This is a special story of a treehouse located in a small village near Modena (Italy), of a father and his sons and how such a simple construction is able to teach something about nature to people who live there.
Hi! Can you tell us something about your treehouse: why did you build it?
The motivation that led me to venture into this undertaking was to share with my kids (all prime-age), an unique experience. I had this idea at least three months before starting to work on it. I still remember the surprise of the boys when the van came loaded of wood, planks and nails that discharged the various goods in the yard. None of them knew of my project and they could hardly believe their eyes when I said that our holidays were all dedicated to build a tree house. A little house just for them, that would tell them, like a precious book, the life of thousand insects, small animals and birds that inhabit an old ancient olive tree.
Which is the function?
“La casetta sull’albero” has no commercial purposes, it should be just a game that has the power to take the children away by video games, even though important, but that might be all-encompassing. I also wanted that they could familiarize with the animals of the yard and knew closely and fearless the inhabitants’ world of a tree. Their nests, their habits, their food and so on. This is a single room in which three people can sleep comfortably. We have also a small terrace on which four people can enjoy the landscape.
What kind of tree is it?
The tree we used has about 300 years and its origin is in northern Spain. It has a shape quite rare for the olive trees: four “arms” that could accommodate the platform of the house like in the palm of a hand.
Who built the tree house?
My friend Massimo Villa helped me to draw the sketch and gave me the first materials to adapt and shape. Then we did everything by ourselves, in exactly three weeks, me and my three boys, Nicholas, Lorenzo and Leonardo respectively of 11, 10, 9 years old. The tree house has a platform of 3 x 2 meters and a height to the top of 3,50 m with a terrace of 2 x 0,60 meters.
I am a publisher and I have never done something like this, but at the end it was like to make a book.
• The idea (editorial project),
• Sketch the idea on a notebook (menabò and sketch),
• Construction starting from the structure (graphic and layout),
• Final assembly (printing),
• Finally the painting and finishings (packaging).
Of course I had to find the appropriate tools. I couldn’t use graphics programs, inks and paper, but I had to rent a table saw and a set of special tools: electric jack-plane, drill, circular cutter, compressor with gun shoots staples, screwdriver, screws with a particular head to be able to tighten with more energy, glue and water-paints.
The woods used were: for the platform, boards of maple, thick 6 cm. The piles are squared fir beams of 10 cm. The walls are pine’s match-boarding. The terrace’s piles are of oak, while the support pile (the only one who helps the tree), is made of bay oak on a concrete slab. For the roof we used tile spruce immersed in oil fired (first) and then painted with water-paint. Displaced out of phase one above the other and fixed with the gun shoots staples and compressor.
Has it been painted? Is there a color study?
The choice of the colors has been decided keeping in mind the tones of green of the Olive and bark, but it had also to harmonize and camouflage but at the same time it had to highlight. Like a beautiful book cover that highlights the product, it has to appear among the thousands of titles that populate the shelves of a library, so the “tree house” has to make the passersby curious (it’s located along an important road) and maybe make them smile and arouse a feeling of tenderness for a while …
What is the high from the ground? And how you reach the treehouse?
The platform of the tree house is at 2,5 meter above the ground. A wooden ladder is used to reach it.
Is there any electrical or water system inside?
The tree house has an electrical system that switches on many lights connected with a twilight switch.
Thanks to Mr. Bonacini for spending his time answering to my questions.
More pics in the gallery below.