The Treehouse Project is bringing to life every Swiss Family Robinson dream at the base of Lookout Mountain. Enoch Elwell, cofounder of The Company Lab, and Andrew Alms, who has a background in land and organizational development, are part of the team heading up the project designed to be an imaginative and eco-friendly “glamping” (glamorous camping) experience.
The Treehouse Project’s Kickstarter page features a video of children bounding through the leaves of a backyard. The appeal to an adult’s sense of nostalgia forces a wistful look back at childhood days of laughter, adventure, and treehouses with the words, “Back then, life was like a treehouse—a place to create new worlds and be anyone you wanted to be, an open space for daydreams to become reality. The Treehouse Project is about returning grownups to that place of possibility.” The video asks, “How much adventure can fit into a vacation?” Their answer is in this project—the creation of the world’s first sustainable Living Building Challenge-certified luxury treehouses, which according to the video will be “a place that not only lets your imagination run free, but gives back to the old growth forest it’s a part of, so that generation after generation can savor something special.”
The Treehouse Project has begun pursuing their idea by harnessing the power of crowdfunding through the popular online venue Kickstarter, a site dedicated to helping creators pitch ideas to the public, which is then responsible for committing the money used to complete the project. As of Tuesday, Jan. 13, 232 backers had pledged $34,045 dollars, just over the original $33,333 goal. Backers had pledged towards reward incentives such as “cyber hugs and high fives” at the lowest reward level, while higher donations result in“Sleep in a Tree” stickers, an “Adventure Fanny Pack” full of granola and other camping essentials, or for those who donate at the highest level of $1,850 or more, a “Corporate Treehouse Package” including a four-night treehouse experience complete with a customized name plate on the door and company logo on a trailhead signpost.
The Treehouse Project will be built at the foot of Lookout Mountain, and boasts of its close proximity to both the natural beauty of Eastern Tennessee and Chattanooga as a cultural center, highlighting the duality of “glamping:”a vacation that can include both shopping and kayaking, campfires and indoor plumbing. Treehouses are just one part of the glamping trend that includes yurts, huts, and really fancy tents. While the founders of The Treehouse Project were inspired by other sites—like Treehouse Point in Fall City, Wa., which features eight luxury treehouses and yoga classes—Elwell and Alms say that The Treehouse Project will be different, largely because of its innovative design and Chattanooga location.
The site of The Treehouse Project is in Flintstone, Ga., in one of Georgia’s only two remaining old growth forests and is full of oak, pine, beech, poplar, ash, cedars, sycamore, and black walnut trees, among others, and Elwell and Alms fully intend to preserve the natural beauty of the forest. The luxury treehouses will be complete with bathrooms, air conditioning, and electricity. They will be constructed in conjunction with Green|Spaces, a Chattanooga initiative that helps builders complete projects in an environmentally conscious way. The certification by the Living Building Challenge, a framework for environmentally conscious and responsible building, requires that the treehouses contribute positively to the environment, generating more energy than they consume and built to last.
If construction goes according to schedule, the first treehouse should be finished by the beginning of March, but the Treehouse Project is already accepting early reservations via a Google document until the full website launches next week. To learn more about The Treehouse Project, Green|Space, or the Living Building Challenge, visit sleepinatree.co.