When surfing the net one day I came across some of the craziest treehouses that only the richest families can afford. They are so off the wall and elaborate that I had to share them, but who buys these treehouses, and why?
Well, it is probably safe to say that most kiddos enjoy building forts, caves, or dens in which to hang out and enjoy themselves. There is something special about having your own private space which you create to your own specifications and in which other people must adhere to your rules.
Researchers have suggested that a child's urge to build a place in which to hide is driven by a primal instinct to shelter ourselves or that building a fort gives a child a sense of control over their environment. Nevertheless, there is one thing better than a special place of your own at ground-level, and that is a hideaway in the trees.
The word "treehouse" is likely to bring to mind a cobbled together platform halfway up a tree, with, at best, a wonky looking, shed type structure balanced upon it. However, it would appear that some people have a different vision these days when it comes to a playhouse in a canopy.
An entire industry has sprung up, providing luxury, one-off treehouses that cost more than some peoples actual homes... and here are some of them.
Like many of the treehouses you are about to see, this structure is so big that the trees it's in were not enough to hold it up safely. No, this two-story home in the sky needed extra uprights, concreted into the ground.
You'll also notice this place to play has had dozens of bird boxes attached to the curved wall of the turret. So, not only is this a fun place to be for some lucky kid's two-legged pals, but it is a place to which some feathered friends can call home.
This pair of conjoined tree houses was constructed for the DIY network's Treehouse Show, but the company that designed and built this beauty regularly create similar structures for families with the dollars to spare.
How many dollars exactly? I hear you ask. Well, if you were to commission this giant two-part castle, complete with slide and zip line, interior platforms and ladders, and various decorative shields and emblems, it would set you back somewhere in the region of $140,000 to $200,000. If that seems like quite a large range, apparently a lot of the price depends on the amount of groundwork, the type of trees and the supporting structure needed.
Mind you, if you have $140 to $200K to spend on a treehouse I doubt $60K is much to quibble over.
Of course, not every treehouse has to be a traditional wooden wonder. Just as the designs of homes range across every style imaginable, so do does the design of the craziest treehouses that only the richest families can afford.
The geometric wonder above is a case in point. If you look closely, you will see the home in the background is an older timber-framed building. However, this was built like a treehouse for the tweens and teens of the family, and the rectangular hideaway was created with young adults in mind and not with the usual "treehouse aesthetic."
Another "commercial but available for your home" treehouse, this 75-foot long train and it's four carriages journies through the treetops on its own individual sky rails.
The engine is equipped with a good 'n' loud train whistle, while the boxcar has a circus theme, the log car is stacked with real logs, and the caboose has two entrances. There is a corridor running through the train from one end to the other and a spiral staircase for when you disembark.
Depending on your particular tree layout the design and cost will vary, but you can have one of these little beauties chugging through the backyard for between $130,000 and $190,000.
If you are thinking that this isn't much a secret place for someone's kids to hide away and have fun, you'd be spot on. This treehouse was built for an adult in the family, one who had the dollars to indulge their inner child.
The builder of this kidult funhouse is a company called Baumraum, and they quote anywhere from $17,000 for a "basic" treehouse up to around $17,000 for a fully specced beauty like this one.
Some people really know how to put the "house" in treehouse.
This is less a child's getaway or playhouse and more of a place for your kids to move into, straight from kindergarten. I know plenty of grown adults who would be happy to put up with the low ceilings and having to crouch down to get through the doorway, just to live in a house as substantial as this one.
Heck, it's even been decorated for the holidays with more fairy lights than my own house.
This design takes the secret hideaway concept to a whole new level.
The design was inspired by a house featured in the 1971 James Bond film, “Diamonds are Forever.”
The house in the movie had round rooms and a circular roof topped with a skylight. Both of these design features are reflected in this bespoke structure.
The best thing about this treehouse is though, the bookcase in the main room swings open to reveal a secret staircase down to the room which hangs from the underside.
Unfortunately, the only photo of this treehouse I could find, that had a child in it for scale, was small and blurry and not suitable for reposting. With that being the case you will have to use your imagination and pretend your average sized ten-year-old is standing on the lower curved platform and you can just see their head through the rectangular viewing slots. That gives you an idea of the scale of this thing.
I particularly like the fact that there are lots of separate structures on multiple levels. It would make hiding from the kids much more effective.
Again, my inner barely suppressed panic-mom battles to get out when she sees a treehouse like this. It is cute, it is beautiful, and it has open dangling rope ladders that have me envisioning trips to the ER.
I know accidents can happen anytime and anywhere no matter how careful you are. In fact, our eldest son was in the ER so often they were thinking of giving him his own bed. I also understand you should let your kiddos go out, explore, and experience a certain degree of "controlled danger."
That doesn't mean that you shouldn't be careful though and I wouldn't be comfortable with my kiddos on this one, no matter how lovely it is.
Many people move out of the home in which they grew up and into a less than ideal first place. That was the situation in which my husband and I found ourselves when we were handed the keys to our first rental which was less stable than this treehouse.
I know plenty of people who live in homes much less beautifully made and less structurally sound than this two-floor beauty.
In fact, I know some people who would give their right arm for a forever home just like this one.
I guess that technically speaking, this is not a treehouse because it has not actually been erected in a tree. However, being nestled in among the trees and having a fun "treehouse-esque" look meant that I am including it.
This structure is close enough to the ground to ensure even the most nervous of parents would allow their kiddos to go play. The only downside is the slide. While I know it would be terrific fun, having the top go straight into the house part means critters will be getting in there pretty quickly.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, this series of smaller treehouses was built to blend into the natural environment. It is actually quite tricky to make out all of the structure which has a special secret.
The structures at either end are regular treehouses and the one in the middle is home to a movie projector. If you look to the right of the picture, you will see the screen on which the lucky kids in this family get to experience their own, unique brand of family movie night.
This one is for those of you who with children who want your little ones to enjoy playing outdoors, but don't want them traipsing back into the house with dirty feet just to go to the washroom.
Not only does this treehouse have electricity and heating but it has its own outhouse, so you don't have to be cleaning the muddy floor after every visit to the bathroom. Either that or you could let the kids have the run of the house and take yourself out into this beautifully constructed hideaway and never have to go in the house again.
Who says treehouses can only be for the children? Or even for the parents and children to share? This home away from home was built with adults firmly at the forefront of the design process.
Tucked away in a secluded corner, far away from any prying eyes, you could be free to sit in the hot tub wearing only your birthday suit if that was your wish. No need to scramble for a towel either, just step out and wander back into the treehouse with the sun on your skin and the wind in your hair.
And just think: If you could afford this treehouse in your garden, you would probably have a nanny to keep an eye on the children so you could enjoy yourself and relax without constant requests for juice boxes or snacks.
Just because you do not have trees on your property that are suitable for a luxury treehouse, doesn't mean you should be denied your luxury treehouse.
If you are unlucky enough only to have vast, beautiful grounds in which to build, then you can still have the hideaway experience, although in this case there is not much hiding to be had.
For "only" $100,000 you too could have a two floor, double glazed, heated, multi-room playhouse in which your pre-schoolers can hang out. Even if you have to slum it and have the entire structure built on a special platform because your trees are not strong enough to hold a mini-mansion.
This feels less like a treehouse and more like a house that happens to have been built in among the trees. The modern lines work surprisingly well in the natural setting, an achievement that is perhaps helped by the fact that the house is built from beautiful cedar wood.
That top deck looks like it would be a fabulous lookout spot or just the place to sit back, put up your feet, and watch the sun go down, without the kids to bother you of course. Mind you, if you had the $180,000 needed to build this place in your garden I am sure you could shell out another $100K or so for a junior version.
This "distressed" look structure is the treehouse equivalent to buying ready-slashed jeans. Although the treehouse in this image was built by a dad, over twenty years, you can buy a similar design from one of the luxury treehouse builders for the very reasonable sum of $200,000.
Does it remind anyone else of The Burrow from Harry Potter?
This might be more than many people pay for their regular house, but that doesn't stop the company who builds these fantasies in wood, having a waiting list of over three years. In the purchased version everything from the internal banisters to the door and window frames is handmade and carved to look like the inside of a pirate's or castaway's home.
This house was specifically designed for a couple as a "retreat on the grounds of their ranch."
An upper platform in the tallest point houses a queen bed and the kitchen has plumbing, electricity and granite counter-tops. The rope bridge leads to an observation platform so you can sit and watch the local deer, wild boar and wild turkeys on the forest floor.
Because much of the lumber for the treehouse was milled on-site from logs salvaged in the family's grounds and waterways, the costs were lower than they might be otherwise. The treehouse, as shown would set you back approximately $125,000.
Built as part of an "outdoor games room" these three interconnected treehouses are all slightly different. Built-in cedar, with copper roofs, they were designed to look like a small village at the edge of the forest. The houses can be entered through rope bridges, drawbridges, rope ladders regular ladders or trap doors, so there is plenty of scope for popping in and surprising the kiddos.
Not that you would need to. Just behind where the photographer is standing is the adult's crescent-shaped treehouse which is complete with indoor gym, sauna, and multimedia room.
The entire complex would set you back a cool $2 million.
My first thought when I saw this fairy tale treehouse was, "Blimey, I wouldn't want our kids climbing about on rope ladders that far up in the air." Seeing those wooden rungs slung between a pair of ropes immediately set off my protective mama instincts.
Fortunately, the rope ladders are for just for show, and there are some safe and sturdy steps inside the far structure. I should think so too, for upwards of $85,000 I would want an onsite medic on standby to ensure my kids were OK.
Sources: baumraum.de, highlifetreehouses.co.uk