Meet Terry and Mary Alice Ramsey. For years, the couple had talked about building an art studio. We received a lovely e-mail from them, and had to learn more. Here's what they said: "All of the treehouse hardware components came from treehousesupplies.com and I felt they were first quality!" Now, of course, we're biased. But we believe in our products, and were so happy to see them incorporated into such a gorgeous treehouse. In their yard in North Carolina, Terry and Mary Alice have built a one-of-a-kind art studio. What's special about it? It's in a tree, it has two levels, a loft, and salvaged stained glass windows. Don't take it from us, check it out for yourself below!
Mary Alice is an artist, so she had the vision of what the house would look like. Terry largely made this vision a reality, with the artistic guidance of his wife. Their creative process bloomed out of conversations with friends, and Mary Alice realized she wanted to incorporate salvaged materials throughout the house. It was Terry's job to build the house to fit the salvaged materials.
Terry built the walls around the salvaged stained glass windows Mary Alice found at yard sales, junk shops, antique stores, demolished houses, and flea markets.
Notice the collar around the base of the tree trunk where it meets the house’s floor. Terry installed these anywhere there was a space between the tree and the floor to prevent his grandkids’ feet from getting snagged!
The salvaged branches guarding the loft.
Terry says he enjoyed not having a distinct blueprint with dimensions. He says, "It was a joy to be able to build the walls to fit the windows. Generally, you have certain dimensions you have to follow. Really, the windows are captured by small wooden finishing strips that hold them in place. There’s no drawings, just sketches here and there."
Mary Alice jumped in to tell us that there were, in fact drawings. She has a scrapbook of somewhere between 50 and 60 drawings. The pair brainstormed on graph paper, notebook paper, and even napkins, and their project grew and grew.
Soon, avenues for Mary Alice’s creativity started to multiply, and so did Terry’s work. They were happy to work together to make their unique vision a reality. The loft? Guarded by salvaged branches. The stairs? Arke style, rotated to form a straight ascension. The deck railings? 26 sections of salvaged branches that took 2 hours each to build.
Mary Alice reminisced about that the railings, which she helped build, "We became a great construction team doing that. We learned the process, and got the rhythm down.
" Other aspects of the house needed to be customized to fit the unique shape of the tree. The pair originally intended to salvage the doors, but it soon became clear that a door with a rounded top edge would best fit their tree. Terry built those from scratch.
Despite its obvious coziness, Terry and Mary Alice have never spent a night in the house, although Mary Alice's friends are asking when they can camp out.
With a balcony overlooking the creek, the fire pit, and their gorgeous backyard, we can't blame her friends. She has hosted several groups in the studio, from church groups to garden clubs. At the end of the day, Terry and Mary Alice agree that above all, the tree house is a magical place.
"Our grandkids are between the ages of 3 and 19, and they have spent time sketching both the imaginary and the observed in the treehouse. It’s really special for them to spend time in the treehouse creating art. The treehouse as a place where art happens," Mary Alice reflects.
Terry says, some of most delightful visitors we have are strangers. They show up in our driveway and ask permission to take a photograph, and are delighted when we invite them to come and visit. They stand in awe, and say 'This is a magical place.'" We couldn't agree more.