Rick and Annie's handbuilt treehouse in Australia

April 17 | Guest post by Lauren

Lauren and her family live nomadically in Australia and sometimes share their adventures with us — they're back with a tour of a recently-visited home!

What would it be like to inhabit a normal-sized home that's actually a treehouse? Now we know. We picked up a friend of ours and offered her a ride, and we didn't know we were in for such a treat when we got to her destination!

Our friend Rebecca first met Rick and Annie through HelpX. Help Exchange provides a directory for organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers' hostels, and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation.

As we drove closer to Glenreagh, Rebecca told us more about the property we were going to. In a year and a half, Rick has crafted a marvellous building from local timbers and recycled materials. We were astounded when we first saw the house and I was ecstatic when Annie said I could take photographs to share.

Rick (on the left) has spent about a year and a half building his house so far. We're impressed with his speed as well as his workmanship.

The main house design is quite simple with large verandahs that wrap around the whole building.

The large front doors create an impression. The bricks around the entrance are still not rendered yet. Rick chose to use Hebel bricks, which are aerated concrete — light to work with but still strong.

Inside, the layout is completely open-plan, bringing light and airiness to the living and dining areas.

The living room has huge boulders and tree branches embedded in the rendered brick walls.

A variety of musical instruments from around the world are on display.

The juxtaposition of different natural textures within easy reach makes this living room extra cosy.

Annie's kids folded over 1000 of these paper cranes. A Japanese legend says that whoever folds 1000 paper cranes is granted their wish. One of Annie's daughters broke her back on Christmas Day last year, and her siblings folded the cranes which now hang up in her room in the Sydney hospital's rehabilitation unit.

The main interior house supports are huge tree-trunks, harvested from a neighbouring property.

Floating stairs lead to an upstairs bedroom.

The kitchen cabinets nestle neatly into the curving walls.

Look at this astounding workmanship done by Annie's brothers.

But there's more! This shelf swings open to reveal a hidden passageway.

Behind the kitchen, the secret room reveals storage for linen and pantry items.

The controls for the solar-power system is easily accessible from the kitchen. This property is completely off-the-grid.

While the main structure of the house was still being finished, a pair of sparrows made their nest in the frame. Now their home is inside the living room.

I love the combination of the finished timber with wrought ironwork.

The expansive verandahs can be reached through the sliding doors. These doors are about the only carpentry that Rick out-sourced. Everything else, he built with his own hands.

The view is over Rick and Annie's property — their organic gardens and the native bush.

I admire people like Rick and Annie who choose to grow veggies using organic methods.

One of the kids carved Rick's name into a concrete block as a present. It's now part of the front wall.

Brennan starts practising on his unicycle while we were all sitting outside.

Brennan is just starting to combine his juggling skills with his unicycle-riding. I'm sure he'll have it mastered by the time we see him again!

With some people, it's so easy to hang out. This morning, we're reluctant to end the conversation and drive away. Rick has invited us back, so we look forward to seeing them again in the future.

As we drove away, we marvelled at what we had seen. Rick and Annie are clearly very special people, and we're pleased that Rebecca is staying with such nice folks!

  1. I can live here please? I will sleep in the bathtub and make vegan strawberry cream pie for rent….

    2 agree
    • Heather, Rick and Annie *do* take helpers via the HelpX network, so if you're ever travelling in Australia…

      0 agree
  2. Wow.Just wow. Thank you so much for sharing. Everything about this place is incredibly impressive.

    1 agrees
    • I thought so too, Julie! Rick and Annie are truly amazing people to have built such an impressive home.

      0 agree
  3. Oh man, I almost fell over when I saw the secret storage room behind the pantry shelves!

    3 agree
    • It's reminiscent of the childhood stories where the kids found secret passages used by smugglers. I think if I built a secret passage in my own house, I would make it lead to a lair with books, internet and chocolate!

      0 agree
  4. Wow. That is such an amazing house. If I ever am in the area Helpxing, I'll def stop by :)

    1 agrees
  5. Two thumbs up! Fabulous home! Thanks for sharing.

    1 agrees
  6. I want this life. So. Badly. You are so lucky to be able to do this!

    0 agree

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.