One-of-a-kind tree house makes great backyard addition
A rotted Ash tree in Bonnie and Keith Brauer's Zionsville, Ind., backyard had been topped, but due to the tree's historical significance, getting rid of it wasn't an option.
"It has one bent limb that forms a U-shape," Bonnie says. "I've been told the bend in the tree was forced that way by Native Americans to mark their deer trail and support a deer stand in later years."
The Brauers' landscaping is beautifully designed, but the tree with a rich past marred the view.
After seeing a TV special about tree houses last year, Bonnie became inspired to make the eyesore the star of their backyard.
The Brauers contacted remodelers David and Kathy Cuppy of highly rated All Phase Group Inc. in Indianapolis to turn their tree house vision into a reality.
"We wanted a crooked house like a Dr. Seuss illustration, or a quirky Hobbit-style house," Bonnie says.
The Cuppys had completed a tree house for a family in Brown County in southern Indiana, and they were eager to jump into the new challenge.
Everything was custom made for the Brauer's tree house - including its octagonal shape, domed roof with copper finials, spiral staircase and the two fairy houses atop the tree's two trunks.
Due to the round shape, the Cuppys had to precisely cut every piece of the structure, which is now known as the Hobbit Tree House. The entire process took about eight weeks to complete.
"The curves make it very whimsical," Kathy says. "When you're on the inside looking out at the surrounding woods, you feel as if you're in a storybook."
The Brauers say their tree house and is the perfect place for viewing the wildlife in the valley below. They suspect this summer will hold plenty of magical wonder for them and their two grandsons.
"The kids think it's pretty cool - but I've been known to have a glass of wine up there every once and a while," Bonnie says.
Editor's note: This story first appeared in a May 2009 Indianapolis print edition of Angie's List Magazine .