Usually, a cottage or cabin will be built as a vacation home for a family for summer vacations, but this cabin was built by younger adults as a permanent dwelling and a place to relax and enjoy together. The small group of friends built the two treehouses that are connected by a suspension bridge, plus they also created a skate bowl to skateboard in and a wood-fired hot tub to soak in. The friends got together in 2014 led by Foster Huntington in Skamania County, Washington in the Columbia river gorge. The multi-platform treehouse ended up being called the Cinder Cone and was built by some professional carpenters and some friends who had no previous building experience but wanted to help out as they could. A cinder cone is defined as a "steep conical hill of volcanic debris that accumulates around and downwind from a volcanic vent. There's a short film that shows the building process and takes you through the creative process behind this cool hangout. There's also a book that includes drawings of the treehouse as well as photos and notes on the project as well as instructions for how to build one. While the treehouse was being built, they took numerous photos not only to keep their memories of it but also to show other people that it's possible to build their own treehouse or cottage. Foster also hopes that other people will be inspired by the build and design their own unique treehouse designs.
Before this, Foster had been travelling around as a photographer for years and eventually decided he wanted to have a more permanent home so he could welcome friends into his space. Foster started travelling around 2011 after quitting his job in New York and loved the freedom of living life on the road. He had been travelling around in his van and living in it so he was part of the vanlife movement where people live in their vans to save money and to be more mobile. He also wrote a book called Home Is Where You Park It which explored vanlife and the nomadic lifestyle that so many people seem to be drawn to these days. He even loved the smaller space within his van too, and so he thought living in a small treehouse would be a good next step for him. He was used to roughing it already so living in a cabin in the trees would actually be a step up from his days living in his small van. He also wanted something that would offer a kind of playfulness, so a treehouse seemed like the perfect idea. Luckily his family had property near the Columbia River Gorge which had incredible views. There were already some beautiful Douglas fir trees on the property as well which made for the perfect base for his home. The entire project only took about 6 months to build, but there will also be some additions created in the future to keep growing the space for guests. So far there are three sets of stairs, then an observation deck, a suspension bridge and two treehouses that are 200 square feet.
It wasn't a cheap project though, and he estimates that it cost around $170,000 to build. But keeping it in perspective that the same amount of money in Manhattan would maybe buy you an apartment the size of a small walk-in closet. He also lucked out in having a mother who is a carpenter and her boyfriend is a timber framer, so they were a huge help in the project. One of Foster's friends Tucker Gorman of Perspective Design/Build also looked over the construction as well. The higher treehouse is his main living space, and then the lower one is the guesthouse. On the property, there are also a few wood-fired hot tubs scattered around, and then there is the skatebowl that was made out of reinforced concrete. This is a great project that shows you really anything is possible and that sky's the limit, or maybe in this case, the trees.
More about this story can be found at: The Cinder Cone