The Treehouse : It’s a work in progress. GAH.

Jul 18

My latest project, one that I have been dreaming of for ~ well ~ forever….is underway.

It has officially become our little slice of heaven.

It has been fondly nicknamed the TREE MANSION.

It started off as a little idea, and it grew into a fantastic idea.


It is now a fantastic reality.



Do you remember those days, when you were a kid, making a fort with cardboard boxes and it felt like your own castle?  Those times when you wrangled up every single cushion off of the family room sofa?  No chance for anyone to watch TV or sit in the room, every cushion was piled high for miles on end.

My  sofa cushion forts always had hallways, side wings, bedrooms, windows…heck, I would have put a chandelier in it , if my parents would have at least bought me one.

Geez, I was ripped off as a kid.

I had to make these things from scratch. 🙂

Jokes, MOM….

My brother and I would create forts with the neighborhood kids from scraps of just THINGS, and suddenly we had a chateau.

We created these mini fortresses in fields, in friends backyards, and occasionally in a real tree if we felt ambitious. We were so disappointed when the street lights came on, and we had to run home.

Our parents were mean and made us come home when the street lights turned on.

I swear all the neighbourhood parents had an agreement with the electric company.



 It was a conspiracy.

Our parents had convinced the electric company to turn the street lights on early, just to spoil our fun.  Told you I had a cruel upbringing.


Well, some things never change. Our kids have made tree forts here at our home….and they were pretty cool…but slightly dangerous….teetering high up in the tree with rickity old pieces of particle board dangling from a nail…

Nails that they no doubt wacked into the 100 year old precious tree.

That tree will probably be landing on my front porch any minute now.

Incredible how trees can only take so much abuse, and then….you can hear them screaming “dude, leave me alone 🙂

What does a tree have to do to get some peace around here ?!



Yes, this photo does show a slide that was once in a government playground. They were removed for a new and improved version. A friend of ours had the contract to remove these slide, but didn’t have the heart to just throw it in a land fill site. He brought it to our place, knowing that the kids (uhm, adults)  would have a blast with it.

My 83 year old grandma has been down this slide !

We are even considering adding a watering hose on it, to really pick up some speed. I didn’t want to give my Grandma a fat lip with the lightning speed of the slide and the hard landing at the end, so I spared that hose event to a later date.



These old rusty spindle thingies came from a yard sale. Someone had them piled high in a field, and they looked tempting to me.  I couldn’t resist the temptation of buying a pile of rusty spindles.  We (ok, not me, the contractor) drilled holes in old barn boards and created this funky railing. I am officially in love with that railing.

I plan on sitting and staring at it for hours.

This place is just waiting for a good book read to happen.

We decided to build the fort in what our kids call “ the witches forest”.  The kids named it the witches forest, because it had all kinds of old bottles, and herbs (aka weeds) , twigs shaped like witches broom handles and little scraps of this and little scraps of that.

Perfect for making a witches brew.

Not a true witch in sight, or I would be running for my life.

The goal is to chillax, not run at warp speed.



We are blessed with an incredible amount of trees around our property.  I have one family rule (well, I have a couple, but no need to air all my dirty laundry ~ you are just getting to know me , haha) , if you cut a tree, you plant a new one.

Even the ratty old trees, they are still a tree.

Doesn’t matter if it is on its last legs.

IT IS A TREE.  If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and acts like a duck, it is a DUCK, for crying out loud.


So last year I thought it would a cool idea to have a tree fort~hide away.

Heck, the kids were having so much fun in tree forts, and I couldn’t resist the idea of having a home in the trees.

Michael had to warm up to the idea.  He wanted an ATV, but that didn’t happen.

He also wanted a sweet little tractor ~ one that worked ~ and that didn’t happen.

Tractor schmactor.

We needed a tree fort much more than a functioning hunk of junk machinery. Where else are we going to have pajama parties ?  Where else can we eat popcorn for dinner ?  Where else are we going to go when we want to hide from the kids, or the dinner dishes ?


Duh ….the tree fort.


Who says tree forts are only for kids ?  Yah yah yah, I will share it with the kids, but for now, I am having way too much fun creating a fort to share with all.




Treehouse Inspiration

At the initial conception of the tree fort, we were living in Paris. Our contractor had the task of creating the tree fort from afar.  So in a moment of despair, I found this picture of a tree fort and sent it to him via email….


Aren’t I cruel ?  I am sure I stressed out the poor guy when he saw this picture.  He didn’t have me in Canada to even talk about it, but he was a good sport and followed the picture.

Believe it or not, I thought this design was cool. If you look carefully, it has a pretty funky overall design.  When we arrived home from Paris, the tree fort had a second storey , with a bedroom loft.

It had dormers!!

It had a front porch and it had a pot belly stove.  It was hilarious.

Michael turned to Chris, in utter awe ( because I am sure he was expecting an actual tree fort/ shack).  Chris saw the look on Michael’s face and said :

“ Oh, yah, the fort kinda got away from me!“


He created the tree fort from an old barn that we bought from our friend with the idea of reclaiming every inch of that barn.  And that we did.

All the wall and floor boards are from the torn down barn. One part of the wall is created from the tin roof of the barn.

He lined the entire fort with screening, so we would not have an issue with flying creepy dudes. No one likes the sound of that bbzzz when you are sleeping at night. Or a pesky fly. Gross.

I am sure that some may look at this fort and think MONEY PIT.  Truth be told, it is created from something that otherwise would have been torn down and burned.  My friend, who we bought the barn from, wanted to see a reclaimed use for her barn.  It was blown over by a tornado.  It would have been a crime to burn the remnants of that barn.

The windows are also reclaimed. Some are from an old church, some are from old houses. I love to trade/ barter ~ I often trade the old reclaimed items for something else that I don’t need any more.



The tree fort is still a work in progress.  My plan is to create a kitchen with windows that open to the back fields.  It will have a bar style kitchen with accordian windows, with bar stools on one side and a small working kitchenette on the other side.

Of course, no tree fort is complete without Balinese influence.  I will be adding a stone vessel sink from Bali. I am all giggly and excited just to see that !  I will be using old Balinese gates to create a safety railing on the bedroom loft.

I have a friend who had to cut an old tree down on his property. I will be using the slab of wood for the kitchen counter top.

I have a few more plans, but I can’t confess them just yet.  Michael may read this post, and I will be busted.

Treehouse oh la la….


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  1. Awesome tree house built in the woods Planet Custodian

    June 23rd, 2012 at 10:51 am

    […] the property of Interior designer Lynn Knowlton, who have been dreaming one from the his childhood. On his blog, Lynn has given all the details of the process, through which he passed with his son Michael and […]

  2. Tiffany

    June 24th, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Amazing fort!

    “Nice Try, French Fry.” My 5 yr old and I had a great laugh at this and for him especially – “New Tree, Now” – the tree lover that he is. Blog is refreshingly charming & funny. LOVE it! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Lynne Knowlton

    June 24th, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Hi Tiffany!
    Thanks for sending the blog love. Glad I put a big grin on your sons face :)) Does he like squirrels ? LOL…you may like this post too….a more recent treehouse update…xx….
    And thanks for stopping by and saying HELLO.
    Lynne 🙂

  4. Robert Clark

    June 24th, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Love your treehouse, I have been looking at treehouses for my place.
    I have a stand of pines on my 10 acres that a treehouse would look good in.
    Did you use old phonepoles, lightpoles as supports?
    What sq foot is your fort?
    Regards Robert in the woods, Live Oak, Florida

  5. Lynne Knowlton

    June 26th, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Hi Robert,
    I did reply to your comment, and now I see it was lost in never-never web land. Sorry about that. If you receive a double reply…well…that just means I am doubly nuts. :)…or you get your answer twice as nice. LOL.
    A stand of pines sounds perfect, and that is exactly what we built in as well. We originally built it just on the trees. After the platform was in, we decided to support it with extra posts. Because we have a loft, our support beams are quite beefy…probably much more support than what we really need, but a good foundation is a good thing :). I LOVE your idea of using old phone poles, since they would mix so nicely amongst the pines.
    Square footage…I don’t know. How bad is that? Haha. I could measure it, and do a quick sketch to show you. Just email me at and I would be happy to send you a wee sketched plan.

  6. Robert Clark

    June 27th, 2012 at 4:13 am

    yes i would like any info you might offer
    thanks Robert

  7. What I’m Digging | Small Measure

    June 28th, 2012 at 2:33 am

    […] first lady wrote about the first garden. *Homemade orange creamsicles! *DIY nontoxic sunscreen. *THIS tree fort! *Loving the Lexicon of Sustainability. *Blueberry Lemon Verbena pie, oh my! *Create a […]

  8. Dominique

    October 1st, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I love your tree fort – mean house, I mean retreat, I mean place of fun, solitude, I mean…I LOVE it…

    (and thanks for the huge hug)

  9. Lynne Knowlton

    October 4th, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    That tree fort is dangerous. Girl dangerous. Girls club dangerous. No boys allowed. We throw water balloons. haha! Imagine the fun we would have? xx

  10. shavavian

    August 29th, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. I cannot adequately express how much I love this. I want one at everyone house we live in. I’ve never met a person who doesn’t love a tree house/fort/mansion!! Absolutely amazing.

  11. Jo-Ann Blondin

    November 17th, 2014 at 11:21 am

    I love how all your ideas in this blog post have come to be. Put an idea out there and it will come to be with a container full of items from Bali.

  12. lynneknowlton

    August 2nd, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Treehouse work in progress. Oh. La. La.

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