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.
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.
“Construction began in the fall of 2008, accompanied by bear sightings and lots of lost tools. Allen learned as he went. After spending $6,500 of his own money, he discovered he could find free building materials on Craigslist – he estimates that what he claimed was worth $10,000.”
“In July 2010, Allen finally finished the project, dubbing it the HemLoft. He and his girlfriend Heidi added furniture and made it their idyllic summer home- away from it all, but close enough to town for an occasional shopping trip and espresso.”
“Pushed by a friend to explain why he spent years and a small fortune building a secret tree house, Allen got to the bottom of it:
‘It seemed too simple, but it was true. The driving force behind the whole thing was a simple, yet inexorable desire to build something cool. There were no practical motives or profound meanings.'”