By Robby Osborne
After walking through the locked door at the top of a very steep flight of steps, it’s easy to forget that you’re actually in a tree. With freshly painted walls, wainscoting, a fold-out futon, and a beautiful deck, one begins to wonder where the line is drawn between tree house, and tree mansion.
In a 150-year-old Oak tree, the 36-year-old Andrew Knight has built himself a $20,000 tree house. This is actually the latest addition he has made to his home, his most recent home improvements being remodeling his kitchen, and creating a pub in his basement.
Having been denied one as a child, Knight was determined to one day build himself a tree house. It is more house than tree house though, with 190 square feet and its own deck, it is an apartment in the sky.
The final product is actually scaled down in luxuries from Knight’s first plan.
“I had originally wanted to install a very small kitchen and a bathroom,” Knight said, “but that would have required a plumbing permit. That would be an uphill battle and I wanted to avoid that.” By keeping his house less than 200 square feet, having no plumbing/heating/electrical, Knight avoids all need for any building permit.
After taking hours to go through the complex zoning laws, Knight got to work inspecting the tree. “I had a professional arborist, a company called ‘Tyson’s Tree Service’ come out and trim the tree and inspect it for health, and the tree is in very good health,” said Knight. “You have to make sure of something like that.”
Treetop Builders, a tree house consulting company, handled building the base for the tree house. “They built the platform, they did all the calculations for the cantilever system: the cabling, the stricter,” said Knight. “I wanted to make sure that was done correctly and safely.”
Once the platform was constructed, Knight and his own team of contractors did everything else.
Knight lives in an Arlington neighborhood without Home Owner’s Association. With building without need of permits, his last concern would be with neighbors. Knight tells us that the neighbors “have actually been quite encouraging.” He is hosting a tree-house warming party to give his neighbors a tour this Friday. With white Christmas lights wrapped around the deck for light, Knight can entertain his neighbors long after the sun goes down.
You’d think that the 36-year-old Knight would sit back and relax for a while, but he tells us that his free time doesn’t stay free for long.
“My work and play kind of bleed together, my free time turns into projects that ultimately turn into profitable endeavors,” Knight tells that he’s already on his next big project. “I am in the process of purchasing a Roman Catholic Church to do…something with it, I’m not entirely certain yet.”