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Well, here it is all finished! It turned out much better than we ever expected. We hope you enjoyed watching our progress.

-KR

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Tree House

Sorry to get so behind in our posts… summer and all. My sister and brother-in-law were in town for several days so we took advantage of the fact that he’s an architect and builder and blasted through a ton of work. At this point our tree house is fully functioning but not fully completed.

There was one big long day with lots of rain. A good amount of time was spent cutting lumber in our garage but the guys (Marc, John and Kent) were up there even in the rain while my sis and I watched from the kitchen. Dedication! Over the course of a few days they constructed the whole back railing for the “balcony”, completed the main walls including all the randomly placed windows, installed extra support beams with cement feet and last but not least… the trap door and ladder! Fin (7) was essential to the railing. Marc measured out and spaced the pieces and Fin drilled most of the holes. Kent worked on constructing the walls and windows. John constructed the ladder. Put a handle on the trap door and boom! The kids are up there a lot. I’m finding it’s getting easier each day to watch them going up and down. The 2 year old is the one to keep an eye on – she of course thinks she can do everything her big brothers do and she’s actually pretty good on the ladder but I still stand there with her all the same, afraid she’ll lose her footing.

Up next is a biggie: the roof! We’ve gone back and forth between these cool shade systems we found and an actual hard, integral roof. We decided on the regular roof, although it will be the hardest part possibly. I am wanting some sort of wooden/cedar shingle treatment – not asphalt but I need to do some research. Then the all-important pulley system for the bucket. Currently the bucket is flying out of a window and then manually yanked up sans pulley. Stay tuned! It’s getting close…

– JF

Tree House

Hey, this is Kent writing today. It has been a while since we have updated our tree house progress so some of the details of this day might slip my mind. Today’s main goal was to fit the extremely tricky, oddly shaped floor piece that fits around the tree. Most of the day’s progress was on paper as John and I measured and remeasured the area that needed to accept the floor.

We decided the best way to transcribe the shape of the tree and all the necessary cutouts to the plywood would be to use a series of measurements every 6 inches. We marked those measurements to the plywood and just sort of connected the dots. I am proud to say we fit the piece snugly around the tree with only a few minor adjustments to our original cuts.

Once that section of floor was up the kids FINALLY had a chance to climb into the thee house for the first time. Needless to say they were excited to see the view from up there.

– KR

Tree House

The guys managed to sneak in a little more floor time before lightning started bolting all over the sky prompting Kent to say, “huh, I think maybe I shouldn’t be standing up here now, so I’m gonna go ahead and get down, right?” Just in time because within a few minutes the sky went almost black and just opened up.

As you can see, our trashed Ikea chaise loungers that we were going to get rid of have come in quite handy. Really, the lounges and the recycling bins have become the outdoor workbenches. Oh, and the kids’ picnic table. You can see the high tech system they have developed whereby Kent carefully stands on the piece of plywood which is on top of the chaise lounge allowing John to trim it down with a circular saw.

Tree House Tree House Tree House Tree House

– JF

Tree House

The first part of this day was spent beefing up the stability by bolting the structure to the tree. It’s amazing how much more solid it got once that happened. After that, they hoisted up the first section of the floor. The kids were going crazy when it went up and were begging to stand up there but as you can see, it’s way up there and oh, I don’t know, I guess sides would be a good idea before the children actually stand up there. Kent made me climb up to check it out and I never took my hand off one of the posts. It’s an amazing view. I should have brought the camera up to snap a few panoramic views but then again that would have required me to remove my hand from the post and that wasn’t going to happen.

Tree House Tree House Tree House Tree House Tree House Tree House Tree House Tree House Tree House Tree House Tree House Tree House Tree House Tree House Tree House

– JF

Tree House

Just a few hours spent on this day because Kent was in NYC so John had to fly solo. He hung the floor joist brackets and beams and suddenly this thing started really taking shape as a serious structure to me. The kids too – somehow even the idea of a floor made them even more excited about the tree house.

Tree House Tree House Tree House

– JF

Tree House Day 2

Day two was when the real fun started and the scale of the structure was first realized. Although the pouring of the foundation on day one was important it’s just not as fun as getting to saw lumber and drive some nails and screws. Today we became men! I should mention this is Kent writing not Julia, she is still a woman.

John and I had to balance our excitement and eagerness to use the rented nail gun with the reality of keeping this rather large structure safe and sound. We began by bolting the 4×4 posts to the cement foundation. That step was easy but once they were up we needed to take our time and make sure our frame design was adequate. After making only a few small tweaks to our original idea we began to construct the skeleton out of 2×6 pressure treated lumber. With the addition of each 2×6 the frame became more and more stable and we worked hard to keep everything level and plumb. To attach the main elements of the frame we used heavy duty bolts for extra safety and stability. Remember, the floor is going to be 8 feet off the ground.

By the end of the day we had a basic frame constructed and the kids began to get excited because the tree house was no longer an abstract series of concrete posts in the ground and lumber waiting to be used in the garage. The big debate at this time is where to put the trap door for the stairs and exactly how to safely construct this door. We are trying to think of every possible scenario in order avoid any smashed fingers or accidental trips to the ground through an open trap door. I’m still not sure we have a great plan for this aspect of the tree house but the kids have demanded a trap door.

This sucker is looking pretty sweet though and John and I have already discussed how easily we could run power for a TV in the tree house. We might end up using it more than the kids.

Raspberry! Foundation 4x6s going up Fondation Taking shape Tree house frame Tree house frame Why so angry Kent?

If you don’t feel like building an actual tree house you could always just buy one of our stylish Tree House T-shirts available only at Fooey.

– KR

Tree house - day 1

We are embarking on what promises to be a doozy of a project this summer. A tree house in our back yard! Kent is quite serious about this sort of thing so that has earned him the privilege of helping us. He is in fact practically driving the whole damn thing, God love him. This reminds me of how we started Fooey – I was getting advice from him all the time and finally just asked him to go into business with me. Same thing here. We talked a lot about it and he had so many ideas about how it could be constructed, John and I decided he was key if it was ever going to become a reality. Sucker that Kent is he said yes, again. So we thought it would be fun to post each phase of the job so that anyone interested in doing something like this possibly has another resource. I say possibly because we have literally done one day’s worth of work and as you can see the structure is pretty abstract at this point.

The 14’x 9′ structure is going to consist of four posts that support the house 8 feet off the ground. We aren’t nailing to the tree directly because of its shape and the size of the tree house. There will be an enclosed area with several windows and a slanted roof on one side of the tree and on the other side of the tree’s “Y” there will be a balcony. It’s hard to describe but hopefully it will soon take shape.

The first day was important and time consuming because John and Kent needed to get the 4 concrete foundation footings in just the right spots to insure the frame will be square and plumb. Math, string and levels were involved but they mostly made it up as they went and could be heard saying “I think that should be good enough. Right?”

– JF