The St. Louis Treehouse
Story circa February 17th, 2022 | Back to Blog Listing
This is by far my most favorite construction project I've ever worked on. It wasn't especially difficult nor did it take a lot of time. But the joy that came from this project is memorable to me.

Our room in the Iowa house was built with a loft in it. The room wasn't especially suited for a loft, but the owner of the house decided to build one in each room nevertheless. It did create more space and fit the overall quirkiness of the house. It was built by hand, mostly using 2x4s and some pine planks. There was a wooden ladder that we had to climb to get in and out of the bed. It was also fashioned out of 2x4s and literally just balanced against the opening in the loft bottom.

The page of plans I drew up before heading off to gather building materials.
The room had two giant windows in it and given Jordan's nightshift schedule, it was extremely difficult for her to get any good sleep in there during the day.

I drew up some plans one evening, purchased everything I needed at The Home Depot, and got to work on a solution.

I had already ordered some blackout curtains and so I framed out the top of the loft in the same fashion one would frame out a wall. I didn't want to anchor the studs into the wall to ensure I didn't destroy the plaster, and so instead fashioned a base plate from a 2x4 and then ran my vertical support columns off of that. While it had limited anchor points, it seemed to be sound. Normally I'd run a column every 16 inches (per modern building specs), but since it wasn't specifically intended to be structural and to save on a little wood, I ran the columns every 20 inches instead. Once the new wall was framed out, I cut up the blackout curtains and stretched them over the 2x4 studs like a canvas. The canvas was attached to the 2x4 frame using staples. I specifically wanted to ensure that it was easy to break through in the event that we ever needed to escape the room quickly. Regardless, the result was immediately noticeable. The room was entirely dark.

I ran the wiring into the bed area as necessary, setup various lights, and topped everything off with remote controlled switches. The entire area was sealed in with the blackout curtains. I wrapped them around the top portion of the window that also bled into the sleeping area. I purchased a standard VESA mount at the store and mounted our TV inside of the loft off of one of the vertical 2x4 columns. Of course we had a small bag of remote controls on our bedside.

A photo taken from halfway up the ladder where you can see the "upstairs" and "downstairs"
Finally, there was a hole where the ladder was designed to allow us to climb up into the loft.

This let a good deal of light through and so it needed to be fixed. I fashioned up a small hatch door, attached it to a counter-weighted pulley system, and voila, our treehouse was born.

It provided the dark quarters Jordan needed for sleeping and was probably about the most enjoyable little escape you could find in a home. To make it feel a little bit larger, I purchased a bunch of rectangular mirrors from Lowe's and had them fastened to the walls within the treehouse. This gave the illusion that the treehouse went on for infinity and beyond and made all of the colored lights look especially cool. Jordan had also purchased me a few different lights, one for Christmas and one just because. I fashioned these into the area and the illusion was complete. We had tons of fun up there for the few months it existed.

As the lease was coming up, the treehouse needed to be taken down. I didn't help with this process and instead Jordan took it apart by herself.

Purchasing the mirrors we needed for the treehouse walls

Jordan and I in the finished treehouse