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Treehouses from around the world

As a child we love the idea of being able to live in the trees, some of us even had a treehouse in our backyard. But as we grow up we like the idea of living with our feet on the ground and our head out of the trees, or do we? Take a look at these treehouses from around the world and decide for yourself.

Too High Tea House



Terunobu Fujimori’s tea house, Takasugi-an, which literally means “a tea house too high,” stands in Chino, Nagano Prefecture, Japan, atop three chestnut trees. The house is accessible only by ladder, and guests must remove their shoes and leave them on the platform before venturing inside for tea. As an architect, Fujimori is known for his innovative and often whimsical designs, and this freestanding structure certainly pushes the limits of a conventional teahouse.

Free Spirit Spheres



These spheres were created with the concept of “oneness” in mind, so the floor, walls and ceiling create one continuous space unlike a conventional building. They utilize biomimicry and are designed to fit into a forest setting without altering it. Free Spirit Spheres use trees as their foundation, which the designers say reflects our connectedness to nature, and because they’re suspended in the air, the human footprint is drastically reduced. The shell of this unique treehouse can withstand impacts, and the web of ropes that suspend it are made of a stretchy material that allow both the sphere and the trees to move freely.

Minister's Treehouse



The world’s largest treehouse sits in the small town of Crossville, Tenn., and took 14 years and 258,000 nails for minister Horace Burgess to build. Burgess began working on the structure in 1993 when he had vision in which God spoke to him and said, “If you build me a treehouse, I’ll see you never run out of material.”

Today, the 10-story treehouse is supported by six trees, rises 97 feet into the sky and is constructed completely of salvaged materials. It’s estimated to be about 12,000 square feet and houses a sanctuary and a basketball court. The top deck is situated 20 feet above the tops of the trees, where visitors can see Burgess’ flower garden that spells out J-E-S-U-S. "The whole message of the thing is if you come to see the site and climb to the top, you'll see Jesus in the garden, and the preacher didn't have to say a word," Burgess says.

4Treehouse



When Lukasz Kos designed 4Treehouse, he wanted it to be an exercise in minimizing the impact on the trees, the building site and nature itself. With this in mind, the two-ton lattice-frame structure was suspended 20 feet above the forest floor with steel cables, and the treehouse is anchored to the tree trunks with just one puncture hole in each of the four trunks. Visistors to the unique structure at Lake Muskoka in Ontario, Canada, enter the two-story structure via a rolling staircase.

Temple of the Blue Moon



This charming treetop cottage is just one of the many treehouse lodgings available at Pete Nelson’s Treehouse Point in Issaquah, Wash. Nelson, a world-renowned treehouse builder and author, created this sustainable destination as a beautiful, educational getaway that provides visitors with a unique way to connect with nature. The Temple of the Blue Moon sits partway up a 300-year-old, 160-foot-tall Sitka Spruce and boasts skylights, built-in cedar beds and handmade quilts.

Redwoods Treehouse Restaurant



This gorgeous treehouse was built in New Zealand as part of a marketing campaign for Yellow Book. Amateur entrepreneurs were challenged to build a restaurant 30 feet up a redwood tree using only those resources they could find in Yellow Book’s directory. The treetop restaurant took 66 days to build and employed more than 60 businesses. Two thousand people dined in the Redwoods Treehouse Restaurant upon completion.

Nescafé Treehouse



Takashi Kobayashi, one of the world’s leading treehouse builders, designed this unique structure when Nestlé hired him to create a treehouse for a Japanese TV commercial. Kobayashi built the bird’s nest of a house 12 feet high and then added a spiral staircase. Today, the treehouse sits in a field in Kamishihoro, Japan, but while it’s incredibly enticing, the house is off-limits to visitors.

O2 Sustainability Tree House



Dustin Feider had a different vision for treehouses than the conventional shack-like wooden structures often seen in suburban backyards. He wanted to design an eco-friendly structure that could sit among the trees without harming them, and that’s how he created the first O2 Sustainability Tree House. These unique treetop domes are constructed entirely of recycled materials, and they hang from cables instead of being bolted to trees so their impact is minimal.

Enchanted Forest Treehouse



The treehouse in Canada’s Enchanted Forest theme park looks like a children’s picture book come to life. British Columbia’s tallest treehouse is supported by several tree trunks and boasts a long spiral staircase that connects the structure’s multiple levels.

Lantern House



Roderick Romero is known for building treehouses for stars like Sting and Val Kilmer, but it’s his desire to live a more minimalist, ahimsa-focused life that first inspired him to create his treetop masterpieces. His Lantern House is situated among three eucalyptus trees in Santa Monica, Calif., and 99 percent of it was built with salvaged lumber — including the stained glass, which he recovered from an old movie set. “I can’t imagine building in the Trees while knowing that the materials I use could be contributing to a clearcut somewhere else on the planet,” Romero says.

Beach Rock Tree House



Kobayashi Takashi built this breathtaking treehouse in 2005 with the purpose of communicating with outer space. Perched in the treetops of Okinawa this “plexiglass portal to the universe” is a popular attraction at Japan’s rustic Beach Rock Resort.

Finca Bellavista community



Finca Bellavista is unlike any other place on Earth. The 350-acre site on Costa Rica’s southern coast is the first modern sustainable treehouse community. Construction began about three years ago, and today the location is home to five houses and 24 buildings, including a community center — all suspended in the trees. Finca Bellavista is situated among mountains, beaches and rivers so one can imagine the breathtaking views available from a Costa Rican treetop home.

Every treehouse here is one-of-a-kind because each structure’s design varies based on elevations and available trees. This community is also unique because of its emphasis on sustainability. Small homes are encouraged, and all units are required to utilize rainwater collection and to be connected to the local electrical grid, which uses solar power.

Alnwick Garden Treehouse



This massive structure is located in the UK’s Alnwick Garden and was completed in 2005. Due to the house’s size, a network of wooden braces must support it, so it’s not a treehouse in the traditional sense of the word. However, it stretches high into the treetops and several trees grow right through the floor and up past the roof. The building is home to a restaurant that serves gourmet local food.

Kadir's Tree House



Kadir’s Tree House is one of the world’s most unique hostels because it offers guests the opportunity to live out every child’s dream and sleep in one of its many treehouses. This charming hostel is located on the Mediterranean coast in southern Turkey and is in close proximity to the country’s ancient ruins and nature reserves.

Steampunk Tree House



The Steampunk Tree House was created in 2007 by Sean Orlando and more than 60 San Francisco artists in an effort to explore the relationship between people and our rapidly changing natural world. The 40-foot-tall structure is composed of steel, recycled wood and clockwork components, and it’s styled after Victorian architecture and the work of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne.

Blum House



O2 Treehouse architect Dustin Feider began building the Blum House in 2009. His inspiration for the house came from Antonio Scarpa, a designer whose work looks at how we experience space.

Firesphere House



Roderick Romero’s Firesphere House was built on three eucalyptus trees in the backyard of a Brentwood, Calif., couple. The entire house was built in Romero’s signature sustainable style using reclaimed wood, salvaged windows and vintage stained glass from Buenos Aires. The house features a large porch and viewing deck that was made from tree branches found in the yard.

Greenwich Village Treehouse



A treehouse in the backyard of a New York home may not seem to share the same glory as these other arboreal works of art, but this is “the little treehouse that could,” according to its owner. Shortly after Melinda Hackett put up the circular cedar treehouse for her three girls, the police showed up at her door. A neighbor had complained about the structure and filed a complaint with the city, but after months of legal battles, Hackett won. Not only was the treehouse allowed to stay, but it was also granted landmark status.


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