Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Ultimate Adult Tree House

The Ultimate Adult Tree House

Completed in 2011, the treehouse at Camp Wandawega Lake Resort in Elkhorn, Wisconsin is simply amazing. Proprietors Tereasa Surratt & David Hernandez along with a group of very talented and generous friends built this labour of love, located in the center of the property.
Below you will find progress pictures of the construction, the end results and the background story on how the tree house came to serve as a touching tribute to Tereasa’s late father Tom.
• Bladon Conner of Bladon Conner Design Studio
• Shaun Agase and Tyler Peterson of Stone Blitzer
• Steven Teichelman of This is Threefold
• Angela Finney Hoffman of Post 27 Store
• Tereasa Surratt


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How “Tom’s Treehouse” Came to Be

It started with a tree. Not long after Tereasa and David purchased Wandawega in 2004, Tereasa’s father christened the property by hanging a rope swing on the big elm tree in the center of the camp. Tom would pass away a year and a half later. Tereasa tells Chicago Home+Garden:
“Almost immediately after, we found out the tree had Dutch elm disease. I was devastated. I couldn’t cut that tree down.”

Although the tree’s branches were dying the trunk was still quite strong, so the couple along with some friends started thinking… big.
Ultimately they settled on a three-level cottage in which the tree comes through a deck near ground level, then breaks through the floor in three spots on the first level of the house. At two of those points, sturdy arms of the tree were sawed level with the floor; a third arm pierces the floor and extends out a window.
Tom’s Treehouse was built for free through the amazing generosity of Tereasa’s incredibly talented and generous friends (mentioned at the top of the post). They selflessly donated their time and skill to make the tree house a reality.


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Photograph by Jacob Hand for Designtripper


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Photograph by Jacob Hand for Designtripper


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Photograph by Jacob Hand for Designtripper


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Photograph by Jacob Hand for Designtripper

The DIY Interior

Most of the wood is reclaimed and much of the interior is custom-made, vintage and re-purposed. It’s a showcase of DIY ingenuity by Angela Finney-Hoffman of Post27. For example:
- The pillows are made out of old flour sacks
- The stumps of the trees were refashioned as side tables
- DIY Antler chandelier made from old sheds found at the camp
- DIY mason jar lamps with lamp kits from Home Depot
- Repurposed sconces in the sleeping lofts from elsewhere on the camp
- Much of the interior was sourced from flea markets, thrift stores and eBay


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Photograph by Jacob Hand for Designtripper


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Photograph by t. HARRISON HILLMAN


- Official Wandawega Website
- A Very Modest Cottage Blog
- Chicago Home+Garden – Up in the Air
- Designtripper – Stay: Wandawega Treehouse
- Bob Coscarelli Photography
- Jacob Hand Photography
- t. HARRISON HILLMAN Photography
- The Lettered Cottage
- Apartment Therapy – Tereasa & David’s Grown-Up Tree House

Sunday, October 14, 2012

5 Most Inaccessible Monasteries in the World

Buddhist monasteries are usually located in remote places far from the hub-bub of cities and towns. It takes more than a mild determination to reach them, but some of these are decidedly inaccessible. The idea is to keep all but only the most dedicated followers from reaching these holy places, while they also make the monks feel like they were closer to God in a place of peace and solitude. Today, however, most of these monasteries are tourist attractions and in favor of the tourists, several accessible methods like ropeways and stairs have been added. They still look formidable and requires hundreds of meters of vertical trekking. You better have a good pair of legs if you plan on visiting one of these.

Monasteries of Meteora, Greece

The Metéora (Greek for “suspended in the air" or "in the heavens above") is a group of six monasteries and one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece. The six monasteries, built on natural sandstone rock pillars, are one of the most powerful examples of the architectural transformation of a site into a place of retreat, meditation and prayer.
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The monasteries are built on rock pinnacles of deltaic origin, known as Meteora, which rise starkly over 400 m above the Peneas valley and the small town of Kalambaka on the Thessalian plain. During the fearsome time of political instability in 14th century the monasteries were systematically built on top of the inaccessible peaks so that by the end of the 15th century there were 24 of them. They continued to flourish until the 17th century. Today, only four monasteries - Aghios Stephanos, Aghia Trias, Varlaam and Meteoron - still house religious communities.
Access to the monasteries was originally and deliberately difficult, requiring either long ladders lashed together or large nets used to haul up both goods and people. This required quite a leap of faith – the ropes were replaced, so the story goes, only "when the Lord let them break". In the 1920s there was an improvement in the arrangements. Steps were cut into the rock, making the complex accessible via a bridge from the nearby plateau.
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Taung Kalat Monastery, Burma

The monastery of Taung Kalat is located on a top of a volcanic plug that rises 737 meters from the surrounding in central Burma (Myanmar) about 50 km southeast of Bagan, and near the extinct volcano Mount Popa. The monastery can be accessed by exactly 777 steps and those who reach the top are rewarded by a spectacular view.
To the north-west opens a view to distant temples of Bagan, and to the east is towering the forested Taung Ma-gyi summit. There is a big caldera, 610 metres wide and 914 metres in depth so that from different directions the mountain takes different forms with more than one peak. Many Macaque monkeys live here that have become a tourist attraction on Taung Kalat
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Taktsang Palphug Monastery, Bhutan

Taktshang monastery, also known as The Tiger's Nest, is located on a precipitous cliff about 900 metres above the Paro valley, in Bhutan. The rock slopes are very steep - almost vertical - and the monastery buildings are built into the rock face. Though it looks formidable, the monastery complex has access from several directions, such as the northwest path through the forest, from the south along the path used by devotees, and from the north. A mule track leading to it passes through pine forest that is colourfully festooned with moss and prayer flags. On many days, clouds shroud the monastery and give an eerie feeling of remoteness.
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Sümela Monastery

The Sumela Monastery is built into the rock cliffs of the Altmdere Valley in Turkey. At an altitude of about 1,200 metres it is a major tourist attraction of Altındere National Park.
The monastery was founded in 386 AD during the reign of the Emperor Theodosius I (375 - 395). Legend has it that two priests undertook its creation after discovering a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary in a cave on the mountain. During its long history, the monastery fell into ruin several times and was restored by various emperors. It reached its present form in the 13th century after gaining prominence during the reign of Alexios III.
The monastery was abandoned after World War I and the start of the population exchanges between Greece and Turkey that forced some 2 million ethnic Greeks and Turks to leave their long-established communities in Turkey or Greece and return to their ethnic homelands. It lay empty for decades before being partially restored and returned to life as a museum.
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Hanging Monastery, China

The Hanging Monastery or Hanging Temple is located in a canyon at the foot of the Mountain Heng in the province of Shanxi, China. The temple is built into the cliff side about 75 meter above the ground, and stands propped up by hidden rocks corridor and wooden beams inserted into the mountain. Over 40 halls, cabinets and pavilions within an area of 152.5 square meters are connected each other by corridors, bridges and boardwalks. They are evenly distributed and well balanced in height. Inside the temple are more than 80 bronze cast statues, iron cast statues, and clay sculptured statues and stone carvings banded down from different dynasties.
The temple was build to avoid the terrible flood, and use the mountain as protection from rain, snow and sunshine. Today, it is one of the main tourist attractions and historical sites in the Datong area.
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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dick Clark's former home

Sitting on top of a very steep hill, the specially designed home is on the market for $3.5million but its appearance from the outside is not the biggest selling point it has to offer.
The unusual architectural retreat has huge glass windows in every room which give amazing views of the nearby Pacific Ocean, Channel Islands, Boney Mountains and Serrano Valley .

Although the property only has one bedroom, it boasts two bathrooms and looks like a cavern throughout the whole house.
The cave like structure and high ceilings add to the Flintstones feel as does the log burning fire place and its wine cellar.
Set in a 23-acre estate the luxury and extrovert home is an architectural marvel and is classed as one of Malibu s landmark buildings.
The listing agent describes it as: art as architecture at its finest.
They said it is: Truly exceptional and one-of-a-kind from within and without.
The architecture of this home seamlessly marries form and function.
The interior space is extremely voluminous and features an expanse of glass to capture the views from every room of this home.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bubble Hotel Lets You Sleep Under The Sky In A Plastic Ball

I present to you the most amazing hotel ever… and it’s made out of plastic. It’s the Attrap’Rêves Bubble Hotel, and it will leave anyone who stays in it with a lasting impression of nature and the heavens above.
It will let you watch the stars drift by in a relaxing manner, and let you grace upon the views of the world and everything it has to offer through the ever so transparent plastic shell. As you might have figured out already, it’s a hotel made to look pretty much like a plastic igloo. It’s one of those creative hotels that will put a special touch on those vacation photographs that you love to show your family and friends. And quite honestly, it will outshine anyone’s attempt to brag about their boat ride down some crummy channel or their attempt to climb the local hill. To the one who said that plastic is bad for the world, think again… It will give you a whole new look at life! Just don’t litter the world with it.
Via: [Technabob]

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Most Incredible Cliff Buildings

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Buildings that we often encounter on the cliffs are castles, fortresses, lighthouses, or monasteries. These buildings were built in inaccessible places for protection from enemies, for a good view of the water surface, beautiful views of the environment or other reasons. Exactly, these beautiful views, natural environment and often amazing architecture of buildings, attract many tourists in these areas.
1. Guaita Fortress, San Marino
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Guaita fortress, located on Guaita peak and overlooking the city of San Marino, is an iconic image of this micro country embraced by Italy. The fortress was constructed in the 11th century and served as a prison for some time. Guaita is one of the Three Towers of San Marino, located on the three peaks of Monte Titano. The towers are depicted on the San Marino's national flag and its coat of arms. [link, map]

2. Church of Katskhi Pillar, Georgia
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This is Katskhi Pillar. It abruptly rises 40 meters (130 ft) from the hills of Central Georgia and looks similar to a giant’s club. In the 4th century, Georgia adapted Christianity as its state religion, and Katskhi Pillar became the site of a small church first built in the 7th century. One Georgian monk has been living in it for nearly 20 years now. It is also interesting that women are not allowed to climb to the top. [link, map]

3. Bled Castle, Slovenia
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Bled castle is a medieval castle built on a precipice above the city of Bled in Slovenia, overlooking Lake Bled. According to written sources, it is the oldest Slovenian castle and is currently one of the most visited tourist attractions in Slovenia. This castle is situated on top of a steep cliff that rises 130 meters (425 ft) above the glacial Lake Bled and it is a symbol of Bled and Slovenia. [link, map]

4. Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Greece
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The Holy Trinity Monastery is an Orthodox monastery in central Greece. The monastery is one of six functioning monasteries in Meteora. It is the oldest among those present at Meteora, having been built in 1476. This monastery sits on a tall rock 400 m (1,300 ft) in height. 
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In the old days, access to this monastery was via a net and rope ladder. Today, entrance to the monastery is gained by climbing 140 steps cut into the pinnacle rock. It was richly decorated and had precious manuscripts; however, these treasures were looted during World War II. [link, map]

5. Swallow's Nest, Ukraine
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The Swallow's Nest is a decorative castle near Yalta on the Crimean peninsula in southern Ukraine. It was built between 1911 and 1912 in Gaspra, on top of 40-metre (130 ft) high Aurora Cliff, to a Neo-Gothic design by the Russian architect Leonid Sherwood. The castle overlooks the Cape of Ai-Todor of the Black Sea and is located near the remnants of the Roman castrum of Charax. Swallow's Nest is one of the most popular visitor attractions in Crimea, becoming the symbol of Crimea's southern coastline. [link, map]

6. O'Brien's Tower, Ireland
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O'Brien's Tower marks the highest point of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. The tower was built on the cliffs in 1835 by local landlord Sir Cornellius O'Brien as an observation tower for the hundreds of Victorian tourists that frequented the cliffs at the time.
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The Cliffs of Moher rise 120 metres (390 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag's Head, and reach their maximum height of 214 metres (702 ft) just north of O'Brien's Tower. The cliffs receive almost one million visitors a year. [link1, link2, map]

7. Capo Caccia Lighthouse, Italy
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The lighthouse of Capo Caccia is located in a stunning location high atop spectacular cliffs (110 m or 360 ft height) overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, 25 kilometers (15 mi) from the community of Alghero on the north-west coast of the island of Sardinia, in Italy. The history of the lighthouse dates back to 1864, and over the years its lantern has been lit with a variety of fuels, including acetylene and oil, until 1961 when it was electrified. The lighthouse also serves as a landing light for the nearby Alghero airport. [link, map]

8. Montfort Castle, Israel
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Montfort is a ruined crusader castle in the Upper Galilee region in northern Israel, about 22 miles (35 km) northeast of the city of Haifa and 10 miles (16 km) south of the border with Lebanon. The fortress is built on a narrow and steep cliff above the southern bank of Nahal Kziv (stream in northern Israel). The site is now a national park inside the Nahal Kziv nature reserve, and it constitutes an important spot of tourism and attracts many tourists both from inside and outside Israel. [link, map]

9. Varlaam Monastery, Greece
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The Varlaam Monastery in Meteora is one of four active male monasteries in the Meteora monastery complex in Greece. It is the second largest monastery in the monastic community. This monastery is situated on a rocky promontory that is 373 meters (1,200 ft) high.
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In 1350, an ascetic monk named Varlaam climbed this great rock and settled at the top. He built three churches, a cell for himself and a water tank. No one chose to follow his lead, so after his death the site was abandoned. The buildings fell into ruin for almost 200 years until 1517, when two rich priest-monks, Theophanes and Nektarios Apsarades from Ioanina, ascended the rock and founded a monastery. [link1, link2, map]

10. Lichtenstein Castle, Germany
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Lichtenstein is a fantastic castle precariously perched high on the side of a cliff near Honau in the Swabian Alps, Baden-Wurttemberg in Germany. It was built between 1840 and 1842 by Count Wilhelm of Württemberg. Wilhelm was inspired by a novel popular at the time called Lichtenstein, a romantic portrayal of the region's chivalric warriors in the Middle Ages. The castle is famous for its large collection of historic weapons, armor and treasures. And although it is situated on quite a pristine place - nowadays the castle is a popular spot for weddings. [link, map]

11. Split Rock Lighthouse, USA
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Split Rock Lighthouse is a lighthouse located southwest of Silver Bay, Minnesota, USA on the North Shore of Lake Superior. It is built on a 130-foot (40 m) sheer cliff, eroded by wave action. This very spectacular lighthouse was completed by the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1910. Because of its picturesque form and location, it has been the subject of many photographs and postcards. [link, map]