Do you ever just want to climb up into a treehouse and escape the world? So did Jessica Brookhart. When an acre-sized slice of land in Gold Hill, Colorado, came on the market earlier this year, Brookhart snapped it up for $80,000 . . . because it came with a treehouse. Brookhart thought it was the perfect place to hang out with her husband and two young boys. “I had never been inside it,” she says, “but had admired it from a distance.”
The treehouse, built with materials from a recycling center, fits two adults and two children. It has no bathroom or running water, just a squat potty outside on the ground and a camping stove for cooking. So, yes, visitors to the treehouse will be “roughing it,” but they’ll also get a view from the treehouse windows of Longs Peak and the Continental Divide.
“Since I was a little girl, I was obsessed with little mini-houses, or sheds and treehouses,” Brookhart says. She sometimes rents the treehouse out online. It turns out other people are as eager to enjoy it as she was.
Treehouses of all kinds are experiencing a renaissance, and many kids-at-heart got to act out their treehouse dreams when grounded at home during the pandemic.
It’s just the newest episode in the long history of living in homes among the branches. Today, many kids use treehouses to play house. But once, treehouses were the house. People all over the world used treehouses as homes because being up off the ground could keep people and their food safe from wild animals and floods. In Southeast Asia, families came and went from their treehouse homes by riding in baskets up and down the tree trunks. With the exception of the Korowai tribe in Indonesia—who still use their ultra-tall tree homes for protection—most people now use treehouses just for fun.
In the Middle Ages, monks’ treehouses became spots to get away to pray. During the Renaissance, people built treehouses for decoration in their gardens. Today, visitors can stay in treehouse Airbnbs, the fanciest of which have all you’d want from a hotel—fine linens, throw pillows, indoor plumbing, air conditioning, heat, and showers.
Most treehouse builders, though, think basic is best. This year, many made makeshift treehouses in backyards to escape the four walls of home . . . without spending millions.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. — Proverbs 18:10
Why? The treehouse renaissance leads to a historical exploration. Over time, an invention designed mainly to provide shelter and safety has turned into a nostalgic and wholesome source of another God-designed need: fun!