Ethan Butler built a backyard treehouse during the pandemic lockdown for his family. (Nanci Butler via AP)

Ethan Butler built a backyard treehouse during the pandemic lockdown for his family. (Nanci Butler via AP)

This is one of nine fancy treehouses at the Mohicans Treehouse Resort and Wedding Venue in Glenmont, Ohio. (Chris McLelland via AP)

This is one of nine fancy treehouses at the Mohicans Treehouse Resort and Wedding Venue in Glenmont, Ohio. (Chris McLelland via AP)

This is another of the treehouses at the resort. All have heat, air conditioning, and kitchens. (Chris McLelland via AP)

This is another of the treehouses at the resort. All have heat, air conditioning, and kitchens. (Chris McLelland via AP)

Aaron Smith builds custom treehouses like this one. He says more people hired him to build treehouses during the pandemic. (Aaron Smith via AP)

Aaron Smith builds custom treehouses like this one. He says more people hired him to build treehouses during the pandemic. (Aaron Smith via AP)

Jessica Brookhart bought this treehouse in Gold Hill, Colorado. Sometimes she rents it out. (Chelsea Beamer via AP)

Jessica Brookhart bought this treehouse in Gold Hill, Colorado. Sometimes she rents it out. (Chelsea Beamer via AP)

Treehouses Make a Comeback

Posted: November 1, 2021

Ooo, treehouses. Don’t you just want to climb up in one and hide out?

So did Jessica Brookhart. When an acre-sized slice of land in Gold Hill, Colorado, came on the market earlier this year, Mrs. Brookhart snapped it up for $80,000. Why? It came with a treehouse, the perfect place to hang out with her husband and two young sons. “I had never been inside it,” she says, “but had admired it from a distance.”

The man who had owned the land built the treehouse with materials from a recycling center. The structure can fit two adults and two children. It has no bathroom or running water. There’s an outdoor potty and a camping stove for cooking. So, yes, visitors to the treehouse will be “roughing it.” But they’ll also get a view from the treehouse windows of Longs Peak and the Continental Divide.

“Since I was a little girl, I was obsessed with little mini-houses, or sheds and treehouses,” Mrs. Brookhart says. She sometimes rents the treehouse out online. Lots of people want to use it.

Treehouses of all kinds are experiencing a renaissance. (That’s a fancy way of saying many people are becoming interested in them again. The word literally means “re-birth.”) Some kids-at-heart got to act out their treehouse dreams when grounded at home during the pandemic. Some hired professionals to build stylish ones. The fanciest of these are like hotels. They may have black walnut or cherry wood floors, 100-year-old barn siding, fine linens and throw pillows, indoor plumbing, air conditioning, heat, and showers. No wonder treehouses now have their own section on the Airbnb vacation rental website!

Most treehouse builders, though, think basic is best. They made makeshift treehouses in the backyard to escape the four walls of home . . . without spending millions.    

Why? Over time, an invention designed mainly to provide shelter and safety has turned into a wholesome source of fun!