Tree House El Nido de Java

Have today’s grand, master-planned tree homes grown too far beyond their rustic roots?

The definition of “tree house” sure seems to have changed over the last few decades. What began as nest-like perches made of reclaimed materials has become a scene full of tree castles costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. These complex creations are cool and all, but they sacrifice the DIY spirit of the original concept.

If you think simpler is better when it comes to tree houses, these examples may bring back that wild, impromptu and natural sense some over-the-top concepts fall short of.

tree house nest like design

Romero Studios has been building tree-lofted huts, homes, porches and platforms for over a decade, and the versatility of their work speaks to experience in various sites, climates and cultural contexts. Some structures are suspended from the sides of cliffs, others supported by a single trunk and still others more like ordinary houses straight stilts.

Tree House Romero
Tree House bridge
tree house rustic detail

But their beautiful creations branch out further than that, in some cases using bent wood, ivy, vines, nearby logs, twigs and branches, intertwining them on the fly into core parts of the eventual completed design.

Treehouse wood detail
Treehouse round windows

But setting aside the aesthetics, for the moment, tree houses are about the experience as well – what does it feel like to walk up the steps or climb the latter and crawl inside? How do the foreground, middle ground and background work together when one looks out on the world below?

tree house round itnerior

And naturally: what is the interior like? Is it a quiet and contemplative space, or lively and well-lit? A normal-style dwelling (save for sitting up in the sky, anyway) or a retreat away from the familiar? Playful to the last, these tree dwellings show great depth in terms of the design questions they ask and answer in different ways due to differing client demands and regional conditions.