Our quest to create unique and magical treehouses for our b í k u retreat has led us to ask the question, ‘What makes a treehouse a treehouse?’ Before we began our journey, we didn’t think there was much debate around what constitutes a treehouse – but, along the way we have found treehouses of all shapes and sizes, including some that are not even built in trees! We were shocked too!
For us, there are three essentials of a treehouse, as well some added bonuses which make a treehouse stay truly unbeatable. At b í k u – we’re aiming for the fundamentals as well as that icing on the cake!
Essentials of a treehouse
A treehouse must be:
- Off the ground
- In a tree (number 2 normally helps with number 1!)
Added bonuses for treetop living
For an amazing treetop stay, your treehouse should have:
- A unique design
- A swing bridge (of course – and perhaps a spiral staircase)
- An amazing view
When is a treehouse not a treehouse?
Most common definitions of a treehouse mention a structure that is built in a tree. The Treehouse Guide further defines a treehouse as, ‘A structure built in or around a tree which interacts with, and relies upon, the tree for its support. A treehouse consists of a roofed platform defining a sheltered space which may be fully enclosed for protection from the elements’.
I love the question that the Guide then asks, ‘Is it acceptable to use ground supports for a treehouse?’ And the answer is, it depends! This is clearly a hot topic of debate within the treehouse community.
The Guide also sets out three scenarios when a structure is not a treehouse, including when the house is fully ground supported and when the tree support is not structurally critical.
We have to say that on our journey, we’ve come across a large number of places misdefined as treehouses. And, it can be hugely disappointing when you’re looking forward to all the magic, nostalgia and quirkiness of a treehouse stay and, instead, find yourself in a building on stilts. Don’t get us wrong, there are some truly amazing and unique retreats and structures built in tree canopies that are magical – which we would love to stay at. But, please, just don’t call them a treehouse.
living-room, in Powys, Wales, does everything you’d expect and want from a treehouse, and more! Phenomenally designed, the treehouses almost disappear into the woodland. Nature and sustainability have been taken deeply into consideration. The treehouses are a piece of hobbit-like magic in a hidden valley that take you away from the daily grind to chance encounters with fairy tale creatures and …. Welsh sheep! It’s a beautiful place to be.
Photos from our visit to living-room, back in 2015.
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