WEST CHESTER, PA— Away from parents, above the crowd, enjoying total freedom -- having a tree house can be every little kid’s dream. It can be anything from a few carefully-balanced boards to a specially constructed arboreal retreat. Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years.
Three-year-old Mica and her little sister got a tree house this year. “I’m Mica! I love my tree house! “
This $28,000 tree house is a gift from their parents. Roughly three meters above ground, the platform was built into two large trees. The fancy hide-out has a climbing wall, a bucket pulley and a spiral slide.
“One of the things I really wanted was a little door within the big door. If you go up, there is a door handle for them, that’s their height. And there is an adult size door as well. So I wanted them to not need us to go in so to make it feel more like a secret hideout,“ said Mica's mother Kristin Keenan.
Bala Sundar and his wife Lakshmi came to America 20 years ago. Unlike the Keenans, who built a tree house for their daughters, the Sundars built one for themselves.
“We wanted to build something as a regular place where we can come and relax. We want to chill out and have a glass of wine. So, it was more of what I wanted the space more than for the kids,” he said.
With beds, tables and windows, it’s a welcoming, comfortable space to spend a summer night.
Both of these amazing tree houses were created by Dan Wright. He’s the founder of Tree Top Builders Inc., and has built more than 400 tree houses since he started the company in 2003.
“I think over hyped-up sense of freedom and independence…that’s I think why Americans particularly resonate with tree houses. Because it gets you up off the ground and, for kids, their parents can’t reach them anymore. They are up looking down, getting a new perspective on life,” said Wright.
Wright’s company holds workshops on building your own tree house. Sixty-year-old Bob Miracle, who arrives in his own helicopter, wants to build one for his grandchildren.
“Certainly the tree house to my grandchildren is going to be just like this helicopter to me.They are going to be very excited. They will always look forward to getting in it and having a blast with them,” he said.
Sandy Kiefer is a cello instructor. Her dream is to build three tree houses and use them for a bed and breakfast.
“I am 63, almost 64," she said. "And people say: 'Are you crazy to start on a dream now?' And I am saying: 'Are you crazy not to start on a dream now?' ”
Installing the special tree bolt, which requires both strength and accuracy, is the most important part of the work.
“As the tree grows, sometimes you need to move parts of the structure or cut parts of it away to give the tree room to grow each year. It gets thicker,” said Wright.
The base is then lifted on top of the tree bolts.It will soon become the foundation of a great tree house, so kids - or adults - can enjoy playing in the treetops.