27 May 2007

Remember When We All Lived Up In the Trees?

For some of us, it hasn't been that long ago.
Carpenter Joel "Bubba" Smith builds tree houses for a living. But these are not the rickety, slapped-together, sticks-nailed-slipshod-to-the- tree-in-the-backyard tree houses of childhood memory. As a carpenter with Seattle-based TreeHouse Workshop Inc., Smith constructs wholly modern and sophisticated tree houses — some with bathrooms and fireplaces and second stories and suspension bridges.

....Ever since he built his first tree house as a kid, carpentry has been a calling. But it was working as a carpenter in the summers with his uncle that provided the compass that would guide Smith's career. An article in Forbes magazine about TreeHouse Workshop ultimately led Smith to Seattle four years ago, portfolio in hand. He was soon on his way to San Diego for his first job as a tree house builder.

The San Diego tree house remains one of his most ambitious and memorable to date. The 1,000-square-foot structure sits on an 80-acre farm just outside the city and is used as a weekend cabin — one with a kitchen and bathroom, bedroom and living spaces, spacious decks, a brick and stone fireplace and central heating and air. The exterior features rich redwood decks with picket railings made from oak branches and fir rail caps, all done by hand.

....On average, Smith and the other carpenters — TreeHouse Workshop employs seven lead builders — build 10 to 15 tree houses a year, about half locally. The tree houses range from 100 square feet to 1,000, and cost from $6,000 on the low end to $330,000-plus for top-of-the-line models.

Most tree houses take a few weeks to several months to complete and are built mostly with reclaimed wood and recycled materials.
Go to the Source for more photos and story.

Living in trees is not just for Ewoks and monkeys. Something in the primate genetic memory makes trees feel like home, for those who are attuned to those particular genes.

Children need to see the world from different perspectives. They like to climb trees, like to look down on their worlds. They also like to crawl through tunnels and look out on the world from small cubby-hole openings. But that is for another posting.

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