For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to build a treehouse. I used to annoy my dad every time I asked if we could build one in the apple tree in our backyard. If I actually manage to build it one day, this treehouse built by Foster Huntington and his friends will provide the perfect inspiration.
Foster Huntington is the photographer and blogger behind two really cool projects. The Burning House asked people which of their possessions they’d rescue if their home burned down. His following project, Van Life, showcased three years he spent on the road in his van in a gorgeous photo book.
Both projects received a lot of well-deserved attention and paved the way for Foster’s latest project: building one of the raddest treehouses we’ve ever seen. The treehouse is almost complete, at the time of writing, and is located on a cinder cone (hill) in a valley near the Columbia River Gorge in Skamania Washington—just outside of Portland, Oregon.
Not only does the design blend seamlessly with the surrounding woodland, with bridges linking multiple platforms, the treehouse also comes complete with a skate bowl and hot tub! In a phone interview with Mpora, Huntington said, “We started this in February and hopefully we’ll be finished in a couple of weeks, I kinda always wanted to have a treehouse as a kid.”
“I’ve been travelling for the last three years and I wanted to set up a home base. I really liked living in a small space, like in my camper, and a treehouse kind of seemed like a good evolution of it. My family’s owned the property that the treehouses are on for 20 years. We’d always just come up here and go camping. There’s this really cool row of douglas fir trees on top of the hill so I thought, ‘Hey that’s a good spot to build a treehouse, right there with the best view,’ so that’s what we did.”
“One of my best friends from college is a carpenter and I have a bunch of friends who are carpenters too, so I had them come help—I’m paying them, but it’s been a team effort. It’s been totally wild just kind of actually doing what I dreamed up. Like, ‘Oh yeah, we should do a bowl here, and put a hot-tub there…’ It’s crazy. There’s two treehouses, each one’s about 220 square feet. One of them is going to be a studio and like guest house and the other one’s gonna be my living area.”
“The skate bowl was always part of the plan, I’ve always been a skater.”
“The whole project has been expensive, like I don’t know probably like (approx) $150,000 (£100,000) or something like that. But you couldn’t get shit for that in Manhattan or anywhere else. I feel like it’s important to live in a place that’s really inspiring to live and in this day and age of the internet you can kind of work from wherever. People have these notions that you have to move into the city, but you really don’t. I have Wi-Fi here and full 4G internet. And that’s all I need to make a living, so I could be here or I could be in Manhattan and it’s way cheaper to do what I’m doing here.”
“People spend money on the stupidest shit houses-wise. They get a big house, or get a big apartment, and then they just fill it with all this dumb shit that’s super-expensive. Like a $3,000 chair or something. And I’m like, ‘Does that make you any happier? Was that ever your dream?’ I’d much rather have a bowl than a $3,000 chair. Not everyone can sit there and enjoy your chair. This is something that’s so much more inclusive than like some expensive art or a really nice kitchen.”
“I feel like instead of defining themselves by what they do, people should start defining themselves by what they own. Cos stuff is expensive. And not only is it expensive, but once you have it you feel obligated to use it. Moving into a van, I only had space for the stuff that I needed, for the shit that I really wanted to do. Treehouses are the same. This is small, like 200 square feet. So it forces you to be a lot more specific about the stuff you have. Because it’s small, it forces you to spend most of your time outside doing stuff. Skating the bowl or whatever.”
“It’s just about being inspired by what’s around you. That’s what the treehouses are about to me.”
I couldn’t have said it better. There’s a lot we can learn from Foster Huntington’s outlook on life, even if we can’t build a $100,000 treehouse.
All photos courtesy of Foster Huntington. Follow his progress on the treehouse project blog at The Cinder Cone.