Most people think treehouses are just for kids. For many years, Pete Nelson thought the same thing. And then, when he was in his mid-20s, everything changed.
“I think I was 25 when I suddenly found myself reintroduced to the idea of a treehouse,” Nelson said. “I found myself as excited as if I was 12 years old thinking about a treehouse.”
From that shift in perspective, Nelson began hammering out a dream to design and build treehouse retreats that defy convention and where the sky is literally the limit. He founded Nelson Treehouse and Supply outside Seattle, and through the years has crafted some of the world’s most incredible treehouses.
Now, “The Treehouse Guy” is appearing locally. Pete Nelson will offer a special engagement presentation at the Kansas City Home Show on Friday, March 18 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
“I’ve always loved treehouses. It’s been so fun for me to be sort of on the front edge of this new type of treehouse. I can’t think of anything I’m more suited to do,” Nelson said. “For me to be able to spend a lot of time around trees and around interesting people who want a treehouse in their life is an amazing blessing.”
Nelson is widely known as the best treehouse builder in the world. His reputation caught the attention of top brass at Animal Planet, and now the world can watch his woodsy wizardry every week on “Treehouse Masters,” as Nelson and his team go off-the-beaten-path to create some of the most outrageous and exquisite treehouse getaways the world has ever seen.
His team’s creations include a Rustic English cottage built in the boughs outside Charlotte, N.C., complete with a kitchenette, dining area, bedroom with a hanging bed and Juliet deck, a dumbwaiter and a “loo” with a window.
On a recent Treehouse Master preview, Nelson gives a guided tour of his “Skihouse Treehouse,” a lodge-style getaway nestled atop a Douglas fir decorated with chairs crafted from rustic skis and with unique features that include a composting toilet house and a 200-square-foot deck with a built-in fireplace.
Nelson said when he’s designing a treehouse, he spends time with the tree to draw inspiration from the “arms” that will hold his future creation, working to feel its energy ahead of the project.
“Trees have personalities. I believe that. There are trees that are strongly independent. They can be massive and powerful, and there are other trees that are completely dependent on each other – more social trees,” Nelson said. “You have to get to know them a little bit, too, because it doesn’t just jump right out.”
In addition to pushing the boundaries on treehouse design, Nelson also teaches people how to safely design and build their own treehouses. He has written several books on DIY treehouse design, including his most recent title, “Be in a Treehouse,” which details technical aspects of building in the trees and examples of treehouses around the globe.
Whether he’s on TV, on a stage presenting or writing his latest book, Nelson says his passion remains the same – to encourage people to return to nature, to slow down and listen to its wisdom.
“I know that trees are beings. They’ve got something to give us as we have something to give them,” Nelson said. “It’s really remarkable how similar we are to nature. The way I feel when I go out in the woods is like, this is right – this is absolutely right. … Treehouses are the ultimate return to nature.”
Greater Kansas City Home Show
WHERE: Bartle Hall.
WHEN: Friday, March 18 Noon-8 p.m., Saturday, March 19 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 20, 10 am-5 pm.
ADMISSION: Friday-only ticket: $7, Saturday OR Sunday Advance Tickets: $10, Day-of-Show Tickets: $12 at the door. Advance tickets are available online at kchomeshow.com or at area Price Chopper stores. Kids 12 and under free.