Thinking outside the house in Rock Spring

Thinking outside the house in Rock Spring

June 13th, 2012 Timara Frassrand in Local Regional News

Haley Phillips, a 9-year-old fourth-grader of Rock Spring Elementary, isn't planning on staying indoors this summer.

She, her sister Leighanne and cousins Hayden and Dillan will be playing in the open-air recycled treehouse their grandparents, Randy and Patsy Phillips, just finished having built for them.

Haley Phillips shows off the treehouse her grandparents built in Rock Spring.

Photo by Timara Frassrand

"This was made out of nature into something we all will enjoy," Haley said. "It's not plain, there are bright colors everywhere and no walls to close it in. The air comes in and you feel free."

She doesn't spend time in front of the television or playing video games and says she likes the freedom of nature. She plans to write songs in her notebook, paint and color, and blow bubbles while in the treehouse, she said.

An abundance of creativity and recycled materials was put into the design and construction, done by Paul Childress of Flintstone, who calls himself an artist carpenter. All the materials used were recycled, reworked and redone, aside from the floor planks, Childress said.

"We went along with nature and were as green as we could be," he said.

When walking toward the kaleidoscopic treehouse in the Phillipses' backyard, there is a hidden entrance on the backside of the tree made out of wooden stairs from the Phillipses' old motor home. The children use an antler, shower handle and an old blacksmith trial handlebar as grasps to climb up. A redwood tree was installed to serve as a balance beam and the brightly painted railing is actually bamboo from North Georgia.

Childress said people scrap bamboo but if left to dry for two years it becomes a great material to use for solid wood.

He said the most difficult part was putting on the roof, which is an old fiberglass satellite dish the Phillips took off their neighbors' hands. The tree is directly in the middle of the dish. Due to the size of the dish it appears to be heavy, but he said only three people were needed to lift it around the tree.

Once inside the treehouse, there's a bird's eye view of the surrounding woods.

The Phillipses said they are looking forward to enjoying the outdoors this summer and the memories to follow.

"It means a lot to have the Lord bless us with enough income where we could give this to our grandchildren," Randy Phillips said.