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Like so many recent home design projects, this Manitou Springs treehouse is a product of the pandemic. In 2020, when Robin Wall’s two college-age children returned home from school to take online courses, she unexpectedly found herself with a full house. For screen breaks, the family took nature hikes through the 40 acres of pristine, Sutherland Creek–traversed wilderness that surrounds their historic home (a former hunting lodge). As the kids rediscovered the Douglas fir, Ponderosa pine, and blue spruce forest they had explored as children, they recalled a long-forgotten dream of a treehouse tucked among the branches. What better time than now, they thought, to bring it to life at last?
The trio created a rough concept—more zen retreat than clubhouse—and Wall enlisted handyman Richard Faldzinski to build a bridge over the creek and a set of stairs leading up to the project site, a forested plot surrounded on three sides by the water. Ed Ott of D & O Construction was hired to finish building the treehouse (a feat, given that the remote location lacks electricity and road access), and designer Natalia Romero spearheaded the interior concept.
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The team relied on locally sourced and reused materials to create the nature-inspired hideaway: native Douglas fir from a local mill for the structure, segments of an old metal roof repurposed from a nearby farm-house, and 100-year-old French windows that Wall found on Facebook Marketplace for $200. Inside, two upholstered daybeds, designed by Romero and topped with charcoal-linen cushions from Hedgehouse, accommodate cozy gatherings and sleepovers.
“A perfect afternoon in here is when snow is falling, the wood stove is burning, and hot chocolate is warming up on the stove,” Wall says, adding that the treehouse invites her to slow down and experience nature. “Creating a space immersed in the forest has been a great adventure and an inexhaustible source of inspiration, as well as a lesson about the importance of having an open mind.”