A Hideaway for All Ages Perched Among the Trees at Maine

“I went through this place in a boat once, and I couldn’t even find it,” says architect David Matero, that sited this playhouse so nicely one of the spruce trees that it’s practically invisible by a hundred yards away. The architect made the contemporary Adirondack-style structure to be a place where his clients can play games, read, have fun sleepovers and even find a little privacy when the main home is crowded. A brand new rope bridge joins the tiny home — they call it a treehouse because of its placement among the trees — to some zip-line platform. From the stage the main home is a zip ride away.

David Matero Architecture

Interior photographs by Darren Setlow Photography; exterior photographs by David Matero

At a Glance
Who plays here:
A family from California and their buddies
Location: Harpswell, Maine
Size: 350 square feet (32.5 square meters)

The home is not literally a treehouse but is perched one of the trees so nicely that it has earned the name. “There really aren’t trees in Maine that would support a construction in this way,” Matero states. While this side matches the ground, the home sits close to the edge of a cliff. The long fall from the back of the home and how it’s nestled among the spruces give it a treehouse feel.

David Matero Architecture

“The site is really lively,” Matero states. The back of the home faces the water and can be high above the ground. A cliff outside it makes the height seem even more spectacular in the 2 balconies. One is off the main living space, and the other is off the sleeping loft.

This rope bridge joins the treehouse to the zip-line stage, which is just out of view to the right. Originally the family needed to create the treehouse atop the existing stage, but after working on a few proposals using engineers, Matero found it was not possible. Instead, relatives run across the rope bridge to the stage and zip down to the main property.

Here the home is concealed.

Every one of those western redcedar shingles was hand dipped in Australian timber oil. This gives them an appearance that aids the house blend into the woods. “I wished to give it a contemporary Adirondack-camp look,” Matero states. Pictured here is Mark Parker, caretaker of the property.

David Matero Architecture

Inside, a round window that came from another home that once stood on the property has been repurposed. The inside of the room is rough-sawn natural Douglas fir. Even though the treehouse is electrified, it doesn’t have pipes, insulation, heating or ac. It is strictly a summer hideout.

The built in window seats along the right side may double as double beds. The mahogany table folds down from the wall.

David Matero Architecture

The table is a superb place for eating snacks, playing games and doing puzzles, even while the window seats provide comfy spots to curl up with books, visit or watch out for ospreys and eagles. “The homeowners intended to utilize the treehouse themselves also. It is not just all for drama,” Matero states.

David Matero Architecture

When planning the space, the homeowners needed a sleeping loft of their own. They could use it like a fun little getaway or let guests use it.

“The homeowner was quite conscientious about mild,” Matero states. Skylights and windows open up the loft to as much light as possible.

Light fixture: Artecnica Midsummer Light by Studio Tord Boontje; bedding: Chinoiserie Pearl, DwellStudio

David Matero Architecture

The sleeping loft has its own balcony.

Here’s the view out to the water. It’s easy to understand why the home has been deemed a “treehouse” in this picture.

All windows except the window: Anderson

Architecture: David Matero Architecture
Builder: Brent Akins, Housewrights & Craftsmen

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