It is technically not a treehouse, but rather a house up in the trees given we did not use a tree as a support, BUT, we still call it the treehouse; one word. I know, we are annoying that way.

The platform is 8 x 12 and the house part is 8 x 8 feet – We chose these dimensions to minimize waste by using standard, big box lumber lengths. While it would be nice to have it bigger (we plan to finish off the bottom for more sleepover room) it would change the whole approach..and budget.

Here’s a little timeline in photos of the treehouse progress.  All posts relating to the treehouse have their own category here.

We had bushwacked a path through the woods the previous year, and we knew our treehouse needed to be off this path to the left….the rest you can see in the photos!

back of TH skylight at night


DIY modern treehouse:modfrugal

DIY modern treehouse:modfrugal

The daybed is 2 twin air mattresses stacked atop each other so that when the boys want to sleep up there, they just move the coffee table over and lay out the 2 mattresses on the floor. The coffee table holds the 2 hammocks. The windows have a sliding acrylic cover to keep the pollen out during springtime, and to keep it warmer in winter.

DIY modern treehouse:modfrugal

DIY modern treehouse:modfrugal

DIY modern treehouse:modfrugal


DIY modern treehouse:modfrugal

modfrugal treehouse

Second floor to be built below… Stay tuned!

32 thoughts on “Treehouse

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  3. Cahow

    SO many positive things to comment upon! I’m glad that I scrolled all the way down, so that issues I initially had, were addressed. Mainly, railings around the elevated deck! Good call on the Hog Fencing; I love using that look on jobs. Empty TV with the Books inside? CLASSIC!!!! <really got a kick outta that one! Love that you painted/stained the plywood; I can't stand raw plywood. That taupe colour is fabulous. Skull & Crossbones door mat? One of my favourite personal motifs. 😀 And, it's better to NOT build a "tree-house" around or upon a tree! We did two that way: a storm took down our 110 year old maple that held a tree house and then when we saved the structure and stuck it on top of the salvagable trunk, the trunk rotted out in 10 years time. LOL So, we had to save the tree house by putting it up on 8" x 8" treated timbers. NOW, it's safe! Very nice of you to share your photos and story with us. Thank you.

  4. Michael

    We are here in Nashville (Hermitage) TN… Would love to visit and share ideas some day. Send me a message to my email if you’d like for us to get together with you all. I think it’ll be lots of fun.

  5. Natalie Brennan

    Wow……what an inspiration this is to me! Picture perfect…..I can almost hear the birds singing as you sit on this fabulous deck high up amongst the branches :)

  6. Paula

    Beautifully realised.

    I am not from USA. Please tell me how you can build on what appears to be random land? Are you ‘in hiding’?; running the risk that the landowner may locate and evict you? Or, is there some other more communal land that you have legimately build on? The very best of luck with this change in lifestyle. Paula (Aust)

    1. ModFruGal Post author

      Hi Paula, we actually own the land, so we are not in any danger of being evicted! We are very fortunate to have our land adjoin to a State Park, so it seems to be a lot more land visually than we technically own. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Renat

    Hi there! Congrats on building such a wonderful treehouse on the cheap!

    Can you share the blue print of the house, measurements, material types and sources?

    Discovered your blog on Inhabitat.

    Keep up the good work!

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  10. Alessandra Dorante

    Hi guys! I just loved your treehouse and was thinking of building one in our family’s farm.
    Could you kindly make the plant and construction plans available somehow? :-)
    It would be a blessing and my little girl and I would love the adventure and challenge of building it!
    thanks for you

    1. ModFruGal Post author

      Hi Alessandra! Unfortunately our plans consisted of some sketches on graph paper and we are not architects, so plans are unavailable. Thanks so much for your interest…we just sort of winged it as we went along!

  11. Pingback: Mother of Two Builds Tiny $1,500 Hideaway Amongst the Trees of Tennessee | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

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  13. Jason

    Great tree house! I’m currently building a very similar structure in my backyard for my daughter. Two things of yours I am incorporating into mine. The clear corrugated poly roof material for a skylight and the screens over the vent holes between the ceiling joists separating the ceiling from the wall. I’m curious how you attached that screen material between the ceiling joists as i want to do it myself.


    1. ModFruGal Post author

      Thanks Jason! We attached it with a staple gun, and then tacked some trim on top to make it look a bit more finished! Good luck and share photos when you are finished!

  14. Lorelei Collins

    What a beautiful idea!! Enjoy every moment of it!! Your kiddos will grow with all of that same creativity, I’m sure, along with appreciation of the great outdoors!

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  18. Adron

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and photos of this build. I love the simple design of it. Amazing. My favorite part might just be the skull and crossbones welcome mat. Forgive me if I borrow that idea. My questions are:

    1) How much of a problem did you have with zoning and planning there in Tenn? I am having ALL KINDS of issues in GA, even up north in mega-rural areas. It’s like, if you don’t already have a permanent residency on your own land, forget about getting an exemption for a smaller-sized 200 or 120 square feet shed (based on county), or even being able to build one AT ALL without there being a house there first. It’s almost like, can I not lock up a small 1’x1′ BOX on my own property? Hide a safe under ground lol? Ridiculous. I get that they need tax revenue, but not being able to build a “storage shed” AT ALL is insane…on your OWN PROPERTY? I would prefer to operate with an exemption, but once I mention that there is no existing structure on the property, zoning and/or the permit people say, “No, no no!” I’m ready to pull my hair out and just go against the rules and do my best to hide what I have planned from the world. Then I would be concerned that someone would stumble upon it. Zoning and permit laws…they KILL creativity and that spirit of independence. I want to be off grid! I have NO DESIRE for utilities! Grrrrrrrrrrr. And I want a location EXACTLY like this, but there would be no way to get a tiny house on a trailer to this type of spot. What were your experiences with zoning?

    2) What are the dimensions of your build? How tall is the interior space? What were the biggest challenges…the most rewarding things? I am thinking with the 1 acre slice of land that I have in mind, there is a slow moving creek about 80-120 feet away and bugs are everywhere, especially mosquitoes. It’s not so bad about 80 feet up where I would like to be. Has the netting you installed done the trick? I am thinking about building just a little larger than what this appears to be, and with a deck that extends out maybe 2-4 more feet, and screen it in. I LOVE the idea you have of the sliding door, but I’m thinking about going the route of folding, accordion glass doors that, when fully open, would nearly double the available space…and with the deck being screened, hopefully that would take care of the bug issue. What would you suggest for screening for mosquitoes?

    Do you guys plan to finish the lower area on your build? If so, it would be great to see it. Again, thanks for posting all the photos and info. I plan to do the same, if I can ever deal w the zoning issue to get this project started. :(


    1. ModFruGal Post author

      Thanks so much for stopping by Adron!
      We were lucky that despite living in an area with very strict zoning, we were fine. without proper utilities out there (our electric is an outdoor extension cord from the house), it’s considered just a shed and we decided if we stayed within the guidelines, it was better to ask forgiveness than permission. No one has said anything.

      The netting has done a great job for keeping the place bug free. a few spiders get in now and then, but we treat it with insecticide and it stays pretty clear of bugs inside. I would LOVE to see you build yours with accordion doors and a screened porch- brilliant. We just used meash porch screen you can get from any big box – we used the aluminum over the nylon for durability.

      Sadly, if we build the lower level, it will be as an adult studio, since the kids seem to have lost interest, and no one has been out there all Summer. Kinda heartbreaking.

      Good luck with your pesky zoning and please stay in touch and share your project!


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