tiny tree house

Sometimes all I want is a place of total solitude and serenity. A place to reflect, a place to read. A place to watch the insects and bugs going about their day, a place to escape the world. Today I found that place.

- Black Forest, Germany.

Follow the hashtag #Fromrusttoroadtrip to follow our van conversion project and our travels around Europe! 🌍


The Cinder Cone Treehouses. A structure of two treehouses, a skating bowl, and a wood-fired soaking tub. The construction took about 12 months in total and costed around $170,000. One treehouse acts as a workshop and the other is for living. There is electricity and even Wi-Fi! Located in Skamania, Washington. 

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If you had asked me as a child what the most magical place in the world was, I would have said my great aunt and uncle’s house. Time didn’t quite work there, not the way it does in the rest of the world. Time always seemed a bit slower in the house, and in some rooms seemed to have stopped entirely.

It was an unassuming pinkish tan house on a busy street, if you went through the front door that is. You would have noted a tiny kitchen and living room leading to a hallway with two intensely old fashioned bedrooms and a quaint bathroom. You’d be forgiven for thinking that was where they lived.

The real house was down the stairs that suddenly appeared at the end of the hallway. There was the real kitchen and dining room, the living room and second living room (one just for the kids). And the mysterious parts of the house I was never brave enough to explore: the storeroom, and the closed doors I was never to open. It may have been nothing more than my great aunt and uncle’s bedroom, but I wasn’t going to open it and find out!

The second living room always had some kind of surprise in it, you never knew what you might find. One visit could lead to the discovery of several tiny model Pokemon scattered in the corners of the room. Another day might find a large Barbie house with a real working elevator.Or a stormtrooper blaster from the 80s that still worked. The best kind of surprise was when we found kittens in the back of the storeroom.

The yard was just as special. When my great-aunt moved into the house decades and decades ago, she planted a magnolia sprout. By the time I was a child the tree was two and a half stories high and had an interior like a spiral staircase. Me and all my cousins could climb into the branches at the bottom and go as far up as we could before the adults would call us all out of the tree. There was a gorgeous half park like area with the tiniest little creek where my youngest sister would go walking with my great uncle when they felt like being quiet.

We were given the run of the place… except for my great uncle’s workshop. He ran an upholstery business from his little shed in the driveway and it was always full of sharp and mysterious objects that six year old girls are not allowed to play with (probably with good reason). Some of my very best memories are there in that house. Or they were. After my great-uncle died the city finally managed to convince my great-aunt to sell them the house in order to widen the road. They promised to preserve her magnolia tree and yard as a kind of public park.

Yeah they pretty much lied. That gorgeous wonderful and magical tree was the first thing to go. I was devastated.

So why am I writing so much about an old house? Well… I guess I’m just realizing I’ve mourned the house near as much as my great uncle. When the house went… it kind of felt like my great aunt went too. She passed away this weekend I just learned, but I think I said goodbye a long time ago, when I had to give up my magic little room in the magnolia house.