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Design Basics

The Mt. Hood Tree House combines several unique components to create an adventurous and safe experience.  One of the challenges inherent to Tree House design is the unavoidable fact that you are dealing with a living, dynamic foundation: live trees.  And trees grow and change.  We desired a "true" tree house, one that had a design that was solely supported by the trees.  We had the goal of a Tree House was not touching the ground in any way.

Fastening the tree house foundation to the tree(s) has several challenging obstacles:

  • Limiting any damage to the health of the trees,
  • Allowing for growth in the years to come, and
  • Making it safe

Essentially the trees  need to be able to grow and move.

We accomplished these goals through a unique design.  Dave first stumbled on the concept while walking across the Sky Bridge at the Portland International airport.  He realized the sky bridge was connecting two large structures, and that the sky bridge needed to be able to flex and move to accommodate the inevitable movement in the buildings.  That is when he noticed that the sky bridge was suspended from above, not supported from below.

The Mt. Hood Tree House has two beams that are supported by a suspension system that allows the beams to move as the trees grow.  The result is a 'foundation' that can accommodate tree movement in high winds, and movement related to growth and changes in the trees and earth.

Our engineering friends reminded us of the need for redundancy measures in the case of design failure.  Hence there are back-up measures in place (the porch/deck structure underneath the Mt. Hood Tree House).

The result is a Tree House that moves. If you visit you are likely to get a bit of a thrill when you feel the tree house respond to nature, such as winds, and also to human impact, such as simply walking around in the Tree House.

Our Story

Hollis and Dave conceived of the Magical Treehouse in 2009.  They attended a treehouse building workshop which featured Pete Nelson of Treehouse Masters.  The first beam was lifted into place the summer of 2010.  Dave, and his college roommate friend of  4 decades Vern, began framing the walls.  Construction continued in 2011, but was halted when Hollis was diagnosed with breast cancer.  The project was on-hold while Dave, family and friends supported her in the treatment and recovery process throughout 2011 and 2012.  In the summer of 2012 construction resumed.  Over the next two years numerous family and friends chipped in with designing and construction ideas, and hands on help.  Shout-outs to Vern, Chuck, and Mike for their contributions.  At one point or another each of our six kids (Rachel, Peter, Esther, Aidan, David and Dylan) pitched in.  The evolving, organic project was completed in 2014, with our first guest staying that summer.  Since then we have continued to fine tune decorating and some additions.  The Summer of 2017 saw the addition of an outdoor shower and an upgraded composting toilet.  The summer of 2020 saw the completion of a glamping latrine/outhouse. We've loved this process so much Dave is having fantasies of building a second Treehouse!

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"Wow. Wow. Wow. This is not only an amazing place, but the property is special all on its own. We will definitely be making a trip back. The treehouse design is perfect and uses the space really well. The outdoor shower was so awesome, and with the small fireplace inside of it, the cold was no match. The pups are so friendly and welcoming. Hollis and Dave did a fantastic job with the treehouse, and I am so glad they are willing to share the place with us. It is the perfect getaway!"

Mel, Nov 2017