Friday, 26 September 2014

Cotswold tree house

Why I love building tree houses

As a child, my fondest memories were that of unstructured play in spaces which were created and constructed by myself and my siblings.  These spaces were not frequented by adults nor designed by them. When I build tree houses for children I look back at this time for my inspiration.  A tree house should be a place for a child to escape the adult world and live out their fantasies; to play, climb and enjoy being the special time that is childhood.

I have been designing products for many years but nothing beats designing and building a tree house. Starting with a rough idea (based on what the garden and tree has to offer) you then need to address the client's needs and budget. The initial design work and material commissioning are part of the standard design process, but then you enter the building process. This is the part that I enjoy most; all the planing has to take a back seat as the reality of working with what nature has to offer takes precedence. These challenges need solutions that will not stray far from the original design. Building tree houses challenges ones design and creative ability like no other discipline of design I have encountered.

The time spent building a tree house allows one to experience the sounds, smells, and sights of the garden around you.  I have always loved nature, preferring to spend as much time as possible outdoors. Growing up in Africa, tree climbing was something that I did daily; whether it was to gain a better view, pick fruit, or purely to sit in and feel the fresh breeze of an in-coming storm. Climbing trees provided a different perspective of the world. The shear variety of trees, their size and form, make them one of my favorite living forms from the natural world.

Whether it is on rock or in a tree, nothing beats the thrill of climbing.  When building tree houses the body positions that you need to achieve in order to complete a project are often akin to the best moves needed to climb a difficult route.  I feel comfortable off the ground.  The fitness that is gained from climbing benefits the whole body.

The process of working the materials to develop a tree house is, for me, like entering a state of meditation.  I often work alone and I find myself at the end of a day thinking "where has the day gone?".  I leave tired but with an enormous feeling of well being.

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