In the midst of the pandemic, Jessie Capstick and her husband knew they needed to add a little spark back into their children’s eyes.
“The kids were isolated, and as parents, we were exhausted,” Jessie says.
They reached out to friend Mike Delaney, who, according to Jessie, is an expert builder of all things creative and cool and had once mentioned he wanted to build a treehouse for them.
“We wanted our kids to have memories of this time in their lives that extended beyond the isolation and worry,” Jessie says. “We are all about independent play and exploration, and we wanted to feel comfortable letting our youngest little guy, Smith, age 3, play in the treehouse by himself without worrying he could fall or get stuck up high.”
The other children include Jack, age 9, and Ivy, age 6. The intention was to meet the kids where they were currently with room to grow and transform for tween and teenage years. At the moment, the ground floor serves as a place to play kitchen, and the top-level is perfect for drawing comic books with friends.
Instead of a standard treehouse design—where you climb a ladder and then enter the house—this treehouse is built around the tree, using parts of the tree trunk to divide up the space organically. Rather than a house stuck in a tree, you get the sense the tree is bursting out of the house with limbs shooting up through three floors. The dramatic roofline consisting of plastic sheeting allows everyone inside to experience the beauty and majesty of the enormous tree, a living-breathing piece of nature.
Between the monkey bars, climbing wall and ladders built into the treehouse, there’s a playful ninja warrior vibe outside, underneath part of the structure. Textured floor-to-ceiling windows let the light in while providing an element of privacy. There’s even an open-air balcony. A daybed nook crafted from an old crib mattress provides a perfect reading spot complete with a circular window for natural light. (Any windows that open function with a pull lever to limit smashed fingers; hatches are weighted for the same reason.) Various levels are stocked with special features like pegboards, kid-sized brooms, floor pillows, coloring books and colored pencils—even a series of abstract spray-painted rainbow art adorn the walls.
Mike says, “When we were selecting the materials, we wanted to keep cost in mind but mainly focused on the function and aesthetic for what we were choosing. Most everything was sourced locally, with just a few details found online. We kept it inside raw to give it more of a playhouse feel but ended up doing a lot of sanding to the interior to get rid of any splinter possibilities.”
To help keep the structure looking cohesive to the landscape, the exterior of the treehouse is painted the same color as the actual house. The whole project took about a month and a half from conception to completion. Mike says he enjoys projects like this one, where he can adapt ideas and create a space that works well for the kids to explore and be safe, all while making it look good and fit into the environment.
The cargo net that hangs above the second floor is the kids’ favorite spot.
“Mike hand-wove the net thanks to his experience weaving fishing nets on salmon fishing boats in Alaska, and it was so amazing to watch this part come together. It was important to me that the spaces were multifunctional, and the cargo net space definitely fits the bill,” Jessie says. She adds that the kids climb on top and hang on it from below, sometimes draping blankets from the sides to create forts.
Jessie’s favorite part of the treehouse is the impeccable and thoughtful design.
“I sent Mike dozens of inspiration photos, all of which had a minimalist, monochromatic, Montessori-play-inspired feel. I love the circular window above the daybed that feels whimsical but still clean. We can't wait to see how our kids and their friends continue to play and create memories in this special space.”