailing of its tactile materials. The materials themselves were selected for their organic and irregular qualities. The process began simply, with a drawing, which subsequently evolved into a model. The techniques that were used were developed through making samples. This treehouse is hand-built around a highly insulated prefabricated shell and it combines the simple tactile materials and crafts of the under-woodsman with the use of timber cut from large ‘standard’ trees – principally, in this case, wide-board English oak. All the timber was sourced from within a 24-km (15-mile) radius and much of it from the woods where the treehouse stands. The shell of the building is a 3m (10ft) cube made from structurally

40

THE WOODSMAN


TREEHOUSE @ THE WOOD Jeremy Pitts is a woodsman and craftsman, who cares passionately about wood and woodlands as well as the humanity that goes into careful and skilled woodwork and cabinetmaking. In addition to the beautiful furniture he creates, especially the large single board tables made from local timber, he built this treehouse in his own woodland and it demonstrates wonderfully the various uses of different aged timber from managed sources. He’s a careful and considerate man, with a preference for producing things slowly, respectfully and with integrity. Apart from its considered material choice and craft, he wanted this treehouse to be the perfect place to sit and do nothing, only to feel the tranquility and the connection between the materials and the making.

WOODLAND MANAGEMENT In the past, woodlands were typically managed using the ‘standard and coppice method’ whereby trees would be thinned (coppiced) to create space for other trees (standards) to mature. The ‘under-woodsman’ would craft the wood from the felled thinner trees, and this would be used in cleaving, weaving, basket and hurdle making, fencing and charcoal production. Most of these traditional practices have now disappeared and, as a result, many areas of woodland are falling into decline through lack of management. This treehouse attempts, in a small but significant way, to find contemporary uses for English woodland timber and to demonstrate the tactile qualities of the materials and craft-making processes.

DESIGN AND BUILD Jeremy’s goal was to create a seamless, modern treehouse; one that had a crisp and minimal simplicity in the detailing of its tactile materials. The materials themselves were selected for their organic and irregular qualities. The process began simply, with a drawing, which subsequently evolved into a model. The techniques that were used were developed through making samples. This treehouse is hand-built around a highly insulated prefabricated shell and it combines the simple tactile materials and crafts of the under-woodsman with the use of timber cut from large ‘standard’ trees – principally, in this case, wide-board English oak. All the timber was sourced from within a 24-km (15-mile) radius and much of it from the woods where the treehouse stands. The shell of the building is a 3m (10ft) cube made from structurally

40

THE WOODSMAN


KUDHVA Louise Middleton, a passionate surfer, bespoke leather worker and committed outdoor living fan, was true to her vision when she purchased a plot of unprepossessing land and built some three-legged asymmetrical hideaways on it. This was all about sharing her appreciation of the great outdoors and her belief that we become more intuitive by being immersed in nature. Kudhva is the physical manifestation of Louise’s approach to simple natural living – the freedom to create a space that enables the body and mind to work in harmony with nature. Its location on the beautiful northern coastline of Cornwall, with views across to Gull Rock, Kirin Island and the Polzeath headland, makes it a raw and exciting place. Its natural habitat is ecologically rich with Cornish bracken, lichen species, purple heather and low-lying plants like tiny wild strawberries.

LAND FIRST, PLAN SECOND Louise bought the land at a property auction. It had been part of a disused quarry and wasn’t perceived to have much value, although it did have a water supply and lots of raw materials to work with. This was the start she needed to develop her dream of a small-scale, ecologically sound glamping business. She began by walking every inch of the land, spending time ‘tuning in’ and listening to her intuition about what might work best. She stayed over with her children and her dog, eating mussels from the beach over a campfire and talking to friends to get inspiration. From studying old maps of the area, she learnt about how the land had functioned as a quarry, an important piece of Cornish industrial history. Importantly, this was key to her plan to create a business that was both sustainable and low-impact.

‘Kudhva is very wild and remains so – that’s where its heart is and its gold lies. If you have childhood memories of visiting an abandoned and wild place, Kudhva will bring them back.’

49

THE DREAMER

KUDHVA

48


KUDHVA Louise Middleton, a passionate surfer, bespoke leather worker and committed outdoor living fan, was true to her vision when she purchased a plot of unprepossessing land and built some three-legged asymmetrical hideaways on it. This was all about sharing her appreciation of the great outdoors and her belief that we become more intuitive by being immersed in nature. Kudhva is the physical manifestation of Louise’s approach to simple natural living – the freedom to create a space that enables the body and mind to work in harmony with nature. Its location on the beautiful northern coastline of Cornwall, with views across to Gull Rock, Kirin Island and the Polzeath headland, makes it a raw and exciting place. Its natural habitat is ecologically rich with Cornish bracken, lichen species, purple heather and low-lying plants like tiny wild strawberries.

LAND FIRST, PLAN SECOND Louise bought the land at a property auction. It had been part of a disused quarry and wasn’t perceived to have much value, although it did have a water supply and lots of raw materials to work with. This was the start she needed to develop her dream of a small-scale, ecologically sound glamping business. She began by walking every inch of the land, spending time ‘tuning in’ and listening to her intuition about what might work best. She stayed over with her children and her dog, eating mussels from the beach over a campfire and talking to friends to get inspiration. From studying old maps of the area, she learnt about how the land had functioned as a quarry, an important piece of Cornish industrial history. Importantly, this was key to her plan to create a business that was both sustainable and low-impact.

‘Kudhva is very wild and remains so – that’s where its heart is and its gold lies. If you have childhood memories of visiting an abandoned and wild place, Kudhva will bring them back.’

49

THE DREAMER

KUDHVA

48


BLACKBERRY WOOD TREEHOUSE ‘Wood is very calming and warm, and being up high gives you a different perspective on the world around you.’

Tim Johnson, the owner of a successful glamping business in the beautiful South Downs of Sussex, wanted to add to his collection of quirky and unique builds, and decided to create the treehouse of his childhood dreams. By doing so he hoped to attract visitors who would not normally seek to be outdoors, interacting with nature. His approach to life of ‘making crazy ideas come true and living a life less ordinary’ exactly fitted the brief he gave himself. His idea was to build a treehouse with a magical quality high up in the treetops. It would have a sense of adventure, with towers and turrets, and be as close as possible to his childhood treehouse imaginings. On his land he had already identified the best location for the treehouse, but most of the trees in that area were ash and might at some point in the future suffer from ash dieback (a fungal disease that has attacked and killed ash trees all over Europe). As this would make the ash tree too risky to use as a support, the treehouse was designed to surround the tree with its branches coming through the deck area. The structural support was provided by 13 pilings, which were dug 4m (13ft) into the ground.

THE BUILD The build took about two-and-a-half years to complete, which was longer than planned, and ended up being three times over budget. Tim was absent as a project manager for part of it and some sections of the build were particularly complex, especially the turret with the irregularly hung cedar shingles, which turned out to be difficult and time-consuming to make. Pretty much the entire interior and exterior are custom-made, and Tim tried as much as possible to reuse existing items and materials, from old scaffolding boards for ceilings and floors, to taps and garden forks for hangers and door handles. After a career as an engineer in the Royal Navy, he learnt about house building working with his father, who was a builder. ‘I have project-managed some renovation projects in the past and learnt as I went along. An important part of the job for me is learning new skills from the people I work with.’

12

THE WOODSMAN


BLACKBERRY WOOD TREEHOUSE ‘Wood is very calming and warm, and being up high gives you a different perspective on the world around you.’

Tim Johnson, the owner of a successful glamping business in the beautiful South Downs of Sussex, wanted to add to his collection of quirky and unique builds, and decided to create the treehouse of his childhood dreams. By doing so he hoped to attract visitors who would not normally seek to be outdoors, interacting with nature. His approach to life of ‘making crazy ideas come true and living a life less ordinary’ exactly fitted the brief he gave himself. His idea was to build a treehouse with a magical quality high up in the treetops. It would have a sense of adventure, with towers and turrets, and be as close as possible to his childhood treehouse imaginings. On his land he had already identified the best location for the treehouse, but most of the trees in that area were ash and might at some point in the future suffer from ash dieback (a fungal disease that has attacked and killed ash trees all over Europe). As this would make the ash tree too risky to use as a support, the treehouse was designed to surround the tree with its branches coming through the deck area. The structural support was provided by 13 pilings, which were dug 4m (13ft) into the ground.

THE BUILD The build took about two-and-a-half years to complete, which was longer than planned, and ended up being three times over budget. Tim was absent as a project manager for part of it and some sections of the build were particularly complex, especially the turret with the irregularly hung cedar shingles, which turned out to be difficult and time-consuming to make. Pretty much the entire interior and exterior are custom-made, and Tim tried as much as possible to reuse existing items and materials, from old scaffolding boards for ceilings and floors, to taps and garden forks for hangers and door handles. After a career as an engineer in the Royal Navy, he learnt about house building working with his father, who was a builder. ‘I have project-managed some renovation projects in the past and learnt as I went along. An important part of the job for me is learning new skills from the people I work with.’

12

THE WOODSMAN


MATERIALS Using materials with a warm tone and an integrity was important for Tim. He chose elm weatherboarding (from cut down diseased elm trees) on the exterior, positioning them artistically for maximum rustic effect. The roof tiles are cedar, and in the interior, along with the scaffolding boards, scraps of oak wood were elaborately carved. Copper is used on the bathroom ceiling and walls to reinforce the atmosphere of warmth created by the wood. Tim had been to Morocco and in the souks of Marrakesh he spotted some beautiful copper baths. The memory stayed with him and since there wasn’t enough space in the treehouse for a bathtub he did the next best thing and installed a copper ceiling instead. It was made in Morocco, then shipped to the UK. In fact, it looked so good that he decided to use copper for the turret’s walls as well as other details in the treehouse. The branches that make up the rails along the stairs and terrace were all sourced from his own woodland. The massive oak beam inside came from a nearby wood where a tree had blown down and the owner had offered the wood for a building project.

‘This is the treehouse of my childhood dreams.’

15 BLACKBERRY WOOD TREEHOUSE


MATERIALS Using materials with a warm tone and an integrity was important for Tim. He chose elm weatherboarding (from cut down diseased elm trees) on the exterior, positioning them artistically for maximum rustic effect. The roof tiles are cedar, and in the interior, along with the scaffolding boards, scraps of oak wood were elaborately carved. Copper is used on the bathroom ceiling and walls to reinforce the atmosphere of warmth created by the wood. Tim had been to Morocco and in the souks of Marrakesh he spotted some beautiful copper baths. The memory stayed with him and since there wasn’t enough space in the treehouse for a bathtub he did the next best thing and installed a copper ceiling instead. It was made in Morocco, then shipped to the UK. In fact, it looked so good that he decided to use copper for the turret’s walls as well as other details in the treehouse. The branches that make up the rails along the stairs and terrace were all sourced from his own woodland. The massive oak beam inside came from a nearby wood where a tree had blown down and the owner had offered the wood for a building project.

‘This is the treehouse of my childhood dreams.’

15 BLACKBERRY WOOD TREEHOUSE


Escape the real world and discover stylish treehouses and structures from around the globe. From traditional rustic builds based on woodworking skills to modernist sleek builds for eco-chic glamping sites, this book covers many different styles of structures using both bespoke and natural materials. Including children’s play spaces, writer’s retreats and individual guest rooms, these exciting architectural pieces of work use creative engineering solutions. Gorgeous photographs accompany real life stories and style notes that offer plenty of inspiration on how to create your own special retreat.

UK £25.00

www.pavilionbooks.com

The Anatomy of Treehouses  
The Anatomy of Treehouses  
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