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The All-Ages Tree House

A redwood hideaway evokes childhood nostalgia—minus the scraped knees .

The redwoods felled to make room for the tree house were milled into siding. The eco-cabin is built from three kinds of sustainably harvested wood.

Guests kick back on open-air terraces in the front and back of the cabin on warm nights. The steel cables provide security during the climb up, but don’t obstruct woodsy views.

Who needs electricity or running water when you have kerosene lamps and a camp stove?

The retreat’s wide winding stairway—with steel-cable railings and ample landings for rest—resolves the major obstacle of all childhood tree houses: access.

AS A RETIRED VIRGIN AMERICA AIRLINE EXEC, Fred Reid knows a thing or two about a bird’s-eye view. Though he already had a sprawling home (designed by Dogpatch-based architect Olle Lundberg) on 40 acres outside Sebastopol, Reid coveted a more rustic retreat on his grounds, one that hearkened back to simpler times: a tree house. But instead of the precarious bough-clambering traditionally required, he wanted this aerial escape to be easily accessible—both to small children and to those whose tree-climbing days are long behind them.

Reid enlisted Scott Constable of eco-design firm Wowhaus, a master woodworker with a handful of tree houses to his credit. The resulting 234-square-foot guest cabin perches 30 feet in the air and feels not unlike the treetop clubhouse of an eight-year-old’s fantasy. “It’s dramatic when there’s a storm,” Reid says. “You feel like you’re borne on the wind.”


Originally published in the January 2013 issue of San Francisco.

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