This Retiree Built a Treehouse to Live In With a Working Sauna

by Simplify

British retiree John has fond memories of the cardboard treehouse his father built him as a child, so decided to build a treehouse to live in, making his childhood memory a present reality.

Located in John’s garden in sunny southwest France, this treehouse is a labor of love. John put a lot of effort into building the treehouse. He first came up with different ideas for the treehouse that he put into Google SketchUp. Then, he had to start considering the logistics.

He knew that he wanted to be high up and that he didn't want to cut down any of the branches of the 60-year-old oak tree he planned to use as a base. Therefore, John had to figure out how to support the structure and how to get the building materials up the tree.

He wound up installing a metal platform on poles nearly 20 feet high, providing a feeling of really being up in the tree, but without putting any weight on the tree itself. Next, he needed to get the beams up in order to build it. Using 100 yards of rope and a harness, he moved the beams up 5 centimeters (2 inches) at a time.

The result is well worth it: The treehouse feels secret and luxurious at the same time. It’s entered through a trap door with a pulley system, like a pirate ship. The windows make you feel like you’re hiding out in the forest⁠—which you are⁠—and John reports often hearing squirrels chasing each other across the roof.

The treehouse includes a sauna room

At the same time, the treehouse is extremely luxurious. t is, in fact, not just a treehouse, but a treehouse sauna! The sauna room was the suggestion of John’s wife, who wanted the treehouse to be “useful”.

They both enjoy hot saunas in the wooden steam room, followed by cold showers in the bathroom, which is hooked up to the main house’s running water and has a toilet that empties into a septic tank.

In addition to running water, there are other benefits to being near the main house. John explains that he didn’t bother building a kitchen, because he is invited to have meals with his wife, who is an excellent cook, in the main house.

Building a treehouse to live in

Having a treehouse home in his garden allows John to enjoy the best of both worlds: having his own private sanctuary where he can be a part of nature, but only a stone’s throw away from the main house with all of the amenities and companionship that it offers.

For more stories on alternative living spaces, discover this tiny house with a pizza oven or this off-grid DIY Earthship home.

To see more videos, check out the Living Big in a Tiny House YouTube channel.

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