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Originally published June 21, 2014 at 6:06 AM | Page modified June 21, 2014 at 11:42 PM

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“Be in a Treehouse”: Dreams realized of life in the canopy

“Be in a Treehouse” is Preston resident Pete Nelson’s latest book about his work in “arboreal architecture” — elegant treehouses that come equipped with every feature (a lot of) money can buy.


The Washington Post

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“Be in a Treehouse: Design, Construction, Inspiration”

by Pete Nelson

Abrams, 224 pp., $37.50

Michigan dad Bruce Dondero promised his son a treehouse nine years ago. Did he deliver! Cabin in the Trees, made from reclaimed cedar, is showcased as part of a photographic tour of world-class “arboreal architecture” in Pete Nelson’s “Be in a Treehouse.”

Nelson, host of the Animal Planet show “Treehouse Masters,” runs a custom-treehouse building and supply company in Preston. He and his family also own Treehouse Point, a bed-and-breakfast built high in the air.

As he ruefully recounts, to build first and ask for permits later required “blood, sweat, and tears. Many tears. And money. The money part arrives early in the process and lasts throughout.”

Nelson’s treehouses are elegant feats of architecture that come equipped with zip lines, fire poles, swings, rope bridges — and electricity, plumbing, wet bars and fireplaces. He even built what may be the first treehouse for dogs.

With its stunning photos of fanciful houses, Nelson’s book will appeal to anyone who ever read “Peter Pan” or “The Swiss Family Robinson” or was in a club that met at high elevations as a child.

Among the many amazing off-the-ground buildings featured is one designed by three teenage brothers in Washington. When their first treehouse burned down, the Victor brothers built a new one, complete with a round hobbit door, masonry, music room and possibly the only treehouse dungeon in existence. Nelson includes Greek treehouses built in an olive grove, with siding made of woven reeds, and luxury safari camps in Tanzania built in baobab trees.

Nelson’s book includes a how-to section for do-it-yourselfers. For most people, the steps probably can be boiled down to: 1.) Call a professional treehouse builder. 2.) Write a check.

Yvonne Zipp frequently reviews books for The Christian Science Monitor and The Washington Post.



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