‘Treehouse Master’ Pete Nelson explores his own ‘tree’ roots

Pete Nelson of 'Treehouse Masters' — Photo courtesy fo Animal Planet
Pete Nelson of ‘Treehouse Masters’ — Photo courtesy fo Animal Planet

Treehouse Masters, the new Animal Planet series, follows treehouse expert Pete Nelson around the nation in his quest to find opportunities to build awesome arboreal abodes from scratch. His team works meticulously, bringing luxury and a unique style to each habitable habitat.

Recently Hollywood Soapbox exchanged emails with Nelson about the show and his history with treehouses.

How did you first get interested in treehouses?

My dad built a treehouse for me in New Jersey when I was five years old or so, but I really got treehouses on the brain when I was around age 12-15. In high school I planned my 
first adult-scale treehouse, but it was never built. In my mid-20s, the notion of building an adult scale treehouse came roaring back into my
consciousness, and they have been there ever since.

If you had to pick your all time favorite tree house, what/where would it be?

There are so many favorites. One of the most challenging ones was the Irish Cottage in a Huntington Beach, California with an olive tree. The biggest I built unfortunately burned down in the San Diego County wildfires of several years back.

What is the biggest challenge of designing a unique treehouse?

For the show, definitely the Ohio treehouse brewery build was tough. It was FREEZING!

Pete Nelson and his team of workers on 'Treehouse Masters' — Photo courtesy of Animal Planet
Pete Nelson and his team of workers on ‘Treehouse Masters’ — Photo courtesy of Animal Planet

What do you say to people who think that treehouses should be rustic and simple? Some of the houses feature WiFi, big-screen TVs and luxurious amenities. Is that a tree house anymore?

It can get over the top sometimes, but if that is what my client wants, then that is what they get! In my mind, the important thing is that they are up in and among trees!

Because nature is constantly changing, are most treehouses temporary? Do you have to take into account the tree’s continual growth?

Growth and Movement: These are the two main things with which one must deal in treehouse construction. It is fun to figure out how to deal with both – especially tree movement. In the end, a properly designed treehouse can last as long as the tree itself. Sometimes that is a very long time!

By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com

  • Treehouse Masters airs Fridays at 10 p.m. on Animal Planet.

John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Earth Island Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at Time.com, among other publications. E-mail him at john@hollywoodsoapbox.com

11 thoughts on “‘Treehouse Master’ Pete Nelson explores his own ‘tree’ roots

  • August 18, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    how do I get intouch with Pete , so he can build a tree house for us?
    Thank you

    • September 8, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      Ibeen seen your programs on t.v. and Iam very interesting to built in a near future a tree house,but the problem is that Ilive in Puerto Rico,So I whoud like if you can help whith some advice or information,design,cost material etc. Thank you so much for anything you can do for me.

  • January 20, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Pete, I saw Big Blue, then dismayed that it is a Toyota.
    With Silverado being the truck of the year and ford using an aluminum body, WHY NOT AN American Named Truck?

  • March 2, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    how big of treehouse could 10 million bucks build

  • May 28, 2014 at 9:34 am

    would love treemaster pete to come build us a tree house in our neck of the the we live in Lewistown pa. love love love his creations in his treehouse so ausome is his work,we would love to have him build us one of his great creations please please respond would love to hear from you soon thankyou!!!!!!!

  • June 6, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    I watched you program out curiosity. My kids started watching as well
    Now we are hooked. My husband and I adopted three kids when we
    In our 50’s so we aren’t at age that we can build one or afford one because
    we are now on a fixed income. Your programs allows us to dream. Your
    excitement is contagious and your crew is amazing. We especially liked
    the Cave Man one where you guys really got into cave man thing.
    Keep making dreams come true. God bless

  • July 3, 2014 at 12:03 am

    how much would it cost to build a log cabin two to three bedroom treehouse with a kitchen and bathroom and other things.

  • January 7, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    Can you guys build us a tree house
    In Anchorage thank you very much


  • January 7, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    Can you guys a treehouse in
    Anchorage thank you


  • January 25, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Dear pete, I have written several times about some help to construct a
    small tree house for my grand kids. They have done so much for us older
    folks and I would like to repay them with a treehouse. We are a hunting
    family and have seventy five acres to hunt on..We have a upper field that
    would be perfect for the family to hunt from. we have four grandkids and
    twelve great kids. we have five young girls who want to hunt with their
    parents. I am in bad health unable to help with outdoors chores and the kids spend their spare time helping us. thank you Ron Beckman

  • October 5, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Dear Pete:

    You create magic and I would be so ever greatful if you would look at a magical tree I have in mind for one of your creations.

    Warmest regards,


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