The Treehouse: A Beautiful Natural Built Home


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Categories: Homes / Dwellings

Sierra Sander built a tree house back in 2014, this is her story in her own words.

In August of 2014, eight months after I had graduated with my B.A. in Cultural Anthropology I traveled from California to North West Washington to begin my first build of many. For five weeks I worked alongside natural builder Sunray Kelley as we built a two-story studio sized cedar treehouse with nothing but our bare hands, a drill, and a chainsaw.

When I first arrived, the two giant girders were set in place and held by four large chains. Our first day we built a table at the base of the treehouse and began screwing down the deck boards that came from the freshly milled cedar on site. Next, we framed our first story in the shape of a hexagon to resemble a yurt, we then added external walls to the yurt for the bathroom. We put our second story joists up, our second deck, and then framed the walls to our second story yurt.

During this time we continuously hoisted lumber up the second and third platform with a 1940’s boom truck, and used a small John Deer tractor to move the rest of our supplies. Our next step was getting our siding on the structure; some boards were only a single story high, while others spanned the full length. These larger boards were trickier for Sunray and I to carry up and screw down as we usually had to be on a different level of the structure in order to do this.

We finally stabilized the center hexagon where the cupola would eventually sit, and attached the rafters and triangle boards of wood that jutted out from the center. We also found a dead cherry tree in the forest, cut it down and used it to center our spiral stairwell.

I went back to California for the winter and returned in the spring after building three zero-net energy houses on Lopez Island, Washington. Sunray had installed some of the windows and doors during that time and when I came back to visit we set to work for a few weeks picking up where we had left off.

We put on more siding and worked on the roof. Climbing up 30ft cedar trees, we sat on our wooden roof boards as we laid down tar paper, foam insulation and foam spray to seal the cracks. We placed pond liner on top and used screws with washers to hold the pond liner in place below the roofline.

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