For many, the thought of a treehouse can evoke memories of carefree childhood summers and whimsical adventures with friends or family. It is unlikely, however, that these lofty structures make one think about a job. Unless, of course, that person is a treehouse architect.
Such is the case for Daniel Ash, an architect at Fall City-based Nelson Treehouse and Supply. “It’s a weird architecture job; a typical architect has a lot more control over everything,” Ash said.
While studying at Auburn University, Ash discovered the tremendous architectural feats of Pete Nelson, now renowned for his hit Animal Planet television series Treehouse Masters and for the creation of the TreeHouse Point resort in Fall City. Inspired, Ash secured an internship working under Nelson in summer 2006.
In the years that followed, Ash remained close with the Treehouse crew and helped pen Treehousing: The Instructional Guide with Nelson.
By 2016, the Fall City company was receiving so many large-scale jobs due to its successful TV show that it needed an architect. Ash, who was doing high-rise design work in downtown Seattle, seemed like the perfect candidate.
“I came on under the specific directive that I (would) focus on larger commercial projects,” Ash said. “They really wanted to do the job for Microsoft (building their treetop work spaces), but they were cautious of doing it without an architect on staff.”
Ash has since become an integral part of the Nelson treehouse-design team, flying around the country performing initial site visits before drawing up designs, many of which have appeared on Treehouse Masters.
“I like it when things seem to enhance the existing character of a place, instead of trying to add new character,” Ash said. “If it’s just a box, then it’s not that fun, but if you can create something that works well within the trees, then it is a much more successful space.”
6 a.m. | The day begins early with a little physical therapy to help with an old back injury, followed by a bit of yoga.
7 a.m. | I prepare my lunch for the day, a sandwich made with leftover lamb, while I make breakfast.
9 a.m. | On Wednesdays, I volunteer one hour of my time to tutor at a local high school.
10 a.m. | Pouring over designs with our crew of carpenters and project managers before going into the field.
11 a.m. | When working with trees, it is very important to have all measurements as exact as possible.
1:30 p.m. |A day spent wood shopping is better than any other shopping, in my opinion. Here I am in our warehouse perusing the options.
2 p.m. | Going over all the usual policies and procedures with our newest recruit, Liz.
3 p.m. | We love to incorporate reclaimed wood from a client’s childhood treehouse or other structure. It brings a personal touch to the finished product.
3:30 p.m. | Leaving the warehouse with my notes and heading back to the office.
7 p.m. | After work, I assemble a winter cocktail to celebrate warmth. It’s my variation of a British pudding cocktail.
7:30 p.m. | My wife, Sandy, and I really enjoy cooking. Tonight, I’m preparing a curry for dinner.
9 p.m. | After a long day, I enjoy hanging out with Frenchy, the cutest, blindest hedgehog ever, while I watch Jeopardy.