(855) 321-7473

M-F 9am-4pm Eastern

atlanta urban tree house

Airbnb's Atlanta Urban Tree House That's on Everyone's Wishlist

By Tobias RobertsRise Writer
Jan 9, 2019

Within the city limits of Atlanta, a metropolitan area of almost 6 million people, Peter Bahouth has constructed a unique living space suspended between the canopy of an urban forest. The listing was named Airbnb's "#1 most wish-listed property in the world" for 2016 and 2017. While the secluded treehouse is located in a neighborhood, a night inside one of the most highly sought-after Airbnb rentals will certainly make you feel as if you are miles away from civilization.

urban tree house wide exterior
Photo Credit: Peter Bahouth

“The tree house is in the Atlanta city limits,” Peter tells us. “It is close to the city but still in a forest. People like to be near things, and the tree house is secluded while still being very close to the city. Guests get the best of both worlds as they experience the outdoors but can easily have a five-star meal in the city.”

urban tree house exterior windows
Photo Credit: Peter Bahouth

The Design of an Urban Tree House

Peter's urban treehouse was designed between seven trees in a suburban forest in Buckhead; just a few minutes drive from downtown Atlanta. “The trees had a lot to say about how the design went,” Peter admits.” While Peter and his builder had come up with a blueprint for the urban treehouse, things changed as construction began. “There is certainly a cooperative approach to building something that is up in the trees,” he mentions. “We wanted to be respectful of the trees and their character.”

urban tree house exterior lights
Photo Credit: Peter Bahouth

The treehouse is a suite or a collection of three different spaces called Mind, Body, and Spirit connected by hanging rope bridges. One of the rooms is a sitting room with antique furnishings, including an 80-year-old window made from pressed butterfly wings. This sitting room also includes a balcony that looks into the surrounding forest.

The bedroom comfortably sleeps two people, and the bed is equipped with wheels so that you can either sleep inside the treehouse on a cooler night or roll your bed onto the accompanying platform that overlooks a small stream. The hammock deck is the third space of this unique urban treehouse. The deck is entirely open to the elements and is built around a massive southern short-leaf pine tree that is 165 years old.

urban tree house bedroom
Photo Credit: Peter Bahouth

Because the treehouse is connected to seven different trees, Peter didn’t want to build too high up in the canopy. A windy day might cause the trees to sway in different directions and put stress on the structure. “Our lot is on the side of a hill,” Peter explains. “On one side, you're only 10-12 feet up, but once you cross the rope bridges to the other side of the structure, you are at least 20 feet off the ground.”

urban tree house bridge ropes
Photo Credit: Peter Bahouth

In terms of building codes and ordinances, Peter is adamant in saying that he is not an architect. “When it comes to building a tree house, you don’t have to be an architect, and I am not.” When he was building the tree house, he figured that it was better to ask forgiveness rather than permission when it came to getting the necessary building codes. After twenty years of inhabiting the tree house (both him personally and hundreds of Airbnb guests), the tree house is still structurally sound. The only required maintenance is replacing the 1,700 feet of rope used for the rope bridges connecting the rope bridges three structures.

urban tree house bedroom and bridge
Photo Credit: Peter Bahouth

An Experience of Independence 

“I remember having a treehouse as a little kid,” Peter recalls. “It was more just like a couple of boards in a bush, but it was there that I learned the word sovereignty.” After buying an acre of the property next to his home, he started to think about something special he could do with the land. “I kept reminiscing about my days in my childhood tree house and how I could recapture that magic.”

urban tree house rope bridge
Photo Credit: Peter Bahouth

For Peter, the experience of sleeping in a treehouse allows people to be subjected to the autonomy that comes with being close to the natural world. The benefits of biophilic design are well known, both for our physical and mental health. While most homeowners would settle for planting a living wall or planting a few air-purifying plants throughout their home as a strategy to bring nature into the house, Peter’s secluded, urban treehouse takes the home directly into the natural world.

 “There is a special feeling that comes with being in a space where you are not hooked into the grid,” Peter says. “There is no TV, and people enjoy that you can be out there, and it feels like you are miles away from everything.  You're not plugged into everything else when you are sleeping in the trees.”

urban tree house living room
Photo Credit: Peter Bahouth

The Sustainability Aspects of a House in the Trees

The treehouse incorporates several sustainability features, both from a design standpoint, the materials used, and the livability of the space. Recycled windows and doors were included in the construction, and antique materials are also a central part of the home design.

urban tree house interior desk
Photo Credit: Peter Bahouth

There is no heating or cooling as an open treehouse, meaning that the treehouse is generally vacant from November to March. A fan and a heated blanket are incorporated in the bedroom to help adapt to warmer or cooler nights. However, during the rest of the year, the airflow allows for a comfortable temperature inside the structure. The generous airflow also means that the home has zero issues with moisture or mildew, and the shade offered by the canopy of the trees keeps the home cool even during the hot summer months. Perhaps due to the breeze and the height of the three parts of the structure, the urban treehouse doesn’t have any problems with mosquitoes or other pests.

urban tree house living area
Photo Credit: Peter Bahouth

In the bedroom, the bed linens are made from 100% long-staple Egyptian cotton and pure Linen. They are Oeko-Tex certified, meaning that no harmful chemicals or softening synthetics have been used and there are no VOC emissions.

urban tree house evening lights
Photo Credit: Peter Bahouth

Of course, the most essential element of sustainability that this unique home offers is its intimate connection to the natural world. While not every homeowner will want a completely open house to the elements, finding ways to allow the natural world to permeate your home will bring several advantages and benefits.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-07-09T18:28:08+0000
Tobias Roberts

Article by:

Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.