Most would agree that children have vivid imaginations. Whether they create giant castles using pieces of cardboard and duct tape or use an old, rusty wagon to impersonate a pirate ship floating on dangerous waters, a child’s imagination dreams big and never has limits. As we get older, our experiences tend to alter those dreams, but, if we are lucky, we hold onto them with a child’s spirit until, hopefully, it one day comes to fruition.
After purchasing a large ranch in 2000, recently retired Mike Winter of Bonham, Texas discovered that it wasn’t too late to see his dream of having an enchanted treehouse come to reality. Mike recalls, “Growing up I always had a fort of some type out in the woods. I discovered that there was nothing more magical than hearing rain fall through tree leaves. I had dreamed of building a cozy retreat in the trees ever since.”
After buying the land, he immediately built a weekend home; one that he, his wife, and their boys could enjoy. He explains, “Denise and I both grew up in small towns and wanted our boys to experience something other than the big city. In fact, we didn’t even have a TV when our boys were growing up. We’d visit the ranch about every third weekend with our four boys, and, at times, invite enough friends to completely fill two large SUVs.”
Judging by these photos, you can see how much love was poured into the layout and construction of this quaint creation. Sitting inside the treehouse with the windows and doors wide open is one way Mike enjoys this charming abode. He continues, “I LOVE sitting in the treehouse with the windows and back doors open and feeling the breeze against my face while watching the tree limbs gently sway back and forth.”
The porch area is another great place to relax and be one with nature. It’s just a small extension from the living area but adds that real treehouse feel that kids and adults love. Not only is the porch a great spot to lounge and converse, but the breathtaking view of the lake is one of the reasons Mike chose to construct the treehouse facing it.
The interior walls are made of an unfinished tongue-and-groove knotty pine that looks organically gorgeous while adding to the character of the space. As far as the decor goes, you will find a perfectly lovely setup for any family vacationing or visiting for a weekend: a comfy sleeper sofa, a bathroom with shower, a refrigerator, and wicker seating…all in an acclimatized room. Nice!
Some of the unusual furnishings are those which Mike himself upcycled into functional pieces. When asked what is the most unique piece in the room, Mike couldn’t seem to settle on one particular item. He said, “Again, hard to say… my favorites are the antique six-panel bathroom door (with its 50+ year peeling but stabilized paint) hung on black barn door hardware, the bath vanity made from another old, six-panel door, the coffee table made from thick, heavily weathered lumber and rusty metal straps. Also, the eight-foot wooden doors and windows, which give the treehouse a warm and natural look inside and out while providing a unobstructed view outside. It’s worth noting that the first three items, like so many others in the treehouse, came from materials found on the ranch or in its old barn.”
After a long, hot summer day, take a break on this simple wooden rope swing to ease your mind. I’m sure many children and adults will enjoy this little treasure located directly below the porch deck facing a lakeside view.
Mike and Denise are looking forward to enjoying their retirement years and undergoing their next creative project. With their oldest son getting married at the ranch in September, they have their hands full making all the preparations for that special day. In the meantime, Mike continues to dream up the next big building adventure. Maybe zip lining? Or a pool? …Stay tuned!