Tree house design goes out on a limb
Text by M.P. Klier
Photo by TreeHouse Creations
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Whether it's a simple platform reached by a scrap-wood ladder (thanks, Dad!) or an elaborately designed aerie made with state-of-the-art materials, when you have access to a tree house, you're living the high life. The hefty, 500-page Tree Houses (Skyhorse Publishing, 2013)—which itself could probably be wedged between branches to create a one-person lookout—is filled with stunning examples the world over that make you want to climb up and hang a KEEP OUT sign . . .
Nasu Tea Tree House, by TreeHouse Creations
Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan
. . . Or, in the case of Takashi Kobayashi, a COME ON IN sign. Kobayashi, a former nature documentary producer who taught himself carpentry and design, built his first tree house, now the Hideaway Café, in a cedar in Tokyo's Harajuku district two decades ago. Since then, he's created 119 others (including a wheelchair-accessible version at a medical center and boat- and mushroom-shaped ones at schools) and formed the collective Tree House People to "break down the feeling of separation that exists between humans and nature." Inspired by teahouses, this cozy, light-filled perch serves as an artists' retreat and has a gnomelike door and a (slightly incongruous?) woodburning stove.