The treehouses you day dreamed about
About Up A Tree
When my children were very young I built them a very cute tree house about 8 feet off the ground attached to their playground area. It was sized for 4 and 5 year olds. Ceilings were 4 feet tall, lots of hidden compartments, a deck only a child could fit on, a second floor with a ladder to climb and even an escape door with a simple zip line. I built it while on my knees mostly. The windows and door were child-sized...it even had two doggy dormers. I thought my two girls would spend hours and hours playing in it. However it came with one thing little girls really don't care for....spiders. I believe they used it for about 2 hours until one of those creepy crawly things was discovered. I don't think they ever set foot in it again! Move forward about 20 years.....
Upon deciding to venture into this business, I needed to figure out just how feasible it would be to build 20' in a tree by myself. I had built a couple houses, additions, several sheds and out buildings---but all were firmly on the ground.
Several TV shows feature crews of young guys dangling from the trees in harnesses, hoisting 1000lb beams with ease. How on earth is a lone, middle-aged man going to accomplish this? The only way to find out was to build my own tree house to learn exactly how feasible this idea was. "Sweetie, do you mind if I take a few months and build us a nice tree house in the back yard?" Have I mentioned that I have a truly understanding and supportive wife? I do. And so, for the next 6 months I undertook designing and building my own tree house in the woods behind our home.....in the middle of winter.
Scott's Tree House at his Newbury, NH home.
Building my first major tree house for myself afforded me the luxury of making mistakes....and learning from them. Some people think you can just nail a few boards to a tree and go up from there. That is not the case these days if you want to protect the life of the occupants and just as importantly, the life of the tree. The technological boom of the 21st century was not lost on tree house building. Thanks to pioneers such as Pete Nelson in the Northwest, elaborate hardware and incredibly strong support systems have made it possible to hold several tons of building and people weight in the trees. Did I mention that trees seldom move in unison? Utilizing several trees for extravagant structures requires the ingenuity of today's tree house designers and builders.
Back to my tree house and a couple valuable lessons learned.....I couldn't lift 800lb beams 15 feet in the air by myself. So, I made my own 350lb beams and with family help managed to get them installed. Learning Lesson #1: use the proper structural supports or suffer the consequences. Any building requires a strong foundation....tree houses are no exception. Strong, healthy trees and adequate hardware and beams are a necessity for success and safety. My home made beams soon began to sag as I added thousands of pounds upon them. Fortunately, to this day 3 years later, my tree house is still standing, thanks to some added support posts under each beam....Lesson learned.
Once the foundation is up in the trees, its building as usual, right? Sort of. Operating close to 30 feet above terra ferma is not for the faint of heart. Try swinging a hammer on a very windy day on top of a roof while the trees sway. Anyone that's driven a nail knows that its difficult enough without the target moving. Focus is key, distractions must be avoided! Needless to say, my tree house got built by trial and error over the course of 6 months.
"Scott builds a wonderful treehouse and is certainly passionate about his craft. His skills are incredible as shown by his great attention to detail. Anyone who has visited and sees it wants one for themselves. Without a doubt, Scott is the Master tree house builder in all of New England. I would HIGHLY recommend him!" -The Muller's
"Scott is earnest, honest, hardworking, and tidy, and most important to him is that we were pleased with the project. Remarkably, he has continued to check on the treehouse on occasion over the years. I would encourage anyone to consider a treehouse if they are facing our dilemma or feeling adventuresome. And, I would strongly recommend that Scott Bardier build it!" -The Young's
They say the average person changes career direction about 5 times during the course of a lifetime. I'm not sure about the amount but I can attest to the "change" part. Upon graduating from the University of NH I was able to break into the highly competitive world of the TV industry. Almost 20 years later I had accumulated a wide range of experiences that included such things as directing countless live newscasts, Presidential debates, producing / directing live athletic contests and even working on Red Sox games. While those years were enriching and rewarding, they came with a price. Stress, petty politics and even familial upheaval take their toll.
On to career #2....12 years of Retail Management. A completely different world with different rewards and accomplishments, but not without its own form of stress and corporate drama. I soon learned that working for other people, in an indoor environment was not the path to fulfillment that I wanted to continue on. Enter a simple TV show introduced to me by my teenage daughters and with it career #3.
Take a man who loves the outdoors, enjoys working outside in all seasons, combine that with the inherited skill of building things and a will to be one's own boss and there you have the formation of my 3rd major career change. The decision to start a tree-house-building business was aided and supported by a very understanding and loving wife. How many men can say they've said to their wife "Babe, I'd like to start a new business building tree houses" and have their spouse be 100% behind the idea? I would imagine not too many. I also have to credit my children for the suggestion and the aforementioned TV show for getting the idea off the ground.
But why tree houses? There are hundreds of builders here in NH. But as I found out there are few if any that build their creations 5, 10, 20 feet off the ground....in trees. The desire to be unique and piggy back off a growing industry of 'adult' tree houses fit right into my mindset. The multiple tv shows depicting extravagant tree houses all over the world hit on the idea that most of us as kids loved the concept of having a tree house or tree fort where reality could take a back seat to adventure. Why not reach into people's childhoods and bring back that sense of adventure? Who says tree houses are just for kids? Anyone who has had the opportunity to be in one, can attest to the freedom you feel when you're high in the trees in a cozy dwelling. And why not bring along some of the creature comforts you've grown accustomed to in your normal house? Things like plumbing and electricity are just a couple ways to enhance the experience.
No matter how extravagant you make it, a tree house affords you the ability to put the craziness of the world on hold for a while and bring back the child in all of us. Hence, the idea of building tree houses for a living came to fruition.
For me, building tree houses lets me show my creativity, my building skills and do so in a place that is serene and void of the drama and chaos of everyday jobs. Fresh air, nature and the sense of adventure all wrapped into one.