“The world is full of nice, ordinary little people who live in nice, ordinary little houses on the ground. But didn’t you ever dream of a house up on a tree top?”
~ Father Robinson, Swiss Family Robinson
There is a fascination with treehouse living that all at once allows the inhabitant to be as close to nature as possible as well as create a world of dreams for themselves. They are escape hatches just as much as they are doors to new places. Perhaps no one knows this quite as well as interior designer Lynn Knowlton who has always dreamed of her very own tree fort. And like all over-achievers she decided to do so building a tiny house of sorts in a grove of trees on her land just two and a half hours northwest of Toronto. The beautiful (and sustainable) part of this tree house is that it is 100% recycled claiming the basic building lumber from an aging wood barn.
In a 2012 interview with Lloyd Alter, Knowlton assessed her fort like this: “Truth be told, it is created from something that otherwise would have been torn down and burned. My friend , who we bought the barn from, wanted to see a reclaimed use for her barn. It was blown over by a tornado. It would have been a crime to burn the remnants of that barn.”
The primary note is that the treehouse is not so much a house set upon a large tree but rather a tiny house built on a platform and then raised up amongst trees in a similar fashion to the Braumraum Tree Houses. This typical of southeast Asian homes like those seen primarily in Bali. This style of architecture can be studied in depth by reading a copy of Roxana Waterson’s The Living House: An Anthropology of Architecture in South-East Asia.
The bright red slide adds a touch of whimsy to the otherwise standard structure. Once in a government playground it was removed for a new and improved version. Through a mutual friend the slide found a home from gov’t playground to adult playground!
One of the neatest features though is the open bar complete with stool seating. The area allows for open-air dining, family hang outs, and adult happy hours all nestled in the comfort of the tree canopy.
The treehouse is unfortunately not quite fit for full-time living. While it does appear to have plumbing, electricity, and heat, it lacks insulation and finished interior walls. It does have a comfortable looking wrought iron daybed with exposure to ample natural light. It serves as a wonderful place for a nap or light reading. The walls do have a hidden secret though. They were framed up, wrapped with mosquito netting, and then clad in old barn siding.
The windows in the treehouse are also reclaimed. Some of them are reportedly from an old church while others are rescued from old houses. To help pass time in the fort Lynn has an excellent collection of books in the small loft just above the salvaged barn sink and coffee area.
- Do you dream of a house in the trees?
- Would it be your escape or your entry point?