A selection of fun things that happened in 2008
January: Buckeye Treehouse
continued to be a big trend in 2008 - and why not? It's a great way for kids
and adults alike to get close to the trees and gain a new perspective on the
world! January had us building in a small backyard in Berkeley around an old
twisting and bewitching Buckeye Tree. It was quite a challenge for Barbara to
find space up in the branches for the clubhouse, deck and slide entrance, but
she did it! And Barbara also found space for a strong and beautiful swing set
that attached to the tree fort. What you don't see is that the swing posts and
beam are actually a metal frame with redwood facing. This allows it to match
the rest of the structure and makes it super strong for lots of swinging!
February: Local Moms get to work as Play Professionals
for their school fundraiser!
Each year we try to participate in as many kid-related
fundraisers as we can. In February, a local school partnered with us to create
a special auction item. For the Nueva School's annual auction, a group of mom's
came to our shop for a day of staining the donated playhouse under the
supervision of our master stainer, Rudi Verhoeven. It was a really fun project
for them and us!
March: California Hideout Treefort
month it was down to Southern California for our next treehouse. Barbara and
crew had done a "stick out" to determine the size and shape back in January. We
built as much ahead in the shop as possible so that once the installation time arrived
it only took us 4 days to complete on site. The California Treehouse is a great
example of how a treehouse can be compact and fun! With multiple layers,
there's sure to be lots of scampering. And with such a wonderful tree, the
upper level is almost invisible.
April: Bike Garage in Los Angeles
had installed a play structure for this family last year. Now the mom wanted a
place that the kids would use to tuck away all their bikes and bats and balls.
The Bike Garage was designed to hold it all and to match the play structure. Plus
with the double sliding doors, getting bikes in and out is almost as fun as
playing on the play structure. We hear that the kids really love using it!
Birdhouse Bash - Kid's Rule Table & Chairs / Bay Area Discovery Museum - Garden Playhouse
May is a popular time for fundraising events. This year, we
sent our Kid's Rule Table & Chairs to several events, including Child
Advocates' Birdhouse Bash. It's very important to us that our donations help
support children, and Child Advocates is a wonderful organization that trains
and supports Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers. These volunteers
give a voice to the children they represent and have a vital role in the
decisions that affect the kids' lives. We are so glad that we are able to
participate in this event and support a worthy cause!
also participated in the Bay Area Discovery Museum's Gala Event, partnering
with them to present a Garden Playhouse for auction. The event supports the
Museum, which works to delight and educate children by "developing childhood
creativity [and] nurturing future generations of creative thinkers and
innovators." Just like us, The Bay Area Discovery Museum encourages creativity
through play, and we just can't say enough good things about that! With its
Open Door Policy and scholarships for summer camps, performances and other
Museum programs, the Bay Area Discovery Museum is committed to ensuring that
all kids have access to their resources, and we are proud to support them in
June: Coyote Valley Treehouse - Northern California
June, Barbara and the crew spent hundreds of hours building and installing Coyote
Valley Treehouse. Camping under the stars was part of the fun on the
installation, and you can be sure there will be many more sleepovers to come on
the big 24' long deck. It was extraordinary to hear the coyotes calling at
night from the next ridge! This structure is intricately nestled in the
branches amongst a grouping of 3 giant trees. The hand-woven rope railings
give everything an open, airy feeling. And check out those Winder Steps! Now
that's a work of art! With sweeping views of the valley below, this is the
perfect spot for reading, drawing, listening to music or sharing secrets with
your best friend. And when you're ready for a little excitement, head over to
the Take-Off Tower for an exhilarating 120' long "tree-to-tree" cable ride! Treehouses require a tremendous amount of work, but the hardest part for us is
always saying good-bye, even though we know it's in good hands. Thank you to
all our clients for being such great, visionary people. You are a true
pleasure to work with, and we cherish every project!
July: Majestic Treehouse - Back in the Redwoods
is right! The giant redwood trees surrounding this treehouse soar far above
the treehouse, hiding the fact that the treehouse itself is 15' high! There's
really something enchanting that happens when our redwood structures find a
home near live redwood trees. It's hard to explain, but I think they just feel
a little more "at home" themselves when surrounded by their cousins! This
design is one of Barbara's favorites and she is constantly refining it:
playhouse up top, play space underneath to do monkey bars and hang out.
August: New Design - Activity Center
and her clients had a lot of fun working out the details of this new design.
The clients wanted Barbara to come up with a compact activity center. The swing
activity center has a swingset, track ride, monkey bars and rings, all in a
square so the kids can go around and around.
September: "American Builder" TV Show Comes to Our
Upstate New York Installation
the fall we headed east to install a couple of structures, as well check in on
some of our previous installations! First was Bluebird Treehouse. This
treehouse was lots of fun to put up, especially since it was being filmed for
the television show "American Builder!" This structure stands sentry to its
own little island in the backyard accessed by an arched bridge. The bridge was
already in place when Barbara started the design, and she wanted to make sure
the play structure fit in with it. There's plenty to do once your there, with
activities under the deck including parallel rings and monkey bars. Plus who
could resist a 50' Zip Line Ride! The "American Builder" crew was lots of fun
to work with, and we even got them to help out a bit. Having an installation
filmed is always a challenge because sometimes you have to things a couple of
times to get the right shot. But it's worth the extra effort for a great show
like this one. We're just glad to have caught the eye of a show that knows
what it takes to build quality products! Check out the show on our video page.
October: Redwood is a Renewable Resource!
2008 proved to be a big year for re-staining and relocating
structures! We always encourage our clients to perform yearly maintenance on
the structures to ensure that they get the longest life possible out of them. Just cleaning and tung-oiling the structure can be a fun family project that
will keep the structure safe and beautiful. Plus, structures that have been
tung-oiled every year generally require less stain when you do decide to
re-stain because the wood isn't dried out! Here are before and after photos
showing how this play structure came right back to life after a re-stain &
November: Tony Hawk's "Stand Up for Skateparks" benefit
took our Cozy Cabin playhouse to the L.A. for Tony Hawk's "Stand Up for
Skateparks" event where kids were able to play on it before it was won by the
highest bidder. The "Stand Up for Skateparks" event raises money for the Tony
Hawk Foundation, which "supports recreational programs with a focus on the
creation of public skateboard parks in low-income communities." We're happy to
support an organization that helps get more kids active! Tony and a bunch of
his friends were there demonstrating their skateboarding skills and kids were
December: Hillside Adventure
year ended with installation trip to Santa Barbara, CA to install this sprawling
collection of four treehouses. This hillside is sure to see lots of activity
now! Two of the forts are connected by a Swinging Bridge that has Monkey Bars
below - as if they weren't challenging enough already! And with a stainless
steel Firepole, two Rung Ladders, a Super Slide, a Rope Net Ladder, and a 30'
long "tree-to-tree" Zip Line Ride, the kids will be running around for hours,
defending their territories. Somehow, I don't think we'll be seeing a
surrender flag anytime soon - but I'm sure they wouldn't mind receiving
replacement supplies (or lunch) in the Pulley Bucket!
Look for it IN 2009!
All these structures require some pretty complex math to build, and our Hexagon Roof was chosen to be in a high school Algebra textbook as an example of how math is used in real life.
Be sure to look for us next spring at the Stanford Mall for the 2009 Dreams Happen Auction & Gala. We'll be donating another spectacular playhouse for auction (our tenth year!)
Our newest Public Use Play Structure will be installed in San Juan Capistrano's Los Rios Historic Park in the spring of 2009.