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Breathtaking Treehouses That Reach New Heights

Jun 2, 2010

by PlanetGreendotcom

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Freelance writer Blythe Copeland turns out tips for a sustainable lifestyle for TreeHugger and PlanetGreen.com, where she writes about DIY crafts, fashion, beauty, books, music, and more. Currently, she lives in Baltimore with her husband and two cats — but since she’s relocated to four different cities in the last three years, she spends a lot of her free time on easy (and inexpensive) decorating and sewing projects.

If you hear “treehouse” and think “Swiss Family Robinson,” then you’re missing out on some of the coolest — and greenest — dwelling ideas out there. And while they’re not all as luxurious as the digs most of us are used to, treehouse designs are full of innovations that make the structures more practical than you might think.

This nearly invisible treehouse (above) by Tham and Videgard Hansson uses mirrors to cover the outside of the structure, allowing it to blend in with its forest surroundings (though since the plans don’t show a bathroom, expect to do some climbing on a regular basis).

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Photos by Obvious, Baumraum, and Treehugger

On the other end of the size scale, we have Horrace Burgess’ 10-story treehouse — the world’s largest — with 10,000 square feet of living space built from recycled and reclaimed lumber. German company Baumraum designs treehouses with a twist — and we mean that literally: their design for a giant redwood includes a spiral staircase that climbs the massive tree. Brazilian firm Casa Na Arvore turns out family-friendly dwellings that even the Robinsons would envy.

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Photo by O2 Sustainability

Treehouses made from reclaimed or FSC-certified wood (which is certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council) aren’t the only option, though; the O2 Sustinability Treehouse from designer Dustin Feider is made from sustainable materials — and you can install it yourself on any trunk. And scientists at MIT Media Lab’s Smart Cities Group are working on building homes not just trees but out of them, creating useful structures out of living treehouses. Of course, as this post points out, there’s “One major obstacle: to get a living treehouse to raise your budding family in, your own parents would have to contract the ‘building’ at your own birth.” 

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Photo by Hapuku Lodge

Not ready to make your treehouse home a permanent one? Try a treehouse hotel for your next vacation, such as the Hapuku Lodge in New Zealand, and cut the carbon footprint of your travel plans without losing any of the adventure.

Thanks to Planet Green for sharing their favorite sky-high homes.
Have you seen an inspiring treehouse? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Earth Tones | Eco-Friendly Items

86 comments

  • undermyfeet

    undermyfeet said 7 years ago

    Wow I think after reading this article I could be a Elf and life in a tree. Fantastic!

  • MaggieGlynn

    MaggieGlynn said 7 years ago

    I'd love to live in any one of these - magic!

  • pinkdandyshop

    pinkdandyshop said 7 years ago

    very ...very cool treehouses!

  • GaLiMa

    GaLiMa said 7 years ago

    Wow, every child's dream taken a few steps further!

  • avantanthologue

    avantanthologue said 7 years ago

    gorgeous!

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 7 years ago

    It all sounds great in theory, but surely treehouses need to be regularly disassembled for the health of the tree? Personally, I'd rather have an "uninhabited" healthy tree close to my home, than live in the most fabulous treehouse that eventually kills any tree large enough to hold it.

  • blackbirdtees

    blackbirdtees said 7 years ago

    So dreamy.

  • maggiemaevintage

    maggiemaevintage said 7 years ago

    Breathtaking!

  • LittleWeeShop

    LittleWeeShop said 7 years ago

    Would this mean your tree house would get further & further off the ground as the tree grew ;+) This goes hand in hand with my shop of reclaimed tree ring pillows. I'd love to vacation at the treehouse hotel I be it would bring me some great new inspiration, & take my shop to new hieghts (hee hee).

  • trashbaggs

    trashbaggs said 7 years ago

    last summer - I stayed at a treehouse bed and breakfast in oregon near crater lake... swam in the pond converted to swimming pool! loved it!

  • BululuStudio

    BululuStudio said 7 years ago

    Amazing finds.

  • CarryTheWord

    CarryTheWord said 7 years ago

    How fun!

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 7 years ago

    Absolutely love those tree houses!!!

  • girltuesdayjewelry

    girltuesdayjewelry said 7 years ago

    Wow! How cool would it be to spend a vacation in a treehouse hotel (in New Zealand, no less!)

  • GreenRoomStudios

    GreenRoomStudios said 7 years ago

    Wow! What an interesting article and what beautiful nd unique houses! I always wanted a treehouse... now if I could only get over that little "fear of heights" thing... :(

  • xoelle

    xoelle said 7 years ago

    I am in love.

  • xoelle

    xoelle said 7 years ago

    I am in love.

  • monkeyandsquirrel

    monkeyandsquirrel said 7 years ago

    oh my goodness... they are all absolutely amazing!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 7 years ago

    wow amazing houses they look fantastic! I'd love to stay in one of those.

  • LittleGreenShoot

    LittleGreenShoot said 7 years ago

    imagine the views you'd wake up to! (^_^) these tree houses remind me of the pods the Eloy people live in (The Time Machine!) Avatar-esque too!

  • polkadotmagpie

    polkadotmagpie said 7 years ago

    Love tree houses...so cool.

  • worksofwhimsy

    worksofwhimsy said 7 years ago

    My husband built an amazing A-frame treehouse for my kids using mostly reused building materials. It blends in beautifully. The only time my kids set foot in it is when they have their friends over--go figure.

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 said 7 years ago

    This is fantastic! I wouldn't mind having one of my own.

  • boutiqueseragun

    boutiqueseragun said 7 years ago

    Amazing house photos.

  • tiemee

    tiemee said 7 years ago

    Those are freakin' cool.

  • cristinapires

    cristinapires said 7 years ago

    W.O.W awesome..!!!

  • lovelythoughts101

    lovelythoughts101 said 7 years ago

    Woo :D! Want.

  • Minxshop

    Minxshop said 7 years ago

    Double want.

  • cottonbirddesigns

    cottonbirddesigns said 7 years ago

    Amazing!

  • catchalljewelry

    catchalljewelry said 7 years ago

    gosh they are so amazing!!

  • StarRedesigns

    StarRedesigns said 7 years ago

    So inspiring! Wouldn't it be neat to live in a tree? :)

  • kristimcmurry

    kristimcmurry said 7 years ago

    My roommate would love this! She's obsessed with treehouses and has been making art using the idea of a treehouse for...ever.

  • byhelenga

    byhelenga said 7 years ago

    Beautiful treehouse hotel for next vacation!

  • cassidycay

    cassidycay said 7 years ago

    I love it! I also was very excited to see the heavy duty tent in the items list. I have been trying to convince my husband to live in a tent... he still hasn't agreed to it but maybe after this article. lol

  • VooDeDooDolls

    VooDeDooDolls said 7 years ago

    Ultra fabulous green living. Just seeing the photos will help manifest more peace, beauty and love for the whole planet. Thank you

  • opendoorstudio

    opendoorstudio said 7 years ago

    oh my gosh... I want to climb inside! I Love this!

  • tomatored

    tomatored said 7 years ago

    AMAZING

  • tomatored

    tomatored said 7 years ago

    AMAZING!

  • 6catsart

    6catsart said 7 years ago

    Wow, great article. Treeforts have come a long way. Thank you for bringing back wonderful childhood memories of long lazy summer days spent in the woods making forts.

  • polkadotsandblooms

    polkadotsandblooms said 7 years ago

    Great feature - would love to explore these tree houses :-)

  • piperewan

    piperewan said 7 years ago

    i live for the day when i can have my own tree house!

  • thenewblackmarket

    thenewblackmarket said 7 years ago

    wow I wish I had a tree house as a kid... :[

  • whiletheyplay

    whiletheyplay said 7 years ago

    Oh, wowza!!! those are amazing!

  • ecozuzu

    ecozuzu said 7 years ago

    BEAUTIFUL!!!! wow. absolutely breath taking.

  • gochemoche

    gochemoche said 7 years ago

    Hapuku looks awesome, what a great theme you guys chose :)

  • KatsKube

    KatsKube said 7 years ago

    that's really amazing. i would love to live in the trees.

  • dgordon

    dgordon said 7 years ago

    ohmygod! I want to live in that lit up tree house!!!! Badly!

  • Slowshirts

    Slowshirts said 7 years ago

    http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4be3948f138d6d91cefc2f00/climbin-to-the-treehouse LOVE!

  • daniellesdesign10

    daniellesdesign10 said 7 years ago

    OMG! I want to live in the one thats in the mountains.

  • adrienneaudrey

    adrienneaudrey said 7 years ago

    OMG so fun!

  • TheQuietOwl

    TheQuietOwl said 7 years ago

    Wow those are amazing!!!

  • GoodGriefGlass

    GoodGriefGlass said 7 years ago

    Wow! Impressive designs.

  • pogoshop

    pogoshop said 7 years ago

    A tree house, a free house, A secret you and me house, A high up in the leafy branches Cozy as can be house. A street house, a neat house, Be sure and wipe your feet house Is not my kind of house at all~ Let's go live in a tree house. Shel Silverstein

  • jiorji

    jiorji said 7 years ago

    WOW!! those are the coolest things!i'd love to live in the third one

  • needleyou

    needleyou said 7 years ago

    I LOVE tree houses! Inspired me to live in a log house; which i think is a close second. : )

  • ValerieKStudio

    ValerieKStudio said 7 years ago

    wow pretty impressive

  • YouAreYou

    YouAreYou said 7 years ago

    Treehouses never go out of style!

  • Bunnyallarosa

    Bunnyallarosa said 7 years ago

    Amazing article. I've always wanted to live in a tree!

  • NinaStillStudio

    NinaStillStudio said 7 years ago

    very inspiring! But not sure if our local council would let us build one here...

  • vantiani

    vantiani said 7 years ago

    Whoa! That Slowshirt Cards are awesome!

  • ericawalker

    ericawalker said 7 years ago

    Love this! I've always had a love for tree houses. We plan on building a tree house guest house someday.

  • jewelrybyjackie

    jewelrybyjackie said 7 years ago

    These are so amazing! I never had a tree house as a kid, would love one now!

  • Raceytay

    Raceytay said 7 years ago

    I'm ready to move in!

  • ForeverGlassFlowers

    ForeverGlassFlowers said 7 years ago

    Love It! Love It! Also, Love the poem above by Shel Silverstein, Pogoshop!! Thanks for sharing.

  • nowonder

    nowonder said 7 years ago

    These are really amazing I would love to live in any of these.

  • diytherapy

    diytherapy said 7 years ago

    you always find these great things on the blogosphere ! amazing !

  • HibouCards

    HibouCards said 7 years ago

    Fantastic!!!!! I love tree houses and these rock!

  • jargonhead

    jargonhead said 7 years ago

    I love tree houses! My husband and I have always dreamt of building one when we move back to Wisconsin. There are so many books with plans in them, and the mini house movement is so interesting. The geodesic dome and invisible tree house are fantastic!

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares said 7 years ago

    you've got to be kidding? omg those are gorgeous homes and i want one.

  • theforagingfollies

    theforagingfollies said 7 years ago

    That invisible treehouse is way too cool...

  • amyjoavnet

    amyjoavnet said 7 years ago

    How inspiring-- I have a little tree platform the kids never used much, I might have to renovate it!

  • grapevineforge

    grapevineforge said 7 years ago

    I don't know if I'm inspired or discouraged after seeing some of these tree-houses. My kids are begging me to build one. I think I'll just keep things simple. :) perhaps add one of my hand forged door knockers to the front door. That about as elaborate as it needs to get.

  • bhangtiez

    bhangtiez said 7 years ago

    So cool! Thank u 4 sharing!

  • StopTheClock

    StopTheClock said 7 years ago

    Those are amazing! I'd love to tour them all!

  • LulaMatilda

    LulaMatilda said 7 years ago

    Wow, who knew tree houses could be like these? Now I'll have to reconsider my dream house!

  • aisle3studio

    aisle3studio said 7 years ago

    wow these are super cool!

  • WigglinWasabi

    WigglinWasabi said 7 years ago

    Wow that last photo of tree houses looks unreal! Amazing!

  • daisyberry

    daisyberry said 7 years ago

    I love the one with the spiral staircase... :) I want one!

  • SewObsession

    SewObsession said 7 years ago

    wow not for the faint hearted or the children i would think.... but wow love them...

  • DomusModern

    DomusModern said 7 years ago

    Very cool indeed. I posted a link on my facebook page.

  • bstrung

    bstrung said 7 years ago

    I have always wanted to live in a treehouse. These are great!

  • inajuicebox

    inajuicebox said 7 years ago

    Wow very cool!!

  • SynergyStar

    SynergyStar said 7 years ago

    A couple more steps up and the future will be like the Jetsons!

  • miriadmoni

    miriadmoni said 7 years ago

    I love the treehouse hotel! so cool

  • JaniceCordeiro

    JaniceCordeiro said 7 years ago

    That is just absolutely amazing.

  • LizzieLuna

    LizzieLuna said 7 years ago

    Very Very cool..thanks for sharing

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