Tree houses aren't just for kids any more. These days, plenty of adults choose to play, stay, eat and live in homes supported by big beautiful boughs. Here are a few of the many impressive modern tree houses built for adults.
Tree House Lodge
When you visit the rain forest of Costa Rica, the Tree House Lodge is perhaps the best place to feel at-one with nature while still enjoying the creature comforts of a full kitchen and bathroom. The tree house is split into two levels, offering a small half-bathroom and a king size bed upstairs and a double bed, a single bed and a kitchen downstairs. The in-tree structures let you feel like you are truly living inside the forest, while screens will make sure you're sheltered from bugs while you sleep. With a space this open, you never know who might stop by for breakfast -perhaps even a local sloth.
The furniture and structures are all made from sustainable wood culled from local trees that have naturally fallen.
Tree House Point
As you may be able to guess from the name, Tree House Point is a forest retreat that features a number of tree houses for rent. Cabins range from snug and cozy to spacious and private and each one is as unique as the trees they are built upon. The two-story Trillium is particularly impressive with massive windows lining the top and bottom floors.
Roderick Romero is one of the biggest names in tree house design and his website's gallery is evidence not only of his versatility and skill, but also his popularity as his incredible projects are scattered throughout the globe thanks to clients who insist on working only with Romero. Perhaps his most famous work though is the Lantern House of Santa Monica, CA, which was constructed with 99% salvaged lumber and is fitted with recycled stained glass.
Minister's Tree House
Also called Horace Burgess' House, this crazily-constructed tree house was built by one man, Minister Horace Burgess, who claims God told him to create the church/house. Horace managed to build a combined house and ministry for only $12,000 thanks to his clever use of recycled materials.
The 100-foot structure is over ten-stories tall, features a bell tower and a basketball court, and it holds the Guinness World Record for the largest tree house. Unfortunately, the fame that arrived with the title also brought the structure unwanted attention and the tree house has been shut down by the Tennessee Fire Marshall's Office for the last two years. While supporters have worked to bring the structure up to code and petitioned to get the building exempted from the law, the popular roadside attraction is now viewable from the outside only.
Images courtesy of Frank Kehren's Flickr
We have already featured one of Terunobu Fujimori's fairytale-like tree houses, and his Takasugi-an tea house in Chino, Japan is equally impressive and magical. The beautiful structure is supported by two chestnut trees and can only be accessed by climbing the free-standing ladders perched against one of the trees. The interior is lined with plaster and bamboo mats, providing for a simple, but comfortable place to serenely sip tea and enjoy the impressive views.
Glowing and hovering like a Japanese lantern caught in the wind, the 4Treehouse is the epitome of stylish, modern tree house design. In an effort to protect the pristine, natural setting of the property, Four-O-Nine chose two wrap a three-story structure around four established trees. Working with both arborists and builders, the team developed a balloon frame that would hang from the four trees without damaging them.
Steampunk Tree House
Can something really be called a tree house if it's not constructed on an actual tree? The people behind the Steampunk Tree House certainly think so, as they constructed their whimsical structure atop a manmade structure built from reclaimed wood. Of course, there are upsides to building a tree house on an artificial tree -you can move this one wherever you please, for example.
Perhaps more of a "tree venue" than a traditional tree house, the Redwoods Treehouse of New Zealand is a one-of-kind event space available for rent. Whether used for a corporate event, a private dinner or a small wedding, there's no way guests will soon forget the unique, seashell-like sanctuary any time soon.
Alnwick Garden Treehouse
England's Alnwick Garden Treehouse is one of those fantastic places where adults may find themselves playing just as much as their children. With wobbly rope bridges, an educational center and more, the tree house has more than enough activities to entertain children and the restaurant located in the heart of the tree house, as well as the bar on the terrace, will make sure adults also leave with a smile on their face.
Free Spirit Spheres
Sometimes you want to get away from it all and really feel at one with nature. But why settle for a boring tent on the ground when you could stay in a Free Spirit Sphere that allows you to feel the slight sway of the trees and enjoy an improved view of the natural scenery? Available on Vancouver Island, Canada, these hand-carved, tree-house spheres are tethered to the forest trees by a web of ropes. Each sphere features a heating unit, a bed, speakers and a space to make coffee or tea.
The Studebaker Family Tree House
When we move into a home, most of us have plans for what we can do with the property after we settle in. It's pretty common for those goals to get pushed back again and again as life gets in the way, and that's just what happened to the Studebaker family in Burlingame, California. When they moved into their home in 1994, they planned to add a tree house to the beautiful, 100-year-old oak in the back yard. But it took them ten years to get around to actually building it.
While it took a while for the project to come together, this beautiful space was worth the wait as it provided a beautiful and comfortable guest house to visitors. Eventually, friends and neighbors became so fond of the structure that the Studebakers started renting out the space to travelers from around the globe. It goes to show that a great tree house doesn't require a big name architect, just a little inspiration and elbow grease.
If you still haven't gotten enough gorgeous tree houses, be sure to catch Blue Forest's Living the Highlife, Baumraun's Treehouse Solling, Terunobu Fujimori's cherry blossom viewing tower and Mithun's Sustainability Treehouse.