Malcolm’s New Tree House

Grandson Malcolm’s eighth birthday is coming up this weekend. His party was held at a skating rink last year, which gave me an excuse to write about the rinks in Cape and Jackson. His parents, Matt and Sarah, teamed up with Neighbor Will Hill (he’s the guy without a shirt) to build a “tree house” in the backyard.

Will actually knew what he was doing. I built something for Sons Matt and Adam when they were a little younger than this. It started out as a simple platform with a sandbox under it. Before long, a fireman’s pole and a slide were added. The original structure used a rope ladder with PVC pipe rungs. It could be pulled up to keep Adam from climbing up to the level where he might be tempted by Matt to see if he could fly by flapping his arms.

Building a monkey bars gave me an excuse to add a swing to the mix. There was no overall plan – stuff just got added whenever the posthole digger cried out to make a new hole in the ground.

Time-lapse video

Matt set up his Nikon DSLR to take a photo every 60 seconds so he could condense a 12-hour project into a three-minute video. The structure could be more properly called a play house rather than a tree house since no trees were harmed in the making of the building, still, we CALLED it the tree house. Here’s what a REAL tree house looks like.

Mat made from shopping bags

I described how Mother had turned into a bag lady, making all kinds of stuff out of plastic shopping bags. One of her projects was to make a mat to go under Malcolm’s sleeping bag when he’s camping. He said that something like that would made a really nice rug for his new tree house (hint, hint).

Trapdoor leads to roof

Malcolm was already talking about how it would be nice to have a trapdoor in the floor, too, “just in case.” It’s a gender-neutral tree house. Neighbor Will’s two daughters and Malcolm are joined at the hip every waking moment, so there is no immediate prospect of a No Girls Allowed sign going up.

Photo gallery of tree house pictures

I was no fool: I showed up after all the heavy setup work had been done, and I left when it looked like a thunderboomer was going to roll in. The rain never materialized, but it was close enough that temps dropped to a comfortable level and Matt and Neighbor Will pushed to get the roof on before knocking off for the evening. So, you get to see the middle part of the project.You’ll have to click on Matt’s video to see the whole deal.

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery.


15 Replies to “Malcolm’s New Tree House”

  1. Hats off and pats on the back to all who built the treehouse! The shots of the three of them near the end of the video pretty much says it all. What wonderful group of kids to grow up around/together.

    I suspect there will be a lot of life stories created there in the backyard with or without a trapdoor.

    “Do you know,” Peter asked, “why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.”
    ― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

    1. I did a quick search and couldn’t find any that were already scanned, so I punted your tree house to another day.

      Now that Malcolm has his own computer and is getting proficient in using it, I see some scanning jobs coming his way in the not too distant future. I need to put him to work while I can still pay him in pennies instead of dollars.

    1. I had a real tree house when I was about Malcolm’s age. I built it in the top of a big walnut tree on the corner of our property. You had to use a rope to pull yourself up about 15 or 20 feet to where you could start climbing another 15 or so feet to the 2′ x 3′ platform I had wedged between two branches. It was more of a seat than a house.

      Dad climbed up to inspect my work and suggested that I NOT sit on the unsupported end of the platform that dangled out over space.

      Like most things, the building was more fun than the using.

      We sold that piece of the lot, so the walnut tree and a great persimmon tree are nothing but memories.

  2. Matt, I saw the precision nailing device and then felt myself drool a bit. I am thinking that Will has other nifty devices in his garage. Any chance we will see you welding some artistic ornamental sculptures with toys from Will to put in front of the treehouse?

    1. Will has an entire garage full of goodies, but I’m not man enough for them. Every tool that man owns weighs 45 pounds.

      Instead of a regular circular saw, he has a worm-drive circular saw that framers love for the additional torque. That’s great and all but I had trouble lifting it with one hand. Same with his nail gun. My hammer felt mighty light after lifting the gun.

      Tell you what, Mark… What would really make the playhouse more tree-like is some large driftwood from the Mississippi. Next time you’re down by the water, grab me a six foot or longer piece of driftwood that is 14 inches or more in diameter. Then, rip it down the middle, so I can bolt it to the side of the playhouse. Then, when Dad isn’t looking, strap it to the top of his car and send it home with him. Thanks!


  3. I would call that a Clubhouse, not a Tree-house. But other than that, I would call that Maximum Fun, Maximum Cool!

  4. Wow, what great thing to have as a KID! I think all boys that grew up in Cape in a certain time had a tree house or at least were invited to the neighborhood tree house…
    I was lucky; I had my own in the Big Maple in the back yard, plus two other large Tree houses that the neighboring BIG boys had built close to the house in the woods. What Fun and what high adventure we all had in these fortresses of youthful boyhood!
    I think I might start building one today in Florida…if I can find a tree big enough to hold my larger man sized body, the proper building permits, and insurance and architectural drawing that the city, State and feds will approve. On second thought…Matt have fun while you are young!

  5. Great looking club house(that’s what we would have called it). BTW I kept noticing a grey blockage of the camera’s view every now and then. Then I noticed that you, Ken, were the one wearing grey. Tisk, tisk. LOL.
    I hope Malcom and friend have many hours of enjoyment; theirs is definitately a fun time in life.

  6. I built a tree house for our sons when they were young in a large elm in our back yard. We had a rope ladder so that kids who were too young couldn’t get up there. If you couldn’t manage the rope ladder, you were not allowed up in the tree house.
    They had a great time in it until they outgrew it.

  7. Great looking! How awesome!

    Would it be possible for a person to obtain the plans/instructions? My kiddos would love this!

  8. What were the measurements used on this tree house. What size on the wood used ect. This is frist treehouse for me thankyou

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *