"Fitted with all the mod cons, treehouses are no longer just for kids", discovers Wendy Sloane.
Alison Rose, who lives in Highgate, north London, and works in the City, wanted something more, ahem, down to earth when she had a treehouse made for her daughter Millie, 3. Built by Treehouse Life, based in Abinger Hammer, Surrey, it took less than three weeks to construct from splinter-proof wood imported from South Africa at a cost of £12,000.
"We have quite a big woodland-type garden and wanted to create a play area that was sympathetic to it," says Rose. The treehouses's one circular room is roughly 24ft by 24ft and is fully insulated, with lighting, a thatched roof and removable swings and slides. "Millie loves it" says Rose. "She spends hours in there playing make-believe games. It's a real feast for her imagination."
Paul Cameron, owner of Treehouse Life, is adamant that treehouses should first and foremost be a place for children. "When people reach 40 and they're earning big salaries, they think about building a treehouse with a kitchen and a dining room. They often get talked about as adult spaces, but it shouldn't only be like that," he says.
"Although £12,000 is a lot of money, a treehouse is something that a child will never forget. Millie loves her treehouse - she's out there every day and she's in fantasy land, dressing up as a princess while her 'boyfriend' dresses up as a man in armour and has tea parties, with her. That's what it's all about," says Cameron.
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