The Ultimate Adult Tree House
Completed in 2011, the treehouse at Camp Wandawega Lake Resort in Elkhorn, Wisconsin is simply amazing. Proprietors Tereasa Surratt & David Hernandez along with a group of very talented and generous friends built this labour of love, located in the center of the property.
Below you will find progress pictures of the construction, the end results and the background story on how the tree house came to serve as a touching tribute to Tereasa’s late father Tom.
• Angela Finney Hoffman of Post 27 Store
• Tereasa Surratt
How “Tom’s Treehouse” Came to Be
It started with a tree. Not long after Tereasa and David purchased Wandawega in 2004, Tereasa’s father christened the property by hanging a rope swing on the big elm tree in the center of the camp. Tom would pass away a year and a half later. Tereasa tells Chicago Home+Garden:
“Almost immediately after, we found out the tree had Dutch elm disease. I was devastated. I couldn’t cut that tree down.”
Although the tree’s branches were dying the trunk was still quite strong, so the couple along with some friends started thinking… big.
Ultimately they settled on a three-level cottage in which the tree comes through a deck near ground level, then breaks through the floor in three spots on the first level of the house. At two of those points, sturdy arms of the tree were sawed level with the floor; a third arm pierces the floor and extends out a window.
Tom’s Treehouse was built for free through the amazing generosity of Tereasa’s incredibly talented and generous friends (mentioned at the top of the post). They selflessly donated their time and skill to make the tree house a reality.
The DIY Interior
Most of the wood is reclaimed and much of the interior is custom-made, vintage and re-purposed. It’s a showcase of DIY ingenuity by Angela Finney-Hoffman of Post27. For example:
- The pillows are made out of old flour sacks
- The stumps of the trees were refashioned as side tables
- DIY Antler chandelier made from old sheds found at the camp
- DIY mason jar lamps with lamp kits from Home Depot
- Repurposed sconces in the sleeping lofts from elsewhere on the camp
- Much of the interior was sourced from flea markets, thrift stores and eBay
- Official Wandawega Website
- A Very Modest Cottage Blog
- Chicago Home+Garden – Up in the Air
- Designtripper – Stay: Wandawega Treehouse
- Bob Coscarelli Photography
- Jacob Hand Photography
- t. HARRISON HILLMAN Photography
- The Lettered Cottage
- Apartment Therapy – Tereasa & David’s Grown-Up Tree House
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