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The Snoop 5.17.2018

Tree houses are for kids, or so it has seemed over the years.  But recently, maybe within the last ten years, there has been a movement to construct elaborate get-away homes, in trees.  These retreats are not only tree houses with a view, but upscale mini-homes with running water, electricity, air conditioning and heat, skylights, multi-level rooms, and more.   These getaways are not resorts or rentals, they are constructed by owners on their own property, near their home, as a personal getaway.   

And, as you may imagine, the cost of building a tree house getaway spot is based on design and the number of creature comforts, just like building a home.  So, according to today’s standards, a basic more primitive adult tree house structure costs around $120-$145 a square foot.   However, for those craving a unique, charismatic style hide-away, they should expect to spend $350–$550 a square foot, depending on the number of upscale amenities, such as a kitchen, bath, multiple levels or more.

But it seems that the most outrageous tree house was built for a family in San Diego County, California, in 2004, and their tree house cost $350,000.  The 980 sq. ft. tree house is 10 ft. above ground, with electricity, skylights, all the comforts of home, a brick fireplace, and beautiful wood panels harvested from old buildings.

Since the adult tree house movement started in 2004, the number of tree houses built in the United States has increased exponentially, and today, companies willing to construct tree houses are definitely in demand.  According to Pete Nelson, director of the Animal Planet’s television show Treehouse Masters, the demand has never been greater, and Nelson should know as he has been building adult tree houses for over 25 years.  And, at one time Nelson reported a backlog of over 1700 inquiries.

In today’s marketplace, there is a niche market for tree home builders, with specialists in the field of construction, architecture, design and safety planning.  

The adult tree houses are used for a variety of reasons, but mostly as a gateway to relieve stress.  As a respite, they are deemed a sanctuary for communing with nature and leaving the hustle and bustle of city life behind.  Some are specifically constructed to watch wildlife, others are built as a quiet library spot, or for artists, a studio.  

For most of us the thought of spending $25,000 to $225,000 on a tree house seems decadent, perhaps wasteful.  However, living in a metropolitan area must create a different mindset as city dwellers live differently, they cope with bumper-to-bumper commutes to work, traffic snarl-ups, congested neighborhoods and fast-paced competitive lifestyles –– for them, a tree house may be the perfect getaway.  

But for those of us who choose to live in the Ozarks, where nature beckons from our doorstep, a tree house getaway isn’t needed.  Thankfully, we are surrounded by beautiful landscapes, lush countrysides, pastures, pristine streams, and wildlife that most generally keep us in awe each and every day.  

And, when comparing life in the Ozarks to life in the city –– our way of relieving stress is truly inexpensive.  We can take a walk in the Mark Twain National Forest, float Bryant Creek, or maybe just sit on the porch with family and friends and listen to the birds or watch the deer pass by.  Life really doesn’t get more therapeutic than that.