We began with a section of rainforest with a lavatube bubble protruding from the very center. Sturdy trees grew from the bubble, their roots naturally aerated by the configuration of lava beneath, with its tunnels and air currents. Kilauea Volcano has created a vast underground network of tunnels where lava once flowed to the sea. As the lava flows decreased in serial eruptions, the tubes were left behind. A large one in the park, Thurston Lava Tube, is one you can walk through.
We brought in a treehouse designer and builder, Roderick Romero. Roderick studied the features and called in an arborist to test the trees for strength, health, and hardness, and designed this small two story structure to fit the existing tree space.
Experienced treehouse builders came in and using garnier limbs, suspended the structure from the trees as they built it.
Building materials used are mostly recycled floor and siding from a church on Oahu that was demolished, and bamboo, an ultimately sustainable building material that regrows rapidly. The only trees lost in the process were dead ones and a couple of straggly saplings. We moved a few giant hapu'u ferns to more suitable locations. The doors and clear windows are all recycled. The stained glass windows were commissioned from a local artist, Seneca Lalonde. Inside, the plates and cups are all made by either local artists or were part of our collection of hand made pottery from before we moved to Hawaii.
We were unable to locate a wooden soaking tub on the island. Here, the traditional soaking tubs are built of stone or concrete, dug into the ground. That was not to be a part of a treehouse, so we brought over a cedar hot tub from Alaska, and sunk it in the first deck.
The house has two rooms, a sitting/eating/food prep room with soft chairs, an ottoman, a built in window table looking out over the forest with stools, a flat screen for viewing movies, and a small food prep area with sink, stovetop, refrigerator, microwave, and cooking and eating utensils. Outdoors there is a grill.
Upstairs through a trap door is the bedroom, with a queensize memory foam mattress & down comforter, a couple of nightstands with drawers for clothes and such, and a corner dedicated to clothing storage on hooks. The shape of the room is irregular with multiple walls, and the clothes corner is an angle recessed next to the bed in such a way that the contents re mostly hidden from view. The shape of the room is what the trees said. Since it can get chilly at night here on the mountaintop, there is a Jotul propane heating stove inside that looks like a fireplace, as you can watch the flames. But it's a lot easier to use - no wood to carry, and no smoke in the little house.
Bathroom facilities include a composting toilet and sink in their own little room behind bamboo glass doors, bought on resale and then finished to fit, and an outdoor shower surrounded by bamboo, on the same level as the bathroom and living area and hot tub.
Access to the treehouse is up a forest path, a series of lava boulders set into the side of the lava tube, and then a ladder constructed of heavy beams that were once part of a parking structure. It is an entry that involves the use of hands, so when bringing things into the treehouse, backpacks are preferable. We offer daypacks to our guests to use.
So here it is, a small haven in the trees up where the birds fly, to celebrate love & romance. Just a few minutes away, Pele puts on her show at Halema'uma'u, the crater inside Kilauea Volcano, where in the dusk of the day, the glow of lava rising and falling in a vast pool becomes apparent in the darkening sky.
|Fragrant cedar hot tub on treehouse lanai|