At the end of a winding trail surrounded by rolling hills and woods in Clifton rests a carefully crafted treehouse that provides scenic views of the nearby terrain.
The treehouse, built by Lynn Rhodes, 37, and his girlfriend Katie Cockrell, 25, both of Spartanburg, features solar power lighting and a folding bunk bed.
Storm windows, a front porch with chairs and light metal roofing and siding make it an ideal location to relax in the outdoors. The treehouse sits 14 feet high in the tree providing panoramic views.
“You feel like you are in the middle of nowhere,” Cockrell said. “It’s a nice place to be.”
Rhodes purchased five acres off Old Clifton Village Road in 2010.
In 2014, Rhodes said he decided to build a treehouse for his children Maggie, 10, and River, 6. The children spend most of their weekends at the treehouse. He said the children enjoy playing in the creek that flows beneath into the Pacolet River.
At 14-feet-by-14-feet, there’s enough space in the treehouse for Maggie and River to spend the night taking in the starry skies. It’s not unusual to see deer in the early morning hours grazing in open green space across the creek.
Cockrell and Rhodes are planning to break ground on their home which will be up the hill from the treehouse. The house will be built into the side of an earthen embankment.
“We built the treehouse before the house,” Cockrell quipped.
The treehouse was spared from a strong wind storm that passed through the area last fall. The landscape is littered with downed trees from the storm which Rhodes plans to clear later this year. So far, the treehouse has been sturdy enough to sustain harsh weather.
Rhodes installed spray foam between the metal siding and the house’s wood frame to cut down on squeaking noises when the house sways in the wind.
Before the treehouse was built, the family camped near the site in tents. Now, they can spend the night in the treehouse which does a better job of keeping them dry in rainstorms. Often, they are joined by the family dog, Loki. Loki is a 90-pound, half border collie and half husky. The treehouse steps are too steep for Loki to climb, so he spends a lot of time playing in the creek.
There’s still a few finishing touches to be made on the treehouse. Cockrell said the storm windows will be treated so there isn’t as much glare. They also plan to add a fold up couch inside and add a table on the front porch. A spiral staircase also will be added.
“In the summertime, you can’t see quite as much,” Cockrell said. “It’s much more shaded.”
A wooden bridge over the creek connects with a trail leading to the treehouse. Rhodes said he had to build a new bridge at the site after the one he previously built was damaged by a fallen tree.
Rhodes is self-employed and runs a landscaping business. He studied construction in school and worked for two years in the construction industry. Cockrell is an English teacher at Spartanburg High School.
“I knew nothing about construction before,” Cockrell said about building the treehouse. “It’s been an adventure for me.”
Rhodes said he decided to build the treehouse big enough for adults. It was his first treehouse construction project.
“When Maggie was little I built her a swing set,” Rhodes said. “When I was done with it, she outgrew it. I decided to build something big enough for me that they can play with, too. I picked the biggest tree on the property. We enjoy sitting out and being part of nature.”