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Building & Renovating

This Mom Built Her Kids a Tree House in Their QC Backyard

Read on to find out how she did it�"you can do this, too!

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Photography: Jilson Tiu Pictorial Direction: Kamila Garcia

A tree house has always been the stuff of dreams for children. Imagine having to escape into your own little place—and pretend that you were a pirate, a princess, or Tarzan himself—while still within the safe confines of your home?

One mother made that fantasy a reality by building her three kids their own tree house right in their backyard. Interior designer Cara Marcelo, whose bright and airy tropical home we featured a few months back, shares with us this childhood dream: “For my husband and I, it was our dream to have a tree house. So we thought, do we make a pool, or should we make a tree house? A pool is hard to maintain, so we said, ‘Let’s just do it!’ and went for the tree house.”


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And it’s no ordinary tree house—this one is well designed (of course) in a modern style to match Cara’s home. To our surprise, the friendly neighborhood manong constructed it for her. “We just sketched it out, and we have a handyman guy and he’s so magaling,” relates Cara. “It’s really matibay; it’s got bakal [in the structure] and may footing pa yan.” If you plan on making your kids’ dreams come true, here are some things to consider when building a tree house:

Make it safe.


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Aside from making sure that it has proper foundation and is built of sturdy materials, Cara made sure that each and every part of the tree house was safe for her kids. She hand-wove a rope railing on the side of the stairs so that they won’t fall through, and each level had a well-made wooden railing that the kids can’t jump over. “Of course safety is a big issue, so we had to ‘cage’ them in,” she shares.

Create various levels for different activities.


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This isn’t your ordinary tree house: it’s got three levels for different activities. There is a sitting loft on the second level for bigger kids to hang out in; on the third level is the viewing deck. And on the ground area there is a sandbox for the younger kids. “The sandbox is where everything happens,” says Cara. “There are little hooks too on either side, so you can strap a hammock from end to end.”

Add all the fun childhood trappings.


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Aside from the sandbox, you could also find a mini-punching bag on the sitting loft (if you’re still bored), and there’s a bayong on a rope (see above photo) that you can pull up or down to bring up or return the toys. Since it's built next to a large balete tree, it has this feeling that you are climbing up the tree.

Give options for going up or down.


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There is a flight of stairs for going up, but the tree house has a special feature—a pole—for sliding down. (You’ll land in the sandbox, so it’s pretty safe.)

When asked what her future plans for the tree house would be once all her kids are grown up, Cara candidly answers: “I’m going to close it up and air-condition it, and it’s gonna be [my husband’s] mancave, and it’s gonna be my office.”

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