16 Experts Reveal 27 (2023)

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Few things are cooler than a killer treehouse.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Yet, most of them are fairly generic. So how can you elevate your treehouse to the realm of the truly legendary?

To find the answer, we surveyed 16 of the world’s top treehouse experts. We asked each one to list two Must Have features to create a killer treehouse.

The results absolutely blew us away. The experts came at the question from all sorts of different angles. In this post, you’ll get the best of their wisdom, in a format that allows you to apply it to your own projects.

So let’s dig right in with the Must Have features that can elevate your treehouse to legendary status.

Treehouses by their very nature are surrounded by beauty. We’ll start off with those features that can best help your treehouse fit in with that natural beauty.

Build an Elegant Relationship with the Tree

Barbara Butler of Artist-Builder, Inc.( 16 Experts Reveal 27 (2) 16 Experts Reveal 27 (3) )points out that we must have an “elegant relationship with the tree so that the grace of the tree is enhanced by the structure, not hidden and burdened by it.”

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Barbara Butler Artist-Builder, Inc., USA

Achieve Height to Improve Your Views

The allure of a treehouse is the idea of living in the canopy of the trees, so any proper one should provide its tenants with an overlook of the forest floor while nesting them within the boughs of the trees. In the end the treehouse must be at peace with its environment and its users must be at peace within. Robert Oshatz,Oshatz.com.

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Robert Oshatz, Architect, USA

Carefully Select Your View

David Rasmussen of


adds that the first must have for a treehouse is a view towards something special not necessarily something grand, but the view is important.

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David Rasmussen Design, Inc., USA

Preserve the Trees Around You

Of course, when building the treehouse, you must take this environment into account.

Treehouses "must have" trees. This may seem obvious and redundant, but it is the essence of a treehouse. It is also the way one approaches the building space. If one is truly treehousing they change the building site very little. This means no heavy machinery! There is not "lot clearing" in a treehouse build. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people clear huge sections of the tree's canopy to put a treehouse in.

-Will Beilharz,Artis Treehomes.

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ArtisTree, USA

Intimately Know Your Tree

Italian Treehouse builder Stefano La Rocca of La Casa Sullalbero ITemphasizes that you must “have a very thorough knowledge of the species in general and the tree in question.” He adds that it is best to prune the trees before applying weight, and suggests monitoring your tree each year as the trees do shift even if we often don’t notice.

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La Casa Sullalbero Design Studio, Italy

Create Ample Outside Deck Space

Pete Nelson of Nelson Treehouse & Supplywas the first to chime in with this response, and several other experts echoed this piece of advice.

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Nelson Treehouse & Supply, USA

David Rasmussen adds that you need deck or outdoor space to enjoy the ecosystem of the tree canopy.

Catherine Hills of Blue Forest UK, Ltd(16 Experts Reveal 27 (10) )elaborates “An outdoor decking area or platform, for people to sit amongst the branches and really connect with the natural surroundings. It’s the perfect multi-functional space to complement the treehouse, and can be used for all sorts of activities from relaxing with a book to eating lunch with the family al-fresco style.”

Build a Crow’s Nest Above the Treehouse

It’s the perfect spot for reading, relaxing, or just observing the tree habitat that’s naturally all around us. Caleb White,New Leaf Treehouse Company.

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New Leaf Treehouse Company, USA

Stick to Natural Building Materials that Fit Your Environment

Robert Oshatz founder of Oshatz.Comtells us: Ample amounts of wood and natural materials help to bring the forest right into your living space.

Zero Environmental Impact is the ideal, as pointed out by Stefano La Rocca. The goal is to awaken a love of the beauty and value of nature.

Attie Jonker of Azzanartsechoes this, adding: To encounter the ultimate treehouse experience make use of as much repurposed materials as possible. Its not what you have its what you do with it that counts. longevity is always on the front of my thinking, How can I make this last for as long as possible, Memories of tree houses become legacies that gets passed on for generations.

Let Your Imagination Soar

Treehouses "must have" imagination. Treehouses are meant to be fun. They stretch the imagination with what is possible. I think they remind us of a time where our imaginations ran wild. It is only fitting that we design and build things that play with the whimsical nature of our imaginations. Obviously each build space has its physical constraints based on budget and trees, but that's not where we start. We start with: what can I imagine? Will Beilharz,Artis Treehomes.

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Just Don’t Let Your Imagination Delude You: It Takes Hard Work

Ricardo Brunelli of Casa Na Arvore( 16 Experts Reveal 27 (13) )agrees with the comment about imagination, just cautions you to not let your imagination completely disconnect you from reality. Einstein once said that the imagination is more important than knowledge and I couldn’t agree more with him, however, keep in mind that sweat and hard work will also be required besides the imagination if you want accomplish your dream of having a treehouse. Don’t forget to have fun even when you are sweating and working hard. I have some amazing memories of my first treehouse built with bamboo and banana leafs on the roof when I was 11 years old.

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Casa Na Arvore, Brasil

Let the Spirit of the Project Have a Voice

It’s more about escaping into the almost magical experience of the setting. My units are not all livable spaces, instead we focus on the interaction we have with the natural elements we partner with in the setting. We get a plan then I normally throw it in the trashcan. One can simply not preconceive the spirit of the build. Build with lots of joy and creativity and capture what is around you. Attie Jonker,Azzanarts.com.

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Azzanarts, USA

When building a Treehouse, Even Adults Must Have the Heart of a Child

Adventure and Make-Believe every time…there is such passion and emotion around the word ’treehouse’, everyone remembers the treehouse they had as a child or the treehouse they wished they had as a child, and there lies the fundamental ‘must-have'…a treehouse must have a re-connection with the Inner-Child in us all, reaching through Adventure and Make-Believe deep into our childhood heart. Paul Cameron,Treehouse Life.

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Treehouse Life Ltd., UK

Safety First, Especially for Kids Treehouses

Railings everywhere, the access to the treehouse must be secure, make sure there are no nails/screws sticking out and no sharp edges. Antoine Buliard,Tree-Fort Builders.

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Tree-fort Builders, LLC, USA

Use Ropes to be Gentle on the trees and Suspend the Treehouses in the Air

Ropes may be somewhat less obvious, however, they are an integral part of our unique treehouse design and rigging technology. Ropes are somewhat elastic, and so by suspending between trees, we significantly enhance the resilience of the treehouse within the dynamic forest environment. Ropes also allow us to install treehouses in the forest without puncturing the trees.

Give them the experience of being safely suspended, floating above the forest floor! Tom Chudleigh,Free Spirit Spheres.

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Free Spirit Spheres, Inc., Canada

Don’t Forget Windows and Openings, especially in Adult Treehouses

Antoine Buliard says we need: Lots of outward openings! Windows allow to appreciate Nature and trees; and to let the sunshine & natural light enter the treehouse!

Tom Chudleigh agrees:

Windows so that the occupants of the treehouse really get the feeling and experience of being within the forest and a part of the canopy.

Probably our most common responses involved the fun features that allow a treehouse experience to come to life.

Add Something to Put a Smile on Your Face

As Simon Payne ofBlue Forest points out:

We always believe that it’s the finer details that can make a treehouse special, so our designs always include a feature that will put a smile on your face. From rope bridges and secret tunnels to doors disguised as book cases and outdoor fire pits, it’s that extra touch of magic that makes a structure a treehouse.

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Blue Forest UK, Ltd., UK

Develop A Sense of Mystery

Barbara Butler adding a list that includes: Secret escapes, multiple entrances & exits, cubbyholes, surprises.

Some other fun features include:

Hang up a Zipline

“Ziplines can use the treehouse as a built in launch platform, and glide across the yard to a safe landing spot,” says Dan Wright of Tree Top Builders( 16 Experts Reveal 27 (20) 16 Experts Reveal 27 (21) ).

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Tree Top Builders, Inc., USA

Suspend a Bridge

Dan Wright also gave this idea, pointing out, “Bridges can connect the treehouse to other tree platforms, to the second story deck on your house, or to the ground on a sloped terrain.”

Caleb White Co-owner of New Leaf Treehouse Companyadds “For children, we love building bridges to enlarge the play space and add a sense of adventure. Indiana Jones style.”

Create a Loft Bedroom for Overnight Stays

As Pete Nelson points out, this can add fun and function to your treehouse experience.

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Nelson Treehouse & Supply, USA

Dustin Feider of O2 Treehouse(16 Experts Reveal 27 (24) )added three more fun features.

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O2 Treehouse, USA

Trap Doors (extra points if it connects to a rope ladder)

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Barbara Butler Artist-Builder, Inc., USA

Assemble a Bucket Pull to Pull Stuff Up

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Build Secret Storage Nooks

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Construct Skylights in the Floor

For the extra personal touch, try using stained glass. Michael Murphy,Barefoot Treehouses (16 Experts Reveal 27 (30)).

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Barefoot Treehouses, USA

Hang Cedar Monkey Bars Under the Treehouse

Just don’t forget a safety net to catch those falling monkeys, Michael also warns.

Create Spectacular Themed Decor

From branches to leaves to acorns to birds, we sell cabinet knobs and pulls themed to fit right into a treehouse decor. And while our selection may stop at knob, there are hundreds of decor items that can give personality to your treehouse.

The Ted Boerner Collection by Rocky Mountain Hardware

The Linea Oliva Collection by Jaye Design Hardware

We’re giving the last word among our experts to Ricardo Brunelli. Now that we’ve gone through all of the Must-Have elements to have a Killer Treehouse, here’s what you truly need to get started:

Now You Must Develop the Will

The first “must-have for treehouses” in my opinion is the will. Without the real desire of a treehouse, chances are that your dream will not become reality. You may hear all kinds of negative opinions even before you get started. In my case I heard that the wind would blow it away, that the branches would break, that the tree growth is complicated and so on. People’s negative opinion will do small damage if your will to build a treehouse is up high. In fact, they can even help as you will need to prove your point. In my case, every time the wind was blowing hard or the weather was extremely bad, I would go to check how was the treehouse behaving on those situations and that is how I ended up learning how to use cables in order to guarantee safety and longevity of my treehouse. The will involves determination and perseverance and that is why I see it as the number one must-have.

We were truly humbled to receive such amazing responses from so many of the top names in treehouses worldwide. We are so grateful for all of the contributions.

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Now it’s your turn.

What’s your favorite treehouse feature?

Have any great tips?

Join our discussion and share below:

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