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Old 11-08-2019, 06:05 AM
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Experiences with kidsí treehouses?


Next spring I am thinking of building a treehouse in one of the trees in our yard for my two girls to play in. They will be 7 and 10 years old. But it is a fairly large project and large investment (I will be getting a professional carpenter to build it). Before I go ahead with the project, I thought I would ask around about what peoplesí experiences with treehouses have been. My dad made a very makeshift one for us kids (3 boys) when I was young, but I recall using it a lot. I am a bit concerned that my girls might not make enough use if it. They say that they want one, but who knows.

What are your experiences?

And a related question. Could this have a negative impact on the value of the house should we ever decide to sell it? I heard that can be the case with swimming pools.
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Old 11-08-2019, 07:47 AM
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When I was a kid we were always making half-assed tree houses on our own. Once we salvaged wood from someone else's tree house only to later discover that it was an adult's deer stand. We never got caught, but I'm sure the statute of limitations has passed.

Have you gotten any kind of estimate yet? I've had a deck put on a house, and I'll bet your looking at a similar expense. There will likely be upkeep (painting) as well.
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Old 11-08-2019, 08:43 AM
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We made one when my kids were young. 2 girls and a boy. Probably when thee oldest was in middle school. It was up on a couple of hundred acres of family property in Michigan. There was a ton of scrap lumber around. Hell, I even found some tongue and groove flooring for the floor!

I built it with my kids over the course of a week or so. It had a trap door entrance, a front porch, and 2 levels. I'm sure many people would consider it unsafe as all hell, but this was the kind of place where the kids were already building campfires, shooting guns, bows/arrows, and fireworks, jetskiing/4-wheeling/snowmobiling, etc. And zoning/building codes weren't an issue.

I built it maybe 12' up in a tree that had 3 main trunks. So I built a big triangular base, and went from there. The toughest thing was figuring out access. We initially tried various things with ropes/rope ladders, but those are a lot harder to climb than I had expected. So we ended up w/ boards nailed to one of the 3 trunks. Also had to figure out how to make it MINIMALLY safe. Just enough walls/railings that the kids would have to REALLY try to pitch over the edge...

The kids all used it. My son liked to shoot his various guns from up there - and he and I would have paintball battles between one of us up there and the other on the ground. My eldest - the least outdoorsy - liked to go up there and read.

Now, 20 years later - it is one of their fondest memories of the place.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:34 AM
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We built one as kids, not sure where we scavenged the lumber from. It was pretty basic, pretty much a large platform (no walls) about 10 feet up, between two large pine trees. Not at elegant design but sturdy and lasted 10+ years until hurricane Gloria took it down. I can't imagine our treehouse would have any impact on housing prices, it would have been trivial to take down if anyone was worried about it.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:35 AM
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We bought our house three years ago with a treehouse so I can answer your 'value' question. We have two kids and if anything it added value. Of note, our realtor made sure it showed up on our real property report, so we have evidence that we didn't build it. It's very well-built with foundations into the ground and nothing bearing weight onto the tree. I'm confident I could safely tear it down with minimal impact to the tree.

The kids never really used it that much, but, like I said, it's well-made, so it's not much of an eyesore. I plan on taking it down sometime in the next few years as the kids are teenagers now and I fear it'll just become a place for drinking, dope smoking and sex.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:45 AM
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Think access to the tree house. Those boards nailed to the tree are bad. Hatch doors are cumbersome and dsngerous. IMO. My kids lived the treehouse their Dad built.
The platform/ floor is important l. That's all that's left of ours. I get up in it regularly to make voice calls on my cel. Handy

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 11-08-2019 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
Think access to the tree house. Those boards nailed to the tree are bad. Hatch doors are cumbersome and dsngerous. IMO. My kids lived the treehouse their Dad built.
The platform/ floor is important l. That's all that's left of ours. I get up in it regularly to make voice calls on my cel. Handy
Sorry my post was so garbled. I blame cold fingers
(The kids LOVED the treehouse.)
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:31 AM
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Our neighbors had one when we were little (in my head, it was huge. But that was a long time ago and I was little. It could definitely fit 8 kids and we did have to climb up a ladder or the tree to get into it.)

It was awesome!

They played in it all the time. The neighbor kids (me!) played in it whenever we could. It was a fort or a house or a club house (it had a trap door!) or whatever we needed at the time. It got a ton of use when we were kids and pre-teens. It got less use once the kids in that family got older (late jr. high/high school) and grew out of the "playing outside" age.
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:58 PM
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In my experience and life treehouses tend to get "outgrown" pretty fast. They are fun as hell for a month or maybe a summer but after that not so much so. People I know have had more success going the same basic idea but on the ground; more a play-house. Two friends built very different ones for their daughters (one more a cabin and one more house-like) and they used them for years. In fact the one girl moved hers to her home once she moved out and away and would sometimes crawl into it to read on nice days. Just check local zoning in any case; some treehouses and/or sheds/playhouses can becomed taxed dwellings over some very minor details.

(The cabin one was 6x10 and if we had used glass windows the boro would have called it a dwelling. So we kept with the theme and used oiled leather/hide rather than glass. Everyone was happy and rain and all stayed out.)
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:59 PM
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...I fear it'll just become a place for drinking, dope smoking and sex.
You say that like it's a BAD thing! Or were you talking about the teenagers?
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:02 PM
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... Those boards nailed to the tree are bad. Hatch doors are cumbersome and dsngerous. IMO. ...
Yeah, but how did you provide access to yours? A permanent ladder takes a bunch of the fun out of it.

And yeah, a trapdoor is a pain - but IT'S A TRAP DOOR!
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:15 PM
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(The cabin one was 6x10 and if we had used glass windows the boro would have called it a dwelling. So we kept with the theme and used oiled leather/hide rather than glass. Everyone was happy and rain and all stayed out.)
A friend, now retired, worked for years as a histopathologist, working from home. His home was a three story "mansion" which he wanted to keep pristine, so he hired an architect & contractor to design a building that was an exact replica of his home, scaled down to one story, with an office, kitchenette, and bathroom.

Every work-day he'd wake up, shower, shave, eat breakfast, then walk fifty yards to his office, where he would put in an eight hour day.

People who didn't know better thought the little house was a kid's playhouse.
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:23 PM
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A friend, now retired, worked for years as a histopathologist, working from home. His home was a three story "mansion" which he wanted to keep pristine, so he hired an architect & contractor to design a building that was an exact replica of his home, scaled down to one story, with an office, kitchenette, and bathroom.

Every work-day he'd wake up, shower, shave, eat breakfast, then walk fifty yards to his office, where he would put in an eight hour day.

People who didn't know better thought the little house was a kid's playhouse.
Out by Crafton is one that was a girls playhouse. Until girl moved off and Dad took over and redid the interior into a basic office. He already had a sort of kitchenette in it but he never did go all the way to a bathroom.
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Old 11-08-2019, 03:49 PM
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...he never did go all the way to a bathroom.
You're suggesting he used a window? Or are we back to discussing trapdoors?
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:18 PM
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Yeah, but how did you provide access to yours? A permanent ladder takes a bunch of the fun out of it.

And yeah, a trapdoor is a pain - but IT'S A TRAP DOOR!
Shimmy-ing up the tree makes access to your enemies difficult.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:28 PM
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Ain't no trees out in my place suitable for a 'Treehouse', so I sunk 4 telephone poles in cement, built a nice 'Tiny House' up about 7 feet, little garden underneath.

Used maybe twice.

I drink beer up there now and shoot at coyotes. Goddamn, my life sucks.
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Old 11-09-2019, 02:45 AM
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Ain't no trees out in my place suitable for a 'Treehouse', so I sunk 4 telephone poles in cement, built a nice 'Tiny House' up about 7 feet, little garden underneath.
In my neighborhood, that would be called a "deer stand".
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Old 11-09-2019, 02:48 AM
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My tree house is a phone booth now.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:00 AM
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Wow, y'all got some fancy stuff. When I was a youngun my two older brothers (who ruined all the fun stuff for me by doing it first and thus making it verboten after) built a...well tree shanty is really what it was. They nailed some 2x4s directly to the tree making a ladder that went up 15, maybe 20 feet? Then they somehow afffixed a large wooden box (I think it was some sort of old shipping crate, but can't be sure at this remove) to the trunk of the tree. Not on a branch or anything that I remember being discernable from the ground. Dad took it down after mom found me climbing up into it one day.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:26 AM
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Oh, this revived a memory. I looked to be sure. I fell out of treehouse in a neighbors yard. Wasn't even miy treehouse but I took it over (I was kind of a bully)
Somehow I missed a foothold and fell 20 feet or so and landed on a stick. I have a double scar under my right knee. I seem to remember getting chewed out about it.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 11-09-2019 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 11-09-2019, 01:04 PM
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... I have a double scar under my right knee. I seem to remember getting chewed out about it.
Is that the opposite of today's helicopter parent? When you injured yourself, ad instead of being coddled, you got yelled at?

Mine was when I broke my arm climbing over/falling off a fence. When I told my mom, she told me to wait until after dinner, and if it still hurt, she'd decide whether we needed to do anything about it.
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Last edited by Dinsdale; 11-09-2019 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 11-09-2019, 03:10 PM
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Shimmy-ing up the tree makes access to your enemies difficult.
Knotted rope ladder that can be pulled up into the tree house.

If you cannot climb the rope ladder you are either too young or too old to enter.
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Old 11-09-2019, 03:38 PM
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Some great recollections. Keep sharing!
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:36 PM
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My older kids begged their Dad for a zipline from the treehouse to a treeless spot on the yard. I was reluctant to approve something like that. I had visions of broken bones and head injuries.
Mr.Wrekker solved it by building a drag line. You stood on a spot on the tree and grabbed a tee handle. The cable was at an angle. For the most part they had to bend their knees to keep from dragging the ground. The taller they got the less fun it was. Wore out lots of bluejean knees.

ETA, they also wanted a firepole to slide down. He never got around to that one.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 11-09-2019 at 10:38 PM.
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