Stay: Wandawega Treehouse

Elkhorn, Wisconsin
05.16.2011 | by: Meghan

My friends Tereasa Surratt and David Hernandez are the super-creative, handy and beyond-generous folks behind Camp Wandawega (Tereasa’s getting ready to release her second book, Found Flea & Free–follow all her projects on her blog). We had a giveaway last fall to stay at their amazing spread in Wisconsin. This year, the flood gates are officially open. They started taking reservations this spring, just in time for the unveiling of the latest Wandawega addition: a modern, vaulted-ceiling treehouse built by a handful of Chicago’s most talented woodworkers, including Tyler Peterson and Shaun Owens-Agase of Stone Blitzer, Bladon Connor and Steven Teichelman. And her creative partner-in-crime Angela Finney-Hoffman (owner of Post 27) helped with every design/interiors decision along the way. “They built this for us for free,” says Tereasa. “Who does that? It’s unheard of. They’re so dedicated to their craft and the challenge of making something out of nothing, they did this for nothing.”

Named after Tereasa’s father (who passed away just a year after hanging a rope swing on this big, old elm), Tom’s Treehouse gives the beloved tree, which later came down with Dutch Elm disease, an inspiring second life as once-in-a-lifetime dream project. Every little detail–from the building materials used (salvaged from dairy barns and a condemned bungalow) to the showstopping antler chandelier (made by Tereasa with antlers gathered from the Wandawega woods and her hometown in rural Illinois) and handmade pillows created from old feed sacks–has been carefully, tediously, lovingly considered. And the design is all about reuse. Even stumps coming through the bottom get new functionality: side tables! Some of the furniture was handmade, the rest has been repurposed from thrift store and flea market finds. As a result, the interior, like the tree itself, reads like the ultimate ode to creative reinvention.

[Photos by Jacob Hand; Read more about the design process in Chicago Home & Garden.]
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