The Make-a-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children diagnosed with critical illnesses. We’re in the business of making renovation dreams come true. So helping the foundation grant a young local boy’s wish for a treehouse felt like a perfect fit.
It All Started with a Wish
This is the story of a unique partnership that brought us together with some amazingly talented people — and a young boy with a wish.
Everett’s wish was simple and sweet: a treehouse with a slide. Like far too many kids across the world, this Fishers, IN, kid was battling a critical illness, and he’d been referred to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. They’d agreed to grant his wish — and we’d agreed to partner with the foundation to make the magic happen. For the next month, we brought in some of the most generous and talented subcontractors we knew to help us get supplies and coordinate the build with the internationally-known Treehouse Guys — Chris “Ka-V” Haake and James “B-fer” Roth.
Based in Vermont, the Treehouse Guys design and build with accessibility in mind and have completed numerous projects across the globe for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Not only are they wildly creative, but they love what they do — which makes them a lot of fun to work with. Here are a few highlights from the construction of Everett’s treehouse.
For children diagnosed with critical illnesses, a wish come true…can be that spark that helps these children believe that anything is possible and gives them the strength to fight harder against their illnesses. – from the Make a Wish Foundation website
Making the Treehouse Work with the Tree
Trees rarely grow perfectly straight, and they sometimes need a little help with supporting a treehouse structure. The Treehouse Guys’ design was not only beautiful and fun but also respectful of the trees around which it would be built. To give the trees space to grow, holes were cut into the deck and roof. Rubber guards were installed in the deck around the holes, not only to flex as the trees grow but also keep the rain out and prevent objects (such as toys or snacks) from falling down through the holes.
Where a little more structural support was needed, large bolts were driven into the trees — but sparingly, so the trees’ own structural integrity could be maintained.
Adding Visual Interest while Reinforcing Safety
As with any build, striking a balance between beauty and safety can be challenging. The Treehouse Guys met the challenge creatively. To allow the treehouse to have a sense of loftiness without making Everett and his small brother climb a ladder, one of our partners helped install a staircase with a railing. This safer solution also makes it easier for smaller hands and feet to navigate.
For an added touch of “wild,” the Treehouse Guys incorporated rough-hewn, peeled logs and branches into their design, both as supports and as decorative elements. Regular lumber — sawn into uneven planks in places for visual interest — underpins the treehouse’s framework, giving shape and stability to the railing, roof, and deck. The overall result is not only incredibly sturdy but lends an air of “secret hideout” to the structure as it blends into the surrounding trees.
We Love Seeing Even Our Smallest Clients Smile
The finished treehouse almost melts into the canopy, its railings echoing the surrounding branches and its roof nestling among the green of the leaves. And an inaugural popsicle “toast” was just what the occasion called for.
We were honored to support this project with our expertise and local connections, and watching the Treehouse Guys work was an incredible opportunity — as well as a joy. Such a simple yet impactful thing, granting a wish for a young boy fighting a hard fight. While we love making all our clients smile, Everett’s joyful smile — and the smiles of his grateful family — counts as one of our all-time favorites.
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