While adults may create the perfect hideaway in their custom built home, building a cozy tree house hideaway is something childhood dreams are made of. The process of planning the perfect location and designing the right space can be a magical project for the whole family, providing parents the opportunity to imagine and create alongside their kids, tapping into their own inner child. Modern ideas for tree houses allow for spaces that the entire family can enjoy, and even entertain in. And for the ambitious designs, a custom home builder can provide as little or much guidance and support as needed, particularly when it comes to the construction.

The 2 major considerations are: the location on the property and the focal tree(s); and design or style desired. Depending on which is more important, start with one and it will help dictate the other

When selecting the location of the tree house, perhaps first consider which part of the property is ideally suited for such a retreat. The idea of a tree house conjures of a secret place for children, to hide, play and dream, thus a little distance from the main house is optimal for that feeling of privacy. Or, the tree house can serve as a backyard focal point and complementary architectural whimsy. Of course finding the right tree or trees that can suitably serve the purpose is key, as a mature healthy tree with thick and strong branches is the ideal for supporting the structure. However, more creative and complex designs can allow for a great deal of flexibility when it comes the size and character of the tree, and often multiple trees are used in the construction.

Regarding the tree house design, the initial questions are how much time, effort and expense do you want to put into it, and who will be doing the executing? Once that is determined, there are 3 other points to cover:

  1. Size: What and whom is it ultimately going to be used for? Should it be suitable for adults as well, and cozy enough to camp out in, or is it going to be a little one-room clubhouse to play games in?
  2. Longevity: How permanent of a structure do you want it to be? Do you want it to be around for your grandkids to use? Is it a passing fancy that can be dissembled or do you want to make it a work of art with multiple purposes?
  3. Aesthetic: If it is in a more visible line from the house, how finished or rough do you want it to look? Old-fashioned tree forts typically look cobbled together from recycled materials. Do you want this house to be more finished, and at all reflect the character of your luxury custom home?

A simple tree house may consist of basic platform with 3 sides and a roof, and a neat row of 2x4s nailed up the tree base. Of course, design options from there are numerous, from the stairs and railings, porches, windows, extra rooms and levels. Simple rustic designs suit a more wooded area, while a more refined, painted exterior with ornamental accents may suit a hideaway that is in plainer sight from the main home. The following creations may be just the inspiration needed to start planning the perfect tree house to complement your custom built home.