Sleeping in Sitkas – In Praise of Treehouses

The first time I slept outside without a roof or a tent fly, I felt as vulnerable as a bowl of kibble.

But the exhilaration of waking up to meteor streaks had me hooked.

The solution? Get up off the ground where the snuffling animals roam and take to the trees. Call it a nest fetish. Call it ancestral memory. What you can’t call it is feral, at least not after you browse through Pete Nelson’s coffee-table books featuring the most beautiful treehouses in the world, including many he designed a built.

After news of Whistler’s rogue HemLoft went viral, (a little publication like Dwell magazine will do that to you), it became clear that I’m not alone in nursing a designer treehouse fantasy.


Good thing I live in the land of trees.

Mystery treefort located somewhere in Gnarnia.

Sleeping in Sitkas appears in the latest issue of Coast Mountain Culture magazine. The rest of the article appears below.


Pete Nelson is at the core of the Pacific Northwest treehouse-building scene, a Mecca for the art form. “The Northwest is most conducive to treehouse builders because of the tremendous inventory of excellent trees,” he says, naming the Douglas fir, western red cedar, maple, and spruce as top picks for treehouses. “It’s also in our culture to adjust to and accept new ideas. Maybe the software industry has us trained this way, but the old guard at Boeing is still breaking new ground every day. If it makes good sense then we are all in. Modern treehousing, with its simple new technology, just makes sense.”

Nelson continues to boost the building of arboreal escape pods, hosting treehouse-building workshops and the Global Treehouse Symposium, next slated for 2013, at his Fall City, Washington-based Treehouse Point retreat. This past November, he started Nelson Treehouse and Supply to cater to do-it-yourselfers. But even Nelson can’t guess the number of treehouses being built in the region. “The vast majority of projects are built under the radar,” he says, “for fear of costly building department involvement.”

But we’ve got the trees. And we’ve got the outlaw spirit. So I’m going to call it. Treehouse Capital of the universe, we’re it. Suck it, Ewoks.

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