A would-be early retiree, a forbidden tree in the back country amid some of the most expensive houses in Canada, and a chance meeting in the forest – all pieces of a strange tree-house puzzle.

Joel Allen went from software engineer to carpenter as he transitioned from a high-pace technology job thought to be the road to early retirement and into a more contemplative and slower lifestyle.

Sites and materials found and gifted helped get this project off the ground (quite literally) – as did help from architect friends through the design and construction process, particularly given the complex geometries involved.

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The results? A dwelling of dubious legality after a volatile departure from the daily grind … yet somehow stress-free despite that. Lofted off the forest floor, it has little-but-enough space, basic amenities and lovely operable skylights.