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link to Houzz REVIEWS

Design / Build
Strong and Crewed
Licensed CA 1988
Ca lic# 539705
Berkeley rate
$49/hr T&M

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or email us or call 510-852-2250

Playa Viva Mexico
Circular Bamboo Treehouse
link to Houzz REVIEWS
John Lionheart in SF Bay Area, CA on Houzz
Double Einstein
Double Einstein
Would be great as a mini-home.
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Building a Safe Tree House

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Dreamhouse Tree House

 Treehouse Feng Shui 


COMPLETED!! - Our Make-a-Wish treehouse project in Los Altos, California

Make-A-Wish Treehouse
Thanks to donors:
-Brian Cilker of
Pine Cone Lumber
-John Rios of
Minton's Lumber
-Barry Brock
-Lauren Hotchkiss
-Anggelyka Apostle
Tirso Gonzalez
-Berkeley Ace Hdwr
-Summerwinds Nursery
-Wilson Glass
-J&D Glass & Sash
-Arrow Glass
-Los Altos Ace Hdwr.
-Omega Salvage
-Ruth and David
-Paul Cheney
-Rick and Jackie
-Dan and Janice
-Berkeley Tool Library

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Why a TreeHouse?
(for older folks)

A Sanctuary for:
  • Rest and
  • Relaxation
  • Yoga/Stretching
  • Mild Exercise
  • Prayer/Meditation
  • Nature Study
  • Creative Arts
  • Massage and
  • Romance

    The Treehouse Guide - All inclusive, best treehouse website we've found

    On the East Coast call Tree Top Builders, the pros from Pennsylvania

    a kid-built treehouse - Includes instructions, plans, kits, and rentals in Oregon .

    Treehouses of the Korowai - New Guinea natives live in family groups in treehouses up to 50 meters in height. Slideshow

    Canopy Construction Associates provides canopy access and consultation

    Global Canopy Handbook - Techniques of Access and Study in the Forest Roof

    Cedar Creek Treehouse Mt. Rainier Cedar Creek Treehouse in Washington state

    TreeHouse Book Of TreeHouse Designs and Plans Easy-to-build treehouse projects from novice to expert.

    Steampunk Tree House An Oakland Calif project by Sean Orlando.

    Daniels Woodland Commercial builder, central California

    Costa Rica Tree House Lodge ... Off the coast of Costa Rica, in the heart of a jungle wildlife refuge, flies a hidden treasure The Forever Young Treehouse Foundation is a private, non-profit organization that creates, develops and constructs accessible treehouses.

    10 Amazing Tree Houses from Around the World Ten tree house designs from functional to fanciful.

    The Bamboo Treehouse A Bamboo Treehouse vacation rental in Puerto Rico, featuring The Amazing Hooch

    Treehouses By Design : Everything you want to know about designing and building your own treehouse.

    Kyle's Tree House - Dedicated to empowering autastic people

    The Treehouse Book: by Peter and Judy Nelson.

    Treehouse Guides - Plans and designs to build different treehouses. Easy-to-follow instructions.

    The Treehouse Camp, Maple Tree Camprground On South Mountain in Rohrersville, Maryland.

    the treehouse coffee shop A wide selection of coffee and espresso drinks

    The Tree House Bed & Breakfast Inn Point Reyes, California.

    Cedar Creek Treehouse Mt. Rainier Cedar Creek Treehouse in Washington state

    Roy Tennant's Treehouse Photos of Roy's handmade treehouse.

    Hawaii Treehouse Vacations rentals on Maui and the Big Island

    The Treehouse at SnowmassTreehouse Kids' Adventure Center, a $17M project..

    Northeast treehouse designs and construction Design and Build to suit all ages and interest.

    Corbin's Treehouse I did live in a treehouse, for about 5 years, before i moved to Los Gatos, Ca. It is still around, and I do visit it every now and again

    Tarzan's Treehouse Go ape over this climb-through DisneyLand adventure..

    The Nahiku Treehouse On the Hawaiian Island of Maui

    What I used to do before I built treehouses

    The Treehouse An arborist discussion forum

    Bay Area Pet Sitters


    fine woodworking page

    painting page

    fence page

    tile page

    Old Old

    Doctors Without Borders

    Roots in Berkeley

  • Keywords: Tilden, berkeley, treehouse, tree house, organic, Shasta, McCloud, Mt Shasta, Redding, kids, adult, hollywood, set, build, design, Nor Cal, California, licensed, mini-home, fine, lavish, expensive, elegant, attractive, Oakland, Marin, Crockett, SF, San Francisco, high-end, upscale, first class, classy, fancy, San Jose, zip line, Los Altos, Silicon Valley, Mill Valley, Atherton, Kensington, Santa Cruz, Mount Shasta, Sonoma, Napa, Orinda, Lafayette, Hawaii, Lake Tahoe, Saratoga, Monterey, Fairfax, Los Gatos, safe.
    MEDIA LINKS: ... SFGate: Builder Chases Peace... ... Pinterest ... SF Make-A-Wish® News: pg.6 ... Popular Mechanics
     ABOUT US 
    About Us
     Best Movie Treehouse Tree House
    Insurance Claims Assistance
    Built to Save the Planet.™
     Fine Treehouse Building

     Nature for Health
    Buddha's Treehouse
    Hobbit House
    Music on the Mountain tree house control booth Music on the Mountain tree house control booth Music on the Mountain treehouse control booth inside +
    Berkeley Kate tree yurt left side Kate treeyurt center inside treeyurt center floor
    Kate tree yurt overview tree house yurt Kate's Berkeley treehouse redwood right side
    Kate tree yurt overview
    Outrageous! We Did NOT Do This!
    Treehouse in Tilden
    Practically in our backyard!
    Geodesic Treehouse
    Free Spirit Spheres
    “For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest.." Herman Hesse
    completed June, 2016: Redwood Temple Treehouse - our 3rd build in Silicon Valley.
    Redwood Treehouse organic design by aka John Lionheart Redwood Treehouse organic design by John Lionheart Stair construction by master carpenter Bob Balogh Custom Arched Tri-fold Treehouse Door Sunny Treehouse Interior All redwood tree house interior A Peek in a Custom Treehouse Window Oak tree through roof of tree house
    treehouse community
    in Costa Rica

    Finca BellaVista

    We proudly present our 3 acclaimed designed-from-scratch Make-A-Wish® projects
    "Einstein's Castle" our 3rd Make-a-Wish® project was completed May, 2013. Builder John Lionheart designed and constructed this attractive organic "Avatar rocket ship" themed, detached living space for thirteen year old James in Walnut Creek, Calif. (order plans)

    einsteins castle design by John Lionheart einsteins castle custom Avatar theme playhouse by Fine Tree house Builders

    Ashby Lumber | Pursel Paints | Berkeley Ace Hardware | Mockett Co | multi-skilled Barry Brock, muey hospitable Laura Turner family and friends, and a swarm of cool Make a Wish volunteers
  • "Asher's Wish" train playhouse completed June 2012. Installation aided greatly by volunteers from SF Make-a-Wish® and DELOITTE, Inc.

    Kensington train locomotive playhouse Choo Choo Train kid's house

  • MANY THANKS TO GENEROUS DONORS: Berkeley Ace Hardware | EarthSource Forest Products | Rutherford & Singelstad | carpenter Kyle Deddo and Dan (the Tree Man) Cooley.
  • The Make-a-Wish® treehouse in Los Altos, California, was completed Sept 22, 2010. Photos below by Iolani, helper Julian's mother, and by Linda, the "wish mother". For more photos see our FaceBook page.

    Redwood Treehouse treehouse on the San Francisco pennisula
    strong tree house make a wish treehouse designing a treehouse geometric windows in a treehouse

  • Fall 2010 Make-a-Wish newsletter
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    Limber up, read: The Heart of the Tree, poetry by Henry Cuyler Bunner

    Click Here
    Want a Tree-Fort?
    (i.e. a roofless treehouse)

    Oakland's Way Cool Treefort
    Half the price, very nice!
    Treehouse Construction
    thumbnail of Green treehouse
    view image or timelapse
    our Taj Mahal Treehouse
    thumbnail of Berkeley's Grizzly Peak Taj Mahal treehouse, link to photo journal of same
    As seen In Popular Mechanics
    "Find your tree."
    link to Julia Butterfly Hill Find Your Tree video
    a video by Julia Butterfly Hill

    The Original Organic Treehouse - Off Regal Road, Berkeley, Calif.

    ( the only treehouse in the world with its own postage stamp )

    original tree house, view from ground level below and northwestInside Treehouse, View from northwest

    This tree house sits square in the middle of an 80 year old magnolia tree on an otherwise vacant lot attached to and directly downhill from a fine old estate home in the Berkeley Hills. The treehouse access is easy - we built wooden stair stringers onto the slope above where a 4 foot retaining wall crosses the slope about 8 feet uphill from the trunk (see photo to left) and we built a floor platform into the tree, which became both the *front porch* access and main floor level. It's mainly constucted from salvaged old-growth redwood decking, and scrap CDX plywood. The openings are mostly screened, with one recycled wood window and a recycled door (cut to 5'6" tall) installed for security and wind break. Nature abhors a rectangle, and so this organically designed treehouse was built to the dictates of the tree, and to the size and shape of available salvage. Note: we could build a treehouse much like this anywhere: in Mt Shasta, Sonoma, Kensington, Marin, Orinda, Silicon Valley, anywhere.

    click image to view enlargement
    original tree house, view from upslope to south cross section of roof flashing system  used to waterproof around trunks View from south - from uphill

    There are four vertical trunk sections that go through the roof and two smaller branches that pierce the walls as well. Waterproofing was a challenge, but was accomplshed by creating a double funnel effect (the top *funnel* is inverted, more of a pyramid flashing scheme) using skylight style curbs around the roof openings, cuttings of plastic shower curtains, and duct tape to gently secure the flashing funnels around the tree. Note: the funnels are not in evidence in these photos, they were being replaced at this time.

    click image to view enlargement
    original tree house, view from south, into left side Inside Treehouse, View from south, into left side

    Note that no fasteners were stuck into the tree. No bolts, no nails. There is one main beam that was placed horizontally in the central crotch of the tree. Another beam was laid crossways on that beam at the crotch support. Diagonal supports were fastened to the ends of the beams and cut flat and wedged down against the base of the trunk. The longest diagonal, a 4x8 redwood beam, abuts the trunk, runs diagonally upward and is side bolted to the end of the main beam and continues on to be bolted to the end of the central roof joist. With all the massive interlocking trunks, heavy timber beams; plywood floors, walls, and roof; and supporting diagonal braces, it's sturdy as a rock, even in the highest winds.

    click image to view enlargement
    Original tree house, Interior - View from sitting area to northeast corner - study area Inside Treehouse, Interior - View from sitting area to northeast corner - study area

    This treehouse is just under 120sf roof area, the local zoning code limit for an auxiliary structure. There are four discernable spaces within the treehouse interior: 1) a central walkway ~18sf that includes the space consumed by the four central trunks; 2) a 5'x 6' *bedroom* area just big enough for a custom made kid's bed (3'10" x 5'6"); 3) a 4'x 7' elevated platform - cushioned play space with a built-in TV at one end; and 4) a ~19sf study area with a 180 degree built-in desk and shelves. The ceiling is six feet high off the main floor. Only two small branches were removed. Note: we could build a treehouse much like this anywhere: Napa and Sonoma counties, Mt Shasta, Marin, or Orinda, anywhere.

    click image to view enlargement
    Interior - Northeast corner - study area Inside Treehouse, Interior - Northeast corner - study area

    Originally, this treehouse was designed with one or another of our children in mind. The bed was designed especially for our oldest daughter in 1993 when she was eight. The custom mattress is only 5'4" long. In 2000 she was too mature to enjoy a treehouse (but she helped paint it), and her younger siblings for one reason or another desired to stay indoors. The treehouse was abandoned to the devices of the Papa of the family, i.e. me. I gladly put it to use. I ran a phone line, tv cable, and heavy duty power cord, set up the computer my dad had given me, and went into creative delirium. It was perfect place to let the mind loose and the ideas flow. I indulged my fledgling hobby, creating websites, and eventually serving as volunteer webmaster for a local public access radio news show. For a couple years I even operated a small independent insurance adjusting business from the treehouse.

    click image to view enlargement
    Custom Bed, Dolphin Dreams, on roof of a house Custom bed goes in SE corner of Treehouse - photographed sitting on display atop our pirate ship, The Good Ship Chain Chomp

    This bed was built in 1994 for our oldest daughter, then 9 years old. In constructing the treehouse, I started by building a platform large enough to accomodate this bed. It's called "Dolphin Dreams" and has a custom painted headboard, with spinning dolphin cutouts. It's my retirement fantasy, to open a shop in Hawaii somewhere, "Bob's Big Island Beds ," where tourist folk can custom paint a 1/4" thick wooden panel that I then ship to a local cabinet maker affiliate buddy on the mainland to fit into a headboard on a bed like this and deliver it to them when they get home.

    click image to view enlargement
    View of treehouse, from the Pirate Ship View of the treehouse from the *captains quarters* of our pirate ship the Chain Chomp

    This structure has been removed to Berkeley's upper Marin Ave, Cragmont Elementary School as a gift to the garden department. It is a wonderfully creative space, shaped like a cross between a diamond and a triangle. Flat roof. Salvage timber construction with Simpson steel connectors for strength. Sturdy. Fun to be in. Notice the ceiling. When I build an outdoor space like this, I like to prepaint the underside of the roof plywood (i.e. the ceiling) and prepaint the ceiling joists (in this case flat-laid recycled full dimension fir 2x10s) so there's no masking required but you still get a crisp clean line. I like a light ceiling color (yellow here) with darker joists for an attractive contrast. These are rough timbers and plywood, but the effect is neat and pleasing (and easy to do).

    click image to view enlargement
    Interior view of Pirate Ship, Chain Chomp View of the interior south east of the Captains Quarters

    It's a delightful thing about Berkeley and the Oakland Hills, and really, the entire SF Bay Area, is that you really don't need to be inside over much. You can practically spend your entire summer out of doors, it never seems to get too hot, there are few bugs, flies, or mosquitoes. Everyday from April to November seems like just anther day in Paradise. It rarely rains in those months, and in the other months, in winter, it never freezes, and there are lots of warmish days even in Janurary and February. For some reason, our son (8-9 years old) was inspired to set up action figures and trucks and bulldozers inside on the floor of the "captain's quarters" of this *pirate ship*, he named "The Chain Chomp" and create elaborate story lines that he persuaded me to help him act out, even video and edit a couple of them.

    The rear wall is actually a pre-existing privacy fence (set back about 7' from the property line) that I built about four years previous. When I build structures like this I try and make them easy to take down and reassemble if needed, using bolts and screws where possible, rather than nails. The open roof area in this photo was a photo-op thing, the pirate ship was being disassembled to move it to the local elementary school garden. I gussied the bones up and took some good-bye photos. It was sad to lose this structure, it was so thrilling to be creative inside of it.


    Tah Mahal theme treehouse

    click image to view enlargement
    Entry to Taj Mahal Treehouse (Entry) view of Taj Mahal treehouse from the northeast

    This is the entry side, the north end of the structure. The little porch area was designed as a safety measure, a mid level stair landing, converted by the owners into a jumping off site, and now a rope climb. The curved tops of the window and door openings, and the vertical cut-outs in the plywood railings are designs all borrowed from the Taj Mahal in India. The floor area is about 80 sf, the roof about 100 sf. The west side of the enclosed structure, the ocean / sunset / Golden Gate Bridge view side, sits back exactly 3 feet from the property line, and accordingly has no window or other openings out of consideration to the downhill neighbor. Most of the weight of the structure is carried by one laminated redwood beam, made from 3-2x10s, which is carried by a matching laminated diagonal support. The north end of the horizontal beam is connected to the long tongue of a massive steel Simpson T-bracket, and the short side of the bracket is bolted to a 3 foot long piece of pressure treated 6x10 which locks through a fork in the trunk, preventing the beam from moving horizontally. The top of the diagonal beam is bolted to the horizontal beam and the bottom is fitted to the trunk and fastened with lags.

    click image to view enlargement
    Inside view of Taj Mahal treehouse Interior view of view of Taj Mahal from the west end

    The city is Berkeley again, tree is a magnolia again, a fine breed, a strong, attractive tree for building treehouses. Note that no tree trunks or limbs were cut or damaged in any way for or as a result of the construction of this tree house. Veiw the enlargement. See the odd twisting limb that runs through the middle of the structure, splits in three, two limb run vertically through the roof, and one through the west wall. None provide support (see above). And notice at the far rear left of photo, another small limb running through the wall at the corner. It's these quirky twists and turns that really made this fun to build and fun to be in.

    click image to view enlargement
    End view Taj Mahal Treehouse, showing brass fireman's pole End view of view of Taj Mahal treehouse from the south
    Note the brass fireman's pole, accessible from a foot wide offset in the wood railing.

    click image to view enlargement
    Side view of Taj Mahal treehouse Side view of view of Taj Mahal treehouse from the east / main house.

    click image to view enlargement

    Notes on trees and spiritual practice: It's probably no coincidence that Prince Siddhartha / Gautama Buddha reached enlightenment sitting under a tree, specifically a very old and very large "Sacred Fig" tree, which tree become famous as the "Bodhi Tree" (Tree of Enlightment). Trees channel more than sap. 1. . -- And, of course, Jesus customarily went to pray in the "Garden of Gethsemane", an olive orchard at the foot of The Mount Of Olives. 1. 2.


    Bodhi Tree Meditation

    bodhi tree meditation

    Spherical Treehouse Project - construction timelapse

    Sherical treehouse construction video

    Meditation Morning

    Meditation Morning

    Buddha Boy begins six year meditation

    Buddha Boy begins six year meditation

    In Tibetan Buddhism's "Four Dignities of the Warrior's Path," courage and ferocity are absent. In fact, the qualities regarded as essential for being a warrior have nothing in common with the training regimens of Marines or football players or lobbyists.

    The first dignity is often translated in English as meekness, but that word doesn't convey its full meaning. "Relaxed confidence" is a more precise formulation -- a humble feeling of being at home in one's body.

    Perkiness, or irrepressible joy, is the second dignity. To develop it, a warrior cultivates the habit of seeing the best in everything and works diligently to avoid the self-indulgence of cynicism.

    The third is outrageousness. The warrior who embodies this dignity loves to experiment, is not addicted to strategies that have been successful in the past, and has a passionate objectivity that's free of the irrelevant emotions of hope and fear.

    The fourth dignity is inscrutability, or a skill at evading the pigeonholes and simplistic definitions that might limit the warrior's inventiveness while fighting for his or her moral vision.

    Tree House Living (For Adults)

    Open Exchange, April 2010:"I've been living in and out of a treehouse for about nine years. It's changed my life. In that time, I've become more creative, more involved, clearer, happier, healthier, and a better person. That was the first treehouse I ever built, I had always loved trees but never before had the opportunity to build a treehouse and occupy it. The bay area is a near perfect climate for treehouse living. Being in a treehouse can help you ground out, facilitate meditation, promote restful sleep, keep you in touch with the real world. Let me help you build yours. " John Lionheart, builder.

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