the history of treehouses

Have you ever wondered where the wonderful idea for a house in a tree came from? The history of these magical abodes spans far back, through many years of being ‘on-trend’ and developing from a simple platform into the extravagant and mind-blowing abodes we see all over the world today! Whether you love a simple treehouse as a children’s playhouse or a grand structure as an alternative place to stay on your next holiday, you’ll be interested to read about the origins of treehouses!

Bensfield Treehouse available through Quality Unearthed

 What is a treehouse?

A treehouse is simply a platform or structure constructed above ground level within a tree or group of trees. In modern-day, they are typically seen as children’s dens, as well as options for luxury accommodation.

an image of some old branches over a river

When was the first treehouse built?

There is no definitive recorded date of when the first treehouse was built; however, evidence suggests that it could be as far back as the first century AD. The structures were originally built as homes, hidden up in the trees to protect the inhabitants from any floods occurring in the area. It is thought that this was something humans adopted from the apes, who would make homes from themselves in the trees as protection from the elements, as well as predators.

Where was the first treehouse built?

The original treehouse was more of a simple platform suspended in a tree; it is thought that these were first created in areas such as the South Pacific and Southeast Asia, largely as a protective measure in case of flooding. A smart pulley system was the only means of entrance to the platforms for both the inhabitants and their belongings in place of a ladder.

The inside of a luxury treehouse

When did treehouses first become popular for pleasure?

There were four main eras of popularity for the treehouse: The Roman era, The Renaissance period, the late eighteenth-century Romantic period and the 21st century. Treehouses first became popular in England in the seventeenth century and were largely for pleasure rather than purpose, and the Renaissance period saw the popularity of treehouses rise at a staggering rate, becoming a fashion statement in Florentine Gardens. This led to the creation of lavish treehouse restaurants, with records showing that the largest would seat up to 200 guests!

In Italy, treehouses were also a particularly prominent fashion. With books such as Hypernotomachia Poliphili by Francesco Colonna creating a romantic image of these abodes, the upper class lusted after a trip to a treehouse with their loved one. The Medici family even incorporated them into their gardens, further bringing the trend to the forefront. The late eighteenth century built upon the romantic feel and sense of luxurious extravagance, having come a long way from the simple platform as a home to something that only the wealthiest of people could afford.

Hoots Treehouse available from Quality Unearthed

Treehouses in modern-day

The early 21st century saw the greatest revival of the treehouse trends worldwide. With a higher level of disposable income, and a greater desire to enjoy unique experiences, countries such as the United States and many parts of Europe have adopted this trend, and continue today to build grand structures amongst the branches for us to enjoy. However, this is not the only trend that has increased their popularity. The green/sustainable living movement has also contributed, with people choosing to once again live in the trees and to worship the environment around them.

Treehouses are not just a luxury for the wealthy in modern-day either, with materials readily available; it is a viable option to build your very own treehouse or to book a stay in one at an affordable price. Would you ever consider building your own treehouse? Take a look at our guide to living in a treehouse to find out if this is the home for you!

Treehouses today have come a long way from being a simple construction within a tree to grand homes with all the luxuries. Here at Quality Unearthed, we offer a selection of treehouses ranging from cosy and romantic options to spacious abodes for all the family. What’s even better is that our Hoots and Bensfield treehouses are even available to book for the winter months! Why not take a look at our treehouses to stay in the UK today and book your perfect trip with us this winter?

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