Tree houses

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Treehouse Living: 50 Innovative Designs

Treehouse Living: 50 Innovative Designs is a collection of original tree house creations produced by Cabanes Perchées, founded in 2000 by Frenchman Alain Laurens.

The hard back book, with foreword by Laurens’s first client, French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, whose own cabane adorns the front cover, features water colourist Daniel Dufour’s designs, which are turned into reality by compagnon charpentier Ghislain André. “In the Middle Ages, the compagnons travelled throughout France building cathedrals,” explains Laurens. With 10 years training, they are “the most gifted and rarest people in terms of carpentry, joinery, all the manual crafts.”

No branch is sawn off the host tree and no nail hammered into it. “If we dismantled the cabane,” says Laurens, “you’d never know it had been there. In Brittany, the 11 sq metre Cabane dans les Etoiles was built in the canopy of two giant cypresses, accessed by a spiral staircase built round a central trunk. “The installation was particularly tricky because we had to squeeze our way among a veritable forest of branches, often dead ones,” says Laurens.

A sturdy southern French 9 metre-tall oak in the Var is home to the Cabane des Amoureux, which is claimed to be “the first four star tree house” because it walls are insulated and its windows are double glazed. Inside is a bedroom and bathroom; outside, the users can breakfast among the branches on the terrace.

Region, tree type and height, cabin and terrace measurements are given for each cabane in the book, accompanied by colour photographs and a brief description of the project.

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