Today I read an article about a luxury treehouse that costs £250,000 ($393,000 approx). It really is luxurious too; bedroom large enough for a four poster bed, big widescreen tv in the ‘living room’, fingerprint recognition security system, built in array of different games consoles, completely functional kitchen and a wet room.
The makers call it the ‘James Bond’ of treehouses; it is, apparently, for children – but personally it looks so beautiful, inside and out, that I would most definitely live there. Certainly it’s more expensive than my current house is, in fact it costs more than any house I’ve ever owned.
Still, with the mortgage rates going up and people feeling forced to sell before they hit negative equity, perhaps this is the way forward? Okay a treehouse worth more than most bricks and mortar versions is a little excessive, but certainly scaled down versions would be an idea.
Think of all the teenage children that drive their parents up the wall that could be given their own ‘flat’; it’s just that it’s out in the garden and up a tree. If you want an aged parent to come live with you, well here’s the cheap way to add that granny annexe without expensive garage/loft conversions. If either one annoys you, just steal their ladder.
No plasma telly, four poster bed, games consoles, fully fitted kitchens or wet rooms of course; but a wooden shack on a branch, with a watering can for personal hygiene purposes (over a plastic tray to ensure the wooden floor doesn’t rot) and a little tilly gas stove would be just as good I’m sure. A camp bed in the corner would be more than sufficient for the ‘bedroom’, and a portaloo for the lavatory requirements – let’s face it; they’re so good that only four portaloos are enough for thousands of teenagers at Glastonbury every year.
Of course another problem would be heating this new method of living. An open fire would be out of the question, obviously. But perhaps an electrical extension lead could be strung out to the perching home and a little electric heater installed? Failing that, those useful little hand warmers stuffed into gloves and socks would work a treat along with a thick ‘mummy’ style sleeping bag; besides it doesn’t go below freezing every night during the winter.
Lighting would be courtesy of a battery camping lamp and all in all it would be a very welcomed ‘rustic’ experience for them. Of course without a tv, laptop or console some teenagers would perhaps become slightly unhinged; but I think a few books lobbed in and telling them they’re the new ultra trendy ‘user interactive reading tablets’ might keep them quiet.
Naturally there wouldn’t be any cathedral sized glass windows, all round balcony, robust ‘easy climb’ extended stairway and vast porch area. But a little Perspex over any window gaps, a platform outside the door and a rope ladder would be just as good. Of course elderly parents using this new style annexe as their home might find the rope ladder a bit of an issue.
I couldn’t see Great Aunt Imogene aged ninety two being happy, or indeed able, to clamber up it like a monkey when staying there at Christmas; anymore than grandma could on a daily basis. So in that case you might be better rigging up a block and tackle pulley system, of course it might take more than one person to winch said aged relative up to their eyrie (dependent on weight ratio), but all that could sorted with a few well muscled neighbours lending a hand.
Certainly it’s something to seriously consider if you’re living in London – even a bedsit might set you back £300,000 these days; but all you'd need for one of these cheap DIY treehouses is a tree (obviously), a few old wooden doors for the walls, a sheet of Perspex for any windows and some planks of wood for the floor.
A rope ladder can even be made as cheaply with some rope and any off-cuts from the floor. This truly affordable housing could probably be made for about £100, even in London. Places like Epping Forest could be the new estates, with ‘treetop housing’ everywhere. Those of the more ‘hippy’ mindset could, quite literally, hug a tree whenever the mood took them; and the building materials would be 100% ecologically friendly too, thereby pleasing the eco warriors amongst us.
This could solve the housing problem in a single swipe; affordable, easy to build – because, lest we forget, even children can (and do) build them. They could be placed in your garden for family members (and assuming you have a tree); the local park for more urban areas, or forests for rural ones.
I doubt any fingerprint recognition security system, or indeed any security, would really be needed as it’s highly unlikely anyone would willingly break in just to steal a battery lamp and some books. Although just rolling up the rope ladder would probably be enough to deter most thieves; but you’d have to remember to ensure it’s put back the next day or that first step’s going to be a big one.
In fact I could sell this idea to the government; I could call it the ‘Eco Tree Home Initiative” and although I'd be their unpaid housing tsar, I could set up a company to help me put the idea out to the general public and, because I was so wonderful at the job, my company would pay me a huge bonus out of the many allowances the government paid it.
Of course once the government got involved the cost per unit would be quoted at £500 but automatically rise to £400,000 for no apparent reason; the public would be told the first unit would be completed by February 2013, but the first home wouldn’t actually be habitable until December 2016 – where upon it would promptly fall out of the tree because of lack of the correct fixings.
New labour and the Liberal democrats would insist a more robust housing unit was used; they'd promise portacabin and container unit treehouses respectively in their next manifestos as, clearly, wooden treehouses are too heavy.
However, Health and Safety would immediately make all tree houses illegal because of the risk of falling; and so any others built would have to be at ground level thereby constituting a shedhouse and not a treehouse – the government would then scrap the initiative after only three units being built at a cost of £20 billion to the taxpayer; causing the opposition to say......actually, in restrospect, I think I’ll keep this idea to myself as I’ve suddenly realised I’m thinking like a politician, and down that road lies utter madness......
This is Simi, thanks for reading....