A Year in Review!
What a way to start off the New Year! This January we installed Castle Colorful. With almost every color in the rainbow, imaginations will surely be running a mile a minute on this structure. At that rate, they might actually keep up with all of the actual running, not to mention swinging, climbing, sliding, zipping and general “monkeying” around. And when all that activity tires the kids out, everyone can stop for lunch or a quick snack around the picnic table.
February: Tree Top Bungalow re-stain
February marked an early start to our re-stain season this year. We recommend cleaning and tung-oiling the structures at least once a year, more if it gets a lot of direct sunlight. The difference a little tung oil makes each year really adds up. The structures age much more gracefully. It keeps the wood hydrated and supple. And when a little stain is needed, you won’t need as much to cover a given area as you would if the wood was really dry. This month’s re-stain project was Tree Top Bungalow, a fantastic, multi-level play structure. This structure has been well-maintained by the owners, and as a result, it still looks great after five years!
March: Robin hood’s Fort with 2 Swings
Personalizing a standard Play Fort or Playhouse is a great way to get a unique structure while keeping within your budget! In March we installed this Robin Hoods Fort with 2 Swings. The carvings on the bridge represent the kids’ birthdays – the Year of the Rooster and the Year of the Sheep. The Robin Hoods Fort is one of our Favorites. It packs a lot of features in to a relatively compact space. In addition to adding carvings, choosing from our long list of Play Accessories adds fun and individuality to the structure. This month’s Fort also boasts the Pulley Bucket – a frequently requested accessory. Some other popular choices are the Double Water Cannon, Speaking Tube, Curvy Chalkboard, Kitchen Set and Top Secret Safe, which can stand alone or be made into a Safe Table and paired with a couple of Kids Rule Chairs. The sky’s the limit on Play Accessories – if the kids can dream it up, we’ll try our best to build it!
April:HGTV’s “Out on a Limb” aired 4/9/06
This month Barbara was featured on HGTV’s special “Out on a Limb.” The show aired on 4/9/06, and we couldn’t be more excited. See the full film on our website by going to our Video section and clicking on “Out on a Limb”
May:East Hampton Treefort
In May, we fly the crew in to New York to install the East Hampton Treefort. This two-part play structure will have the whole gang shouting “Land ho!” from the Ship Clubhouse’s deck. And the Lookout Tower, with its breathtaking view of the Long Island Sound, is the perfect spot to keep an eye on the horizon and watch for attacking ships. With such a cool and interesting tree for the Lookout Tower, Barbara’s imagination went wild – and the results are fantastic. It’s the ultimate balance beam! If you make it to the top, you’re sure to have sea-worthy legs! This structure even has a Speaking Tube linking the two structures for coordinated attacks or negotiated surrenders. For more information on the Custom Design Process, see Barbara’s discourse here (add link to inside cover of 2007 calendar).
June: Casa de Arbol
Summer is a great time for treehouses! In June, we installed Casa de Arbol. Barbara has a great talent for creating a play space around a tree so that it almost seems as though the play structure was there first and the tree grew up and through it! The incredible tree at the center of Casa de Arbol breaks through not only the deck, but also the railings and even the playhouse. When working with a tree, we always want to be sure that tree will stay healthy. For this treehouse, the entire structure is actually supported by the corner posts to the ground so that there is no need to attach to the tree.
July: Sycamore Treefort
The next month we installed another wonderful treehouse, Sycamore Treefort. Treehouses are turning out to be a big trend these days, with more coming this year. That’s good news for kids. We love trees and think it’s great for kids to be playing in them. Getting up in a tree just gives kids (and any adults who make the trip) a whole new perspective on the world below. The Giant Sycamore Tree at the center of this structure gives everything such an ethereal ambiance that you almost feel like you’re glimpsing another world.
August: The Fortress
The Fortress is big enough to even accommodate sleepovers! What could be better than sleeping under the stars? Near the edge of a ravine, this structure has an enviable view. You can spend the afternoon observing the wild jungle animals and still get home in time for dinner. Or, if you’re really lucky, maybe dinner will be sent up in the pulley bucket so that you can study the nocturnal animals too!
Belle Bungalow is a fantastic example of Barbara’s ability to create a fun and playful space within the owners needs. For this play structure, keeping as much lawn space open as possible was important, so Barbara went up, using an existing retaining wall to support a playhouse and deck. This inventive solution keeps the lawn area free and gives the kids climbing options without the need for a two-story fort. Plus the accessible space in the yard is extended to include the upper level. Barbara even managed to include monkey bars that are tucked away under the deck!
October: Redwood Roughhouse
The Redwood Roughhouse is action-packed! From the Zip Line to the Hand-over-Hand bars to the Double Water Cannon to the super-sized Turbo Slide, it’s “Go, go, go!” on this structure. Built under and around a magnificent Redwood Tree, this fort is stream-lined to work in the narrow space between the patio and the lawn.
November: Escalade Tree Fort
Our final treehouse of the year was Escalade Tree Fort. Barbara expertly tucked this fort into every nook and cranny she could find. The four levels are so perfectly situated that the treehouse blends in with the tree, hiding in plain sight! It’s even tricky to see the Clubhouse through the branches. This fort also showcases some of the different railing choices that are available: hand-woven rope net, fortress and slatted. With all the angles in this fort, there are endless corners for curling up with a book or discovering a new view. And what views there are to be found!
December: Rosefield Cottage
Wow! That was a great year, and our final project was really fun. The Rosefield Cottage features intricate carvings on the outside and is fully finished inside. And it has a pretty spectacular view of San Francisco Bay! The playhouse was designed to sit under the deck of the main house, and it just fits. With the working electricity and built-in bunk beds, sleepovers will be extra special and exciting in the playhouse.