Build Your Own Treehouse

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I am so very excited to share the TREEHOUSE that now hails from our backyard! This has been several years of dreaming on my part, and Phase 1 is finally complete!  I’m going to share some fun pictures today, and see if my husband can tap out a “how to” for a future post. I just couldn’t wait for that one.  {Prepare yourself for a monster post!}  This is adding on to my home tour goal of a room a month this year, this is our  “outdoor” room, it counts as a room, right?

Build Your Own Treehouse

When we chose our lot to build on 4 years ago, from the moment I laid eyes on our tree, I’ve dreamed about a treehouse for my kids to hang out in, and enjoy. With each passing year, as my husband wanted to wait for the tree to overcome the trauma of building a home in it’s root system, I felt my dream slipping as I thought it’d never happen. My oldest was getting close to growing out of such an idea. After I thought the tree had sufficient “rest” I kept nudging my husband, and he still wasn’t keen on the idea, for some reason I never really understood. He just didn’t seem as excited about the idea as I was.

At the beginning of the year (when everyone feels overly ambitious), I got the bright idea that I didn’t need him to do it, I could figure it out myself. I kept looking at the handmade hideaway my friend Ashley at The Handmade Home built for her kids, and thought I could replicate it.


In April, I met the Shanty2Chic sisters at a conference, and realized they were just a hop, skip, and a jump away from me in Dallas. When I told them I decided to build a treehouse, they said, “We’ll come help you–we can knock it out in a day!” Once I picked my jaw up from the floor at that “day” comment, I jumped up and down (inside, of course) with excitement. They then introduced me to Kelly From Ryobi Tools, and she said she’d send me some tools to help us with the project–wahooo!! I was well on my way.

I’m going to skip the drama filled next few days that came from me giddily telling my husband that I was having some handy girls come help me build a treehouse. What he never told me was that he wanted to build it all along, just never voiced it.

Plans moved forward, and the kids got very excited! Here is the sketch and wish list he and the kids made one day:

treehouse plans

They had some crazy plans, including building a bridge from the boys bedroom window to the fort, placing “dead animals” a.k.a. taxidermy mounts, up on the side, a flat screen tv, plumbing, and a zipline to the trampoline. If you look below the tree drawing, you’ll also see a small pool with shark fins sticking out. Oh yes,they were dreaming big. My husband is great at involving the kids, and I love that it was their project just as much as it was his.  Ryobi sent me this bag of power tools (the Ultimate Combo Kit) to get us started. Besides the fabulous green color that makes me super happy, I love that these tools are cordless-and have universal battery packs that are interchangeable–serious LOVE!

ryobi power tools

On July 4th, we went out as a family to The Home Depot and got building supplies. After trying to dig out the dirt with a shovel, I convinced Mr. Duke to rent an electronic device from The Home Depot to help break through the bedrock under our home, and after a few hours of digging, he did.

digging holes for treehouse

After digging holes, they filled it with rocks, then mixed up some concrete to secure the posts. Then the framing process began:

Framing the Treehouse

We tried to make this a family effort as much as possible. A lot of things, only my handy husband could do. I considered myself the historian, and the kids used the power tools when available. Mind you, it was summer in Texas, so generally between 95-100 degree’s on any given Saturday.

After the base was built, up came the platform.

Treehouse Platform

The Kids were so excited to finally go up on it! The neighbor kids would come and go throughout the two month process of the treehouse being built, often wanting to help, watch, or chat with Mr. Duke as he worked.

When the railing went up, we needed all hands on deck! The kids helped hold it up and steady amidst measuring and such.

Railings on the Treehouse

Do It Yourself Treehouse

Ryobi Power tools


Though Ryobi did not fund our Treehouse project, they provided tools, and also sponsored Mr. Duke and I to go to HavenRyobi Power Tools drill

Now for the final shots, the details! Included are 3 “trap doors.” Two are smaller for stowing special items, and one is large with a cut out on the bottom. My husband is scheming making a cargo net to come out of the bottom of that, so stay tuned to see that final part of it. There are also corner seat/benches for each child, and the stairs were made nearly identical to the mini version he crafted for the girls dollhouse a few years ago.


Finished Treehouse

I look forward to many more memories created in this fun little spot in our yard;)  We are thinking we will stain, though I’d love to paint it a crazy color…

view from the treehouse

Kids Treehouse

Questions? Comments? Praises for my husband and kids? Do you have a treehouse? Dream of a treehouse? I’m so happy our Treehouse is built, now the kids want to sleep in it, under the stars!

Join The Discussion



  1. AHHHHH! I’ve been waiting for this post! It looks amazing! Any kid would LOVE to play on that thing. WOOHOO!!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thanks, Beth! I know my husband would have loved to have you guys come help him!

  2. Fawn says:

    This is so awesome and impressive. We are moving in a few weeks to a yard that has some great trees. We are hoping to do the same.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      That sounds fabulous, I’m so happy it’s built!

  3. Aline says:

    How fun!!! Can I go play in it? Maybe camp out there in the summer? 🙂

    It reminded me of a novel I read once, the guy was building something and the kid was helping, I think he was mending a deck, anyway, it took him all day and at the end of the work, both of them sweaty and happy, he thinks: Making things with kids takes twice the time, but it’s ten times more rewarding.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Absolutely! We have to remind ourselves how important it is in many ways!!!

  4. Nicole says:

    Our neighbors (whose children are now in college) have a great treehouse in their back yard, complete with a hammock underneath it. Their dad told me how his two boys when in boyscouts drew up the plans and built the whole thing with very little help from him. I was really impressed. My kids would love to have what you have there. I love the trap doors!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Ooooh, that hammock is a great idea! Impressive that those kids built it on their own!

  5. Mique says:

    This turned out sooooo awesome Kristen. I’m so excited for your family. Fun fun fun!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thanks, friend! Wish you could bring your kids to come play…while we sit and chat;)

  6. This is such a great project! The memories you both have made with your kids will be priceless_ awesome, Kristen!?? 🙂

  7. Liz H says:

    pretty darn incredible!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      THanks, friend..come back to Texas and play!

  8. Such a wonderful tree house! =)
    Love the photos!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thank you so much!!!

  9. Norm says:

    Awesome is too milld to describe what you, your good husband, and kiddos have done. What a grand adventure being your kids is that they get to do all of this fun stuff! What a priceless gift you have given all of us to document it in pictures. Wowser!


    • Kristen Duke says:

      I’ll take awesome. Can’t wait for you to come visit and play;)

  10. Raelene Hill says:

    Really LOVE IT! It turned out awesome! I’m planning a sleepover with grand kids when I come back there – in the tree house. I always wanted one and this is super deluxe! Great work, all of you. All working together truly makes it a FAMILY TREE HOUSE!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      We’ll fluff it up with some pillows for you. You built us a pretty cool treehouse back in the day…I remember it;)

  11. Jacqueline says:

    Nope, never had a treehouse, but sure wish I did, especially when seeing this! Love the details like the trapdoors. And I’ve said this before, but I think it’s wonderful how you include your kids in your projects. Looking forward to seeing the rest. Including, of course, the tunnel from the boys room, and the zipline to the trampoline, 😉 because those are some seriously cool ideas!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Ha! not sure those other ideas are going to come to fruition, though I know they’d love to be able to escape out of their bedroom window!

  12. Emily says:

    I love it!! I would love a treehouse – alas, one of the stinky things about this house is a smallish backyard. It has potential, I just know it! I love your treehouse and can’t wait to see more!!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      See that link from the handmade home, it wasn’t around a tree, very do-able anywhere.

  13. Oh this is awesome!! Way to go!! Now I just want to go and build something!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Glad you were inspired! Makes me want to build something, but hard to force myself when I know my husband can do it better…

  14. Karla in VT says:

    Wow super awesome. Where did you find plans for the treehouse, also did you use Trex lumber? Super expensive but would be worth it in these cold Vermont winters! My 9 year old has been asking nonstop to build one. I like the idea of painting it all funky colors…

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Hi Karla! My husband made up the plans, I’m hoping to get him to hash out the details so I can post about it. If your son has been asking, find a way to do it! Funky colors, and all! Yes, we did use trex lumber, he wanted it to be weather resistant without splinters and such.

  15. Kelly says:

    It turned out great… and I can only imagine how much your kids are loving it!! YAY!!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thanks, friend!!!

  16. That is amazing! I love how you had everyone in the family participate in some way with all the work!!!

  17. Wow! This is amazing!! I bet the kids love it. I’d love if you’d link up to The DIY’ers!

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  19. This is really cool! Me nor my hubby are very good with wood or a hammer and nail, but I wish we were, because I would love to build this for our Grandkids!

  20. This is awesome! I am pinning 🙂

  21. Ginger says:

    Awesome! 🙂

  22. Jenn says:

    That is just amazing!! So, so fun!!

  23. Wow…it turned out awesome!! Imagine all the memories they will make! So much fun!!

  24. Somehow I missed this post…it turned out so ridiculously awesome! I’m so jealous, I wish I had a tree house like that growing up. Great job, Kristen! 🙂

  25. Love this Kristen! Your husband and kids did such a great job and how fun that they can remember building that together! Love it! Can’t wait to share it with my husband, he is always looking for projects! 🙂

  26. Ana Huffman says:

    My husband and i will be building one this weekend! YAY

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  28. Not sure how I missed this post this first time, but am so glad I found your treehouse via Pinterest. You guys made building it look easy, even with all the helpers. haha As always, I’m blown away by your creativity and admire how your home and yard look so elegant, but also so kid-friendly and fun. I’m hitting 40 this year and would love nothing more than to have a tree house just like this! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Hi Trinity! you are so sweet, thanks for your kind words! we are definitely kid-friendly around here!!! Sometimes a little too much (by the mess that just doesn’t get shown enough on the blog;) It’s been fun to have this tree house/fort, I love it for the kids! I think a treehouse for your 40th sounds PERFECT!!

  29. Thanks Kristen for sharing. will make a tree house for kids is a great way to spend time together. Really kids love it.

  30. Lovely. Glad to find something that is educational, principal and bonding at the same time. Thank you for sharing the idea.

  31. Jeanne says:

    I want one, maybe two 🙂

  32. John says:

    This thing is so freakin awesome, I think I know just the tree I’ll build one – and I don’t have kids! But I remember many tree houses in my child hood. Thanks for a great post!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I’m happy to hear you love it, don’t need kids to enjoy something like that!

  33. This is amazing, Kristen! The tree house look simple but awesome. This post just reminded me many beautiful memories in my childhood. My treehouse was collapsed by a storm many years ago. When i read this post it just reminded me how fun it was and i think i should make one for my kids, they deserve this. Thanks for sharing an inspiring post!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      I’m so happy to hear it resonated with you, thanks for sharing!

  34. oh very good, great idea.

  35. Jealous over this. It’s really really nice.Thanks for sharing.

  36. maira says:

    nice blog.these kids are really amazing.

  37. Neha says:

    You are doing a great job by motivating other by your blogs. Thanks for sharing this blog.

  38. jaise says:

    This is a interesting and nice blog. I want to try this in my garden. Thanks for sharing.

  39. karen says:

    You are a genius. This is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  40. Neha says:

    Nice blog. Very helpful and creative. Thanks for sharing.

  41. Kaira says:

    nice idea.

  42. TG says:

    I wish I had such trees in my back yard to build homes. Still, great guide Kristen!

  43. shreya says:

    Really nice. Loved them

  44. Bobbi says:

    Do you have a supplies list for this project? What lumber, what bolts/screws/etc?

  45. Wow! This is amazing!! I bet the kids love it. I’d love if you’d link up to The DIY’ers!

  46. JoAnn Toronto says:

    I want to build a TREE house/play area just like this!!! do you have any measurements to share or any more details or plans on how to build this? Also- cost? I would love to know about the cost for this.

  47. Tim W. Lonctot says:

    What a beautifully well done tree house for the whole family, How fun I bet it was the bill to, thank you so much for sharing. I would really like to build a hunting blind, and just finding different ways to do it right now thank you very much and have a blessed day.

  48. OMG!! These look amazing!! What a great idea!! You’re too smart for your own good.

  49. You make me speechless with your ideas and amazing blog. Looking forward for your next blog. I become a great fan of you.

  50. A perfect blog which i was searching for. Great idea used and amazing tips. I Like this.

  51. This is amazing! I am so impressed. I am not sure I would have the patience to make something like this, but it looks completely amazing!

  52. Lynn Boskie says:

    Love the design and how it involved the kids.Did you ever post the plans ?

    Mom ready to build

  53. oh my god, you make me almost speechless I don’t have any words to express my feelings. its awesome for being here.


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