There’s something about human dwellings perched in trees that brings out the child in all of us, gazing up in wonder at seemingly endless staircases and platforms so near the sky. These 13 tree houses range from rustic cabins that seem like overgrown versions of children’s playhouses to modern interpretations gleaming in glass and stainless steel.
Fairytale-Inspired Forest Tree House, British Columbia
Deep in the woods of British Columbia is the Enchanted Forest, a fairytale-like theme park filled with ‘jolly fairy folk figurines’, boardwalks, nature trails, castles and BC’s tallest tree house. The latter is certainly a magical place, spiraling into the air, supported both by tree trunks and added beams.
Reverend Burgess’ Reclaimed Tree house, Tennessee
Thought to be one of the largest tree houses in the world, this wacky structure located in the small town of Crossville, Tennessee was built over 15 years by Reverend Burgess, who believes he’s on a divine mission. Burgess has built the 10-story, 100-foot structure out of reclaimed wood, and it now occupies six mature trees.
Camp Tree house
Camp Tree house was built by a group of friends for Wandawega Rentals, a private resort in Wisconsin. The two-story tree house was built on an old dead tree trunk and includes a wrap-around porch, a vaulted ceiling with a loft, a hammock, a ladder and a rope swing. Nearly all materials were reused or handmade.
Lord Northumberland’s Scottish Tree house
Another contender for the world –s largest tree house was built for an astonishing $7 million in 2006 (compare that to the $12,000 spent by Reverend Burgess!) Scotland’s Lord Northumberland commissioned the tree house from Tree house Company. It features disabled access and full facilities for its 120-seat restaurant. The tree house is suspended between 16 lime trees and is located on the grounds of Alnwick Gardens.
Lifepod by Kyu Che Studio
A traveling yurt that can be placed nearly anywhere, the ‘Lifepod’ by Kyu Che Studio also makes for one incredible (and slightly scary, for those afraid of heights) suspended tree house. The prefab pod home concept can be shipped world wide within weeks of ordering, and fits within a 40-foot shipping container.
Sky High Tree house, Saleve Mountain, France
This unbelievably high tree house is perched near the apex of a 130-foot Austrian pine in Saleve Mountain, France. The tree house is supported by a hidden ring; guests who brave the nearly 70-foot spiral staircase are rewarded with views of Lake Geneva.
Home Built Around a Tree
Homes like this unidentified castle-like abode prove that homeowners building on untouched land don’t necessarily have to clear out trees in order to bring their dream home to life. This tree house appears to be about one story above the ground, with branches poking through the roof and deck.
Nussraum, Düsseldorf, Germany
Supported on stainless steel legs, the Nussraum design by Baumraum, a German company specializing in modern tree houses, could either be assembled around a tree like conventional tree houses, or stand alone. Nussraum, which translates as ‘Walnut Room’, gets its name from the walnut wood used to create it. This one stands in a garden in Düsseldorf.
Towering Twin Tree houses
The provenance of this incredible tree house photo is unknown, but it’s certainly captivating. Two tiny cabins teeter atop fir trees, accessible via spiraling staircases.
Cedar Spire, Fife, Scotland
Located on an estate in Fife, Scotland, Cedar Spire is a castle-like tree house with stained glass windows, a turret-like main room, a balcony and a suspended walkway leading to a viewing platform on an adjacent tree.
Pharrell Williams’ Eco Tree house Concept
Rapper Pharrell Williams is collaborating with architect Chad Oppenheim on a vision for a tree house-inspired youth center in William’s hometown of Virginia Beach. The 30,000-square-foot Pharrell Williams Resource Center features three modern volumes set within a dense forest.
Wilkinson Tree house by Robert Oshatz
Noting the sloped grade of the site, architect Robert Harvey Oshatz saw an opportunity to bring the main level of a commissioned home up into the tree canopy. The Wilkinson Residence is an organic, flowing home with shapes that mimic those in nature. While the home is not supported by trees like a traditional tree house, it achieves a similar effect with its unusual shape.
Spiral House, Rambouillet Forest, France
Hidden within Rambouillet Forest in France, the Spiral House is a tiny cabin high up in a tree, accessible only by a tall staircase.
DIY Traditional Tree House
This tree house, built without help from an architect or skilled carpenter, perches almost frighteningly high in the sky on just a few skinny supports. Used as a tea house in Japan, the tree house was created by a tea master who harvested the logs for the support from a local mountain.
Takashi Kobayashi Tree house
Designed for an advertising agency client, which used it to film an ad for Nescafe commercial, this rustic, playful tree house resembles a bird’s nest. It was conceived and built by Takashi Kobayashi, one of Japan’s foremost tree house designers.
“What exactly is it about tree houses that would so captivate a slacker like me, a man who could never devote himself to any one cause or finish anything he started?” says Kobayashi. “What is it in tree houses that attract anyone? I’ve come to think the answer lies in the vitality of the trees themselves. Everlasting life.”