Tyrolean Treetop, Mariastein, Austria

Bernd Weinmayer, a famous glass artist by trade, is also a crafty woodworker, and built this beauty above his studio in the Tyrolean Alps. Inside, there's a woodstove and a couch. A system of cowbells alert him to the arrival of visitors below.

Tongabezi Lodge Treehouse, Livingstone, Zambia

This lavish resort is perched over the bank of the Zambezi River, which marks the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Trunks of a riverine ebony tree rise through the floor. It's equipped with a claw-foot tub and toilet.

The Witch House, Ibiza, Spain

A man on the famous party island off the Spanish mainland hired Nelson to build this fairytale treehouse for his supremely lucky young son, Daniel. An Aleppo pine hosts the magical creation, with round portal windows.

The Mirrorcube, Sweden

The Mirrorcube is one of five individual treehouses that make up Sweden's Treehotel. It has an infrared shield invisible to the human eye but fully visible to birds that would otherwise crash into it.

The HemLoft, Whistler, BC, Canada

This intricate organic cocoon sits at the trunk of a mighty hemlock. Rookie builder Joel Allen made it from $10,000 worth of free materials he found on Craigslist.

Dick and Charlie's Tea Room, Caddo Lake, near Uncertain, Texas

This bayou-style treehouse is said to be a relic of the years after Prohibition, when the citizens of Uncertain, Texas, in a dry county, would row across the bayou to patronize wet establishments in stilt houses in the neighboring county. A sign outside details the House Rules: 1. There ain't any; 2. There never was none; 3. There ain't gonna be none.

Victor Brothers Treehouse, Western Washington

Complete with a round "hobbit door," this house of maple, Douglas fir, and hemlock trees was made by the three Victor brothers, all in their twenties, after the first treehouse they built at this location burned down. Inside, there's a music room, a full bar, and five TVs.

The Lunch House, San Antonio, Texas

Ten-year-old Alex runs the show at this trapdoor, swing, and lunch bucket-equipped treetop mini barn.

Lake Nest Treehouse, Southampton, New York
A beguiling stairway of branch work and salvaged Southern yellow pine lure upward all who wander close. "When I see something like this, I wonder if humans are meant to be in the trees again," Nelson writes. "Trees themselves are beckoning for us to return and reside among their boughs."
Drynnachan Lodge Treehouse, Cawdor, Scotland

Lord Cawdor, of the ancient Scottish Cawdor family, is a trained architect. To make this riverside retreat on the trunks of weathered alder trees, he salvaged doors and windows stashed in outbuildings on his family estate. There's room for his four kids to share sleepover rights.

Cabin in the Trees, Ann Arbor, Michigan

After discovering one of Pete Nelson's books nine years ago, Bruce Dondero, a housepainter, promised his son Nick a treehouse. After a few years of work, he built this spacious studio on three spruce trees, 11 feet off the ground. The upright bass belongs to Bruce; Nick, now 15, plays guitar and drums.

Topridge, Upstate New York

Twenty-five feet above the forest floor, this lofty Adirondack retreat survived a 2011 hurricane. It comfortably sleeps four adults and houses a bathroom with full plumbing.

Delta Camp Treehouse, Botswana

Sitting in an old-growth jackalberry tree, this two-story treehouse is built from local materials. A cocktail deck looks out over the surrounding floodplains, which host an incredible array of wildlife, including giraffes, elephants, and leopards.

Delta Camp Treehouse, Botswana

Be in a Treehouse: Design/Construction/Inspiration is available here for $26.

Co.Design

13 Of The World’s Coolest Treehouses

Pete Nelson, the world's premier treehouse designer/builder, takes you on a tour of the best treehouses and details his tricks of the trade so you can build your own.

Pete Nelson has one of those careers you might have fantasized about at age eight but never realized is really possible: he’s the world’s best-known treehouse designer and builder.

Now, the star of Animal Planet’s reality show Treehouse Masters has compiled all his fort-building wisdom into a book, Be in a Treehouse: Design/Construction/Inspiration . If you've got fantasies of ditching your earth-bound home to move among the leaves, you'll find ample temptation and instruction here. The guide portion of the book details everything from how to secure a building permit, to tree selection, to designing platforms in accordance with the International Building Code.

Nelson uses 21 of his own designs as case studies, each from Treehouse Point, his family's treehouse-based bed-and-breakfast in Issaquah, Washington. "If your treehouse needs to be a classic single style—so be it. If it needs to be Frank Gehry—make it so! If it is something no one has ever seen before—more power to you. Just do it!" he encourages.

As inspiration, he also offers a tour of 26 of the world’s coolest treetop homes. Here, we've picked 13 of those dreamy sky-high huts, from the fairytale-worthy Witch House in Ibiza to a mirrored cube that reflects the Swedish wilderness.

The HemLoft, Whistler, BC, Canada

This intricate cocoon sits at the trunk of a mighty hemlock. Rookie builder Joel Allen made it from $10,000 worth of free materials he found on Craigslist.

Tyrolean Treetop, Mariastein, Austria

Bernd Weinmayer, a famous glass artist by trade, is also a crafty woodworker, and he built this beauty above his studio in the Tyrolean Alps. Inside, there's a woodstove and a couch. A system of cowbells alert him to the arrival of visitors below.

Tongabezi Lodge Treehouse, Livingstone, Zambia

This lavish resort is perched over the bank of the Zambezi River, which marks the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Trunks of a riverine ebony tree rise through the floor, and a basalt cliff makes up the structure's back wall. It's equipped with a claw-foot tub and toilet.

The Witch House, Ibiza, Spain

A man on an island off the Spanish mainland hired Nelson to build this fairytale treehouse for his supremely lucky young son, Daniel. An Aleppo pine hosts the magical creation.

The MirrorCube, Sweden

The Mirrorcube is one of five individual treehouses that make up Sweden's Treehotel. It has an infrared shield invisible to the human eye but fully visible to birds that would otherwise crash into it.

Dick and Charlie's Tea Room, Caddo Lake, near Uncertain, Texas

This bayou-style treehouse, perched in Cypress trees, is said to be a relic of the years after Prohibition, when the citizens of Uncertain, Texas (yes, that's the town's real name), in a dry county, would row across the bayou to patronize wet establishments in stilt houses in the neighboring county. A sign outside details the House Rules: 1. There ain't any; 2. There never was none; 3. There ain't gonna be none.

For more treehouses, click the slide show above.

Be in a Treehouse: Design/Construction/Inspiration is available here for $26.

[Image: © Pete Nelson]

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