Saturday, September 6, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Picture is Mightier than the Word

We are admittedly atrocious bloggers. We will be finished within the next few days, which is quite a change from the last time we let you all know what was up. Since our pictures seem to do us more justice than our words we are putting all of our photos of the build up on a Picasa account for your enjoyment. It will be posted tonight, and it is certainly worth looking at because there are some really great pictures which will tell the story better than we have!

Thanks for sticking it out with us!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

224 slats floating in the air

Hello all wonderful Flackett-Levin Family Treehouse blog enthusiasts!  Here are some pictures.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

224 Slats!

The rope bridge wood was completed only moments ago. 224 slats 360 feet of cable slung across the valley and countless hours of Josh and Jamin's tireless work has brought us to the point where we can begin assembling the rope bridge. Today we will also tighten the cables between the diamond plates in preparation to hoist the rope bridge floor.

Were getting really excited to get the bridge up. The netting is on order and were in good standing. We are going to be pouring concrete footing soon for the zip line platform and entry stairs into the Frequency 0.

We will try to post more often as we are now getting into the final steps of the project. Bridge, frq. 0 steps, rope ladder into the sphere, and finishing details!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Zip Zip Hooray!

We've been making some great progress the last few days. We are happy to say that our first ever frq. 0 is hanging happily in the majestic woods back of the mountain house. The floor is quite large and we are imagining a large game of twister being played on it in the future...

We also had some trial runs on the zipline. It wasn't quite exciting enough so we have it nice and tight now. Jen was a thoughtful mother as she reminded us all that we are creating the zipline for the kids and not ourselves, we wish it was for us but we want to quell any jitters so the kids can have a zooming time!

We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Josh who will be replacing Corey who had to return home about a week and a half ago due to the loss of a close friend. We are excited to have a full team again so we can keep on track!

We had some arborists come this week to take out all of the dead branches throughout the backyard and now there is a full, green, bright canopy enveloping all of the treehouse goodness!

All of the wood for the rope bridge is here and we have the long task of staining, sealing, cutting and drilling it all this week. It is the most exciting part of the build though, getting ready to install the bridge, seeing it all come together to create a forest hideaway.

So far we are all fairly unscathed. Dustin has had a bad bought of Poison Oak and is suffering quite badly from it. He has also received a couple spider bites, but they didn't turn out anywhere near as bad as Corey's which brought him to the hospital. Elyse had bronchitis for a while and had a bit of a scare today as a large metal clamp was unintentionally launched at her face, cutting above her eye. Jamin and Wade have been fine... so far (cross your fingers). 

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

So... can you picture it? We can. This will be the trajectory of the main connecting rope bridge. Today was an exciting day as we now have two free floating platforms to stand in. All that wood you saw in the last posting is transforming into the frequency O platform. Its a lot of wood to haul to the back of the valley but Elyses' strong back is getting the job done.

There is a new development regarding the entry into the treehouse world. Instead of a rope bridge entry into the treehouse there will be a swirling staircase that will intercept the main ropebridge at the entry into the spherical treehouse. This will give the treehouse goer many options upon entering the treehouse fantasy. Go left to the diamond shaped treehouse or go right to the spherical treehouse or decide you don't like treehouses because you remember your afraid of heights and you'ed rather be standing on the ground.

Were all looking forward to getting started on the rope bridges and connecting the two structures. After the completion of the frq. O deck this will be the next mission. So stay tuned in.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Home Sweet Home

So we haven't posted in a while and, unbeknownst to us, Mark has alerted us to the fact that he has 'legions of people' around the country reading the blog! This is wonderful, we had no idea anyone outside of the family was checking up on us...

The Flackett-Levin family journeyed back to the Beverly abode last week looking very rested from their East Coast escapades. We are very happy to have them back and it was refreshing to have some new faces around as its been our team here alone and we needed some revitalizing. Finn and Franny have been very loyal to offering their help, though it is hard to find tasks safe and satisfying for them. Their enthusiasm has been more help then they know, according to Finn when you see the treehouse you 'just might be amazed'! We were recently told that the treehouse has a tall order to fill as we must be ready to roll for Franny's birthday, but we'er excited about the idea of a bunch of kids exploring our creation. Mark and Jen have been wonderful about offering up new ideas and it has been great how interested all of their visiting friends have been (can't wait till you all get to see it finished!)

As far as the treehouse we have been concentrating on finishing the frq.2 so it probably doesn't look like we've made much progress in the pictures but their are a lot of little tweaks to make it perfect. We purchased and stained all of the wood for the frq.0 and will be starting on cabling the second treehouse and installing the floor this week. There have been much ideation this week with Mark and we have made some changes. A new entry system for the frq. 2 is being developed and we're entertaining some new zipline locations. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What Was That?

It was an exciting day around here. Late this morning we all felt our first earthquake. We were glad to hear that there were no reported casualties, and that it wasn't bad here. It was quite bizarre though, not experiencing it before we weren't sure what was happening at first. Elyse was up in the treehouse and it gave her a good scare. 

We made huge strides today. Most of the canopy is up and we are installing the curb on the floor. Most of the day was spent assembling the frq. 0 and maneuvering it around V3. When it is up there will be a perfect spot to hang a hammock, I know you guys were wondering about that. It is quite hard getting back to the yard so we are going to clear a path through the riverbed soon. 

We are looking forward to tomorrow and moving on with two treehouses at the same time! We haven't done it before so its pretty motivating!

Finally We Can Stand.

The floor is installed and it is beautiful. The best floor we have done I do think! The grains are matching up wonderfully and it looks really top notch against the greens we chose. We are raising the canopy this morning, and we plan to have the whole thing complete by the end of the day.

We are quite excited for you all to get back and see everything. We made a large purchase yesterday of swivel hoist rings, which is really only exciting if you are an O2 Treehouse nerd. They're pretty slick lookin'! We haven't been enjoying the pool much as the weather has been pretty mild here. Surprisingly since we were expecting to be working in much hotter weather. Of course working in the shade helps.

I met with Bernardo yesterday and we discussed how we would stabilize the rope bridge on the ground. Tomorrow we will start assembling the frq. 0. There is a chance that the frame might be up when you get back.... stay tuned.

Friday, July 25, 2008

We Leveled the Treehouse!

We just leveled the treehouse! No, not destructed it... its perfectly level! We also lined up the fraq.2 entry to the rope bridge with the frq.0. Its going to be so sweet! Now time to slip in all of the floorboards. The canopy is connected to all of its plates and ready to be hoisted up once the floor is in. After that...not much at all. Elyse will give it the finishing touches and TLC that it deserves. The struts are waiting at the bottom of V3 and the cable is laid across the valley.

Our next big task is to purchase the wood for the rope bridge and assemble the frequency 0.

Mark and Jen, if any of your friends are avid metal detecting pros they will have a field day in your woods with all of the hardware that we have dropped on the ground!

Gail we certainly hope that we have a chance to meet you before we leave. If you are a fan of contemporary architecture I'm sure the treehouse will be a delight for you...and quite a surprise! Its one thing to see it in a picture but its another world to see it in person and get up in the tree. I'm sure you'll have no problem with the rope bridges, we're making them as easy, safe, and user-friendly as we can!

I talked with Bernardo today and he is going to come over so we can consider our options.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Goodbye and Thanks Wade!

Yesterday I gave the team the day off after working 90 hours in a week and a half! A well deserved break. We went to Santa Monica and hung out on the beach/pier. It was also Wade's last day on the job unfortunately so we decided to give him a farewell send off. Fortunately for Wade after many rounds of interviewing he was chosen for the position of Gortex "Rain Van" tour manager. The Wade of all Trades will be touring the country in a big van for the next six months soaking people in the back of his artificial storm Gortex van.

Today was a productive day with an early start. We stained all of the frq. 2 floor panels and created the floor curb. We also installed many of the permanent 1/2 aircraft cable hanging components. We also laid and cut the cable for the main rope bridge cables and zip line. Tomorrow we will finally start installing the floor beams and floor panels.

Elyse has been trying her hand in the kitchen lately and scored high marks with the team tonight after cooking up a breaded lemon chicken delight with all the fixins'. Go Elyse! We don't mind testing her creations. Thanks to Mark and Jen for their gracious hospitality! We're keeping the place tidy with frequent sweep jobs.

Monday, July 21, 2008

We finished the the skeleton today. It looks crazy out there, kind of like Mardi Gras took place in your backyard... there are multi-coloured straps hanging from all over the place. 

Kind of cool how you can't really see it in the picture (but we swear its there)!

Tomorrow we are installing all of the cables to hold the structure permanently. Then, da da da, putting in the floor beams and hopefully get the floor itself laid out.

We had a visit from Bernardo and Elisa? (the wonderful cleaning woman) today. Neither of them knew quite what to think. As most people don't when you tell them you are building a treehouse and then show them a large steel dome hanging in the tree. They were both quite impressed though.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Exoskeleton

The frequency 2 skeleton is 50% complete already and we plan on finishing it today! It looks great out there so far. Blends into the trees very well. We are having beautiful weather here and its nice to work in the shade of the canopy!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Escape

We escaped from Colorado on the 14th and arrived in California on the morning of the 16th. Everyone was pretty burnt out from the long drive but we put in  a full day setting up shop, painting the frq. 0 struts, riveting the frq. 2 canopy and hauling materials down to the tree.  After a good nights rest we started strong on the installation of the frq. 2.  Wade accompanied me in the tree as we hoisted the top and bottom half up into position Thursday and Friday.  The frq. 2 structure has gone up very quickly with out any trouble from the tree.  Today we plan on connecting the top and bottom hemispheres and installing the floor beams. Our goal is to get the structure completed by the 22nd.  The team is very appreciative of the comfortable accommodations and would like to thank you guys for allowing us to stay here during the build! 

Today is slow start as some of us are getting over some cold symptoms we seam to have caught on the way out.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Gas (flowing like water)

Oh, I forgot to mention before we arrived in the lovely town of Silverthorn we encountered quite an unusual problem. As I was pumping gas Cory realized not all of the gas was actually making it into the gas tank. After a swift analysis of the situation we moved the van and took a closer look. It turned out that there was a hair line crack in the rubber gas line that leads to the tank. After locating in the van some of my handy dandy sticky gum tape we repaired the leak and we were off once again. The situation was sticky and dirty!

Stuck in Silverthorn

Posting from Silverthorn Colorado. It is here that our 96' Econoline Ford Van encountered some radiator trouble coming through a steep mountain pass. We are optimistic and spirits are still high but we will need to stay here until Monday. The kind mechanics are allowing us to start on certain parts of the build that are not contingent upon us being on site. This should allow us to stay on schedule in light of our delays. Last night we completed a frequency 0 pre-assembly to ensure speed and accuracy on site.

We are going to put in a full day today and hope to later enjoy the accommodations of a full spa and health club just a few blocks away.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Send Off

Welcome everyone to the Flacket-Levin Family Treehouse Blog! It is here that you can get the latest happenings of the two treehouse rope bridge builds. We are hitting the road today with a long drive in the rain. We can't wait to arrive in sunny Beverly Hills in a couple days! It is then that my fearless team and I will be making stuff and then posting stuff on this very blog.

We will also be shooting video for the Changents EarthKeepers contest for innovative environmental projects. This video will also be uploaded depending on the tech-savviness of the team and our willingness to work on a computer after a 12 hour day. Keep checking back as we'll tell you more about this exciting opportunity along with all the treehouse wonderment!

The Sweet Smell of Stain! Your floor is ready and waiting, can't wait to stand and relieve the sensation of the harness after we install it.

Knobber Jobbers. This is our first time adding colors to the treehouse, so that's cool. 

What Is It? This is the nerdy excitement of a treehouse designer, but we've redesigned all of the joints to dock into this fancy plate. Aren't they gorgeous!

Elyse the Riveter. Look Mark! All of your panels are cut, sewn, and hinged. Elyse riveted in record time, only 3.5 hours!

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Team

Dustin Feider / The Tree Man

Dustin graduated from the Minneapolis College of art and design in Furniture Design with a minor in film. Dustin worked for a year and a half at Brandow Creative a 3-d / interior design studio in Minneapolis. Soon after graduating he also built his first
geodesic sphere treehouse and shortly following began O2 Sustainability a sustainable design work shop located in Minneapolis. His treehouse design has received national
and international recognition in the design community appearing in over 24 design periodicals and publications around the world. Other projects O2 Sustainability is involved in include a 50 kilowatt residential application wind tower, a tire terrace wall system designed for expressway sound barrier walls, development of a new algae biofuels system in partnership with Renewergy Corporation of Erie PA, and a hopeful t-shirt campaign called Ts-4-Trees designed to raise money to save endangered rainforests. Raised as a climber and outdoors “wild child” when Feider gets the chance he likes to camp, hike and bike and generally stick his head in places he doesn’t belong. Feider is a member of Green Drinks, Eco Tuesdays, the Eco Innovation Network, and O2 Global Design Network and advocate of the Architecture for Humanity and the Open Architecture Network. Most recently Dustin took part in the Design Science lab at the United Nations building in New York to work on the Millennium Development Goals, also recently was a finalist in the Urban Revision competition for his carbon trade through cellular networks concept. Feider is an innovator at heart and enjoys keeping a studio, investigating other treehouse forms and sustainable products.

Elyse LaCosse / The Go - To

Elyse is a diehard member of the O2 family, having experienced the pain of hanging for hours constructing the treehouse floor, and the joy of standing on that floor! She is also the first initiate into the O2 Road Trip Hall of Fame. Elyse is our go-to as project manager, eco-tourism lead, treehouse builder, and resident masseuse. Recently graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, she holds a B.S: Visualization with studies in Sustainable Design. Elyse's true passion is traveling, she wants to go anywhere and everywhere and take O2 with her. Elyse studied Sustainable Tourism Development while in London and is ecstatic to be heading up our eco-tourism ventures. She is most interested in designing holistic systems; considering the economic, socio-cultural, and environmental impacts of design. She will bring this concept to our eco-tourism projects to work with the local cultures, not for them. When she's not "all things treehouse", Elyse is dreaming about her next adventure, reading travel books, doing yoga, working on her own designs, and helping develop curriculum as a teaching assistant for an MCAD class, Aesthetics of Sustainability.

Sara LeVere / The California Guru
Sara is an eco-loving health enthusiast with a zest for entrepreneurialism and philanthropy. She got her feet wet at an early age growing up in Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s transcendental meditation community amidst the cornfields of Iowa where creativity and spirituality is fortunately the norm. Management of Santa Monica Power Yoga and Account Executive at Gaiam’s and came serendipitously as the next step. Now she and her husband, Marcus, run a donation-based downloadable yoga website called As a contributing member of Lift Kids non-profit organization and the Tree of Life Yoga Foundation, Sara is traveling the world to get her hands dirty building eco yoga retreats and schools with an agricultural component to nourish and sustain developing countries, starting with Goa, India and Mombasa, Kenya.

Wade Cordts / The Wade of all Trades
Wade is our technology and marketing guru. With a background in union feature film Wade has over 2 years working as a producer at Bradford Entertainment, Inc. and over 5 years working freelance as an assistant director, camera operator, editor, and production manager on films and tv shows. Some of the productions he has worked on include those for for Warner Bros. Pictures, HGTV, DIY, History, PBS, E!, Style Network, Travel Channel, and more. In addition he has over 5 years of experience marketing products and services for different companies. And to top it off, he is an avid rock climber and will be a great addition to helping complete the build. Wade looks forward to getting up in the tree as soon as possible.

For more information about wade check out his personal website at:

Corey Koenen / The Beach Bum

Corey came to us from the beach. Like a beacon on the water he emerged. It was a random day when he and Dustin met and discussed treehouses on the sand. He is a painter for McCoy Decorative Painting, he is versed in the art of Venetian plaster, faux painting, detailed walls and ceilings, he is your painting expert! He has had lots of experience in the built environment and is excited to add treehouses to his repertoire. Corey is looking forward to working with the heights of the trees. Our beach bum has perfected his schedule so he works inside in the Minnesota winter months and spends his summers at the beach. He will miss his little girl, Melia, who will be three soon but hopes when he gets back he can introduce her to the world of treehouses!

Jamin Poulos / The (Comic) Relief

Other than putting smiles on our faces, Jamin is our relief after we lost Wade to his new job. He flew in last minute from Salt Lake City and we don't know what we would have done without him. Jamin is a great addition as he is versed in many handyman trades. In his free time he is a proud father, and talented drummer. He is looking forward to a new experience and learning a new skill.

Raised amongst the wild of Wisconsin, Josh McKevitt moved to Minneapolis in 2000 to pursue an education at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. There he focused primarily on film studies as well as animation, graphic design, and illustration.

Since graduation in 2004, he has worked for a Minneapolis-based company called, Apropos Painting Studio, Incorporated ( While working there he developed a stronger understanding of painting and aesthetics as well as design and presentation. Some of the work he produced while working there were for major clients such as Victoria's Secret, The Limited, BCBG, and St. John's Knits.

In his spare time from working, Josh has been a huge participant to the arts and music culture of Minneapolis. He has been showcased in several gallery shows as well as a few solo exhibitions as a visual artist, but also performs under the moniker, DANGER HAVOK, as a local musician and dj.

He has been an influential figure in the Minneapolis electronic and rock scene as DANGER HAVOK by incorporating his video installation work into the music he performs.

Heather Feider / The Raw Foodie

Heather shares the same cognomen as our main man. This would be the result of years of growing up as brother and sister. In Heather's words she is an artist, dreamer, bliss junkie, mischief maker, raw food chef, spiritual being, and tree hugger! She is using her talents in raw foods as the resident chef making sure we all have the most energy we can to swing from branches all day!