Treehouse Masters

I’ve discovered a little gem of a DIY television show, Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters.

Now in its second season, Treehouse Masters is hosted by building visionary and “tree whisperer” Pete Nelson, a really likable everyman with a passion for trees. Pete comes from neighboring Washington state, where he and his wife, Judy, and daughter, Emily, own and operate Treehouse Point, a bed-and-breakfast near Seattle that boasts six guest-room treehouses. (You can also visit the property by taking a 1 1/2-hour guided tour of all the non-occupied treehouses on the property for just $18.)

Pete Nelson has been building treehouses for 20 years, starting with the one his dad helped him build when he was just 5 years old. Pete’s company, Nelson Treehouse & Supply, has now built over 200 treehouses in 6 countries. Treehouse Masters follows Pete and his lovable crew, including his twin 20-something sons, as they create “private escapes for those with a passion to reconnect with nature and awaken their inner child.” But if you think Pete’s treehouses are just for kids, think again. Some of Pete’s creations are self-contained living spaces including bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. If you can dream it, Pete can build it. He’s even built a working recording studio high up in the trees.


One recent episode had Pete visiting his former apprentice, Takashi Kobayashi (Taka), in Japan. Taka is now a treehouse master himself, recently creating the “Tree Dragon” treehouse, built for the child survivors of the 2011 Japanese tsunami. Taka wanted to create a space where the children could conquer the fear of nature the tsunami had brought to them and get back in touch with the beauties of the natural world. Through Pete’s conversation with Taka, some of it through an interpreter, we find that, regardless of the architectural antiquities that abound in Japan, there have never been treehouses built there—the word doesn’t even exist in the Japanese language. Because of Pete, the Japanese now have a word for these creative spaces … treehouse!

Pete also has a handful of books about treehouses, including this year’s Be in a Treehouse: Design/Construction/Inspiration. If you love the thought of living (or playing) in the trees, check out Treehouse Masters, Friday nights on Animal Planet.


  1. Debbie Fischer says:

    Oh Mary Jane I watch this show too and love it! They sure make some awesome and beautiful treehouses.

  2. Deborah McKissic says:

    Oh…how nice! I have a tiny cape cod house..and a tiny, now I am thinking I might need…a tiny treehouse!

    • Well Debby I built my own tree house when I was 12 going on 13 years old and lived in it for a year. My Daddy had sole custody of me at the time and was so bamboozled by a preteen that to get me out of the house safely seemed like a swell idea to him ! finally a neighbor reported him ( ok I was getting a bit wild and not really bathing much – my baby sitter who looked in on me until he came home from work said I didnt have to bathe until she could plant radish seeds on me ! that worked in my 12 year old mind.) So I had to move into the “big” house after the better part of a year.

      • MaryJane says:

        What a sweet story! I’m sure that year played a big part in who you are today. Love the image of a 12-year-old so close to nature, radishes could grow in her hair.

  3. Nancy Coughlin says:

    On one of my visits, one of my sons introduced me to this show. Love it. Unfortunately, haven’t had TV for years and years, so only get to see it when visiting others. Have seen some stunning treehouses and they are such a treat. Almost a fantasy!. My most favorite ones were the ones the elves lived in in “The Lord of the Rings”!!!! OK, the Ewoks had neat ones, too, in the Star War movies! Bet you can’t guess I am into a bit of fantasy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *