Many a child spent their youth scrambling up trees and building secret dens in the branches.
In an instant, plain-planked interiors propped in the trees transformed into faraway lands, forts and hideaways.
Brothers Andy and Simon Payne were no different. Growing up in Kenya, the two spent a great deal of time constructing zip wires, jungle swings and rudimentary tree-top homes.
But the Paynes never gave up on their childhood dreams of building elaborate houses in the trees, and have continued to design and build impressive, eco-friendly tree houses for the young at heart.
“A big part of the emotional reason why people decide to build a tree house is because they remember fondly the fun they had as kids,” Simon Payne says.
They now head the world’s leading tree house company “Blue Forest” named after the blueish hue of the distant pine forests in a mountainous region of Japan and born from a desire to bring people closer to nature.
They have already built hundreds of tree houses which reflect the environment in which they rise through the use of sustainable construction materials such as timber.
“I think people love tree houses because of the warmth of timber, when you walk into the tree house you get this lovely woody smell.”
The company works alongside the world’s largest forest certification system, PEFC, to ensure that its wood comes from sustainably managed land.
“You can find out exactly where the tree was grown, when it was cut down and how many trees were planted to replace it,” says Payne.
Blue Forest also encourages clients to build with high levels of insulation and use renewable energy.
However, it’s not easy for tree houses to be completely off the grid, and, according to Payne, the elements that make the tree houses the most sustainable are often the simplest.
“Although everyone in truth wants to hear about renewable energy solutions and all of that, actually insulating your building really well, using the natural resources of the sun and the wind for cooling and heating, using simple things like low-energy lighting, they probably make the biggest difference,” – brothers Payne say.