Addie Whitlow, Chattanooga, Tenn. –The Treehouse Project, founded by Andrew Alms and Enoch Elwell, is a simplistic treehouse lodge that gives people the opportunity to spend the night in a tree.
The Treehouse Project is located on Lookout Mountain in Flintstone, Georgia, just minutes away from St. Elmo and downtown Chattanooga.
The Treehouse Project was founded in late 2014 after Elwell and his wife stayed at the Buckhead Treehouse in Atlanta. Elwell and Alms partnered together to create a treehouse in the Chattanooga area that had a similar type of appeal as the one in Atlanta.
“We’re just far enough to help people feel like they’re getting away,” Alms said, “But close enough to them where it’s not a full day and they can come out for one night.”
The Treehouse Project incorporates modern amenities into the rustic feel of the treehouse itself, which is one of the many reasons it has been so successful thus far. It includes a memory foam queen-sized mattress, space heaters, a private bathroom, a sleeper sofa, a refrigerator and microwave, and access to lightning-fast internet.
“We just wanted to give a space where people who not only takes in whether you have the right infrastructure, like solar panels and water retention and aren’t quite into camping or who are getting away from camping could come and have the amenities that kept them comfortable while still being outside,” Alms said.
The Treehouse Project first got its start through a campaign called Kickstarter, which is a platform that creates campaigns to raise money and spread the word to bring projects to life.
Through the Kickstarter campaign, The Treehouse Project was able to raise over $35,000 in order to begin work on the concept of a treehouse lodge.
“We chose Kickstarter because we feel like it has the best accountability mechanisms on it, and it produces projects that have success because of that,” Alms said, “We had several individuals get behind us on a corporate sponsorship level like that and then a couple of companies that donated materials as well.”
According to Alms, The Treehouse Project is currently working on a Living Building Challenge, which is a very large certification that takes into account all aspects of the structure and the role it plays on the environment.
“What you can do with a Living Building Challenge is to really fill out the narrative of sustainability, which The treehouse lodge aims for a rustic feel, while still providing modern amenities including inernet access and heaters. filters,” said Alms, “But actually takes in the material you use, the community you’re in, the organizations that you’re working with, and actually takes the idea of sustainability to a new level.”
The treehouse itself is composed almost entirely of reclaimed materials. Alms said that the wood came from three barns in the North Georgia area, and the windows and doors came from a business on Main Street.
“We wanted it to be a treehouse,” said Alms, “When you’re growing up, you’re like, ‘I got this board from the barn, this board from the garage, this board from the neighbor’s trash,’ so you pull it together like that.”Alms also said that the reaction from the community has been very positive.
“It was mostly locals who got behind us; really, even mostly Chattanoogans, who said, ‘Okay, this does fit our community; it’s innovative, it’s green, it’s fun, and it’s outdoors,” said Alms, “It’s been a community effort, and it’s been a great reception so far.”
As of November, The Treehouse Project is open year-round. A weeknight stay costs $275, and a weekend night costs $350.