And so it begins………..
It is with the utmost excitement that we can finally announce the new Treehouse Utopia! I am Laurel Waters, the Chef and Owner of The Laurel Tree restaurant in Utopia, Texas, and my partner in all of this is Pete Nelson, owner of Nelson Treehouse and the fun-loving and incredibly talented star of Treehouse Masters on Animal Planet.
How it all started:
A little over two years ago, Pete & Judy and the whole Nelson Treehouse crew walked in my front door at The Laurel Tree with a dinner reservation. They were building in Leakey for Marc & Ann Laird, and had gotten wind of the food and the giant trees at the restaurant. Next thing we know, we are building a private treehouse dining room up in my 450-year-old oak tree in the back yard, and that was the just the beginning of what has turned into an incredible relationship. I just know that the whole thing was meant to be!
The Laurel Tree Treehouse:
People just can’t wait to be able to enjoy a meal at the single table (for 6 or fewer) that is nestled in the palm of this giant tree’s hand. The moment that the next six month reservation window opens, people are busting at the seams to get their hands on a reservation for a Saturday lunch or dinner.
The response that we have had about our private dining experience in this treehouse has been overwhelming! I figured that it would be special, but the moments that we have experienced in this treehouse over the last year and a half have been truly incredible! We have celebrated a mother’s 80th birthday where daughters flew all the way in from coast to coast to come together to celebrate in this unique environment! We have had everything from milestone anniversaries to engagements to simple special moments shared amongst friends. One customer wrote in our Treehouse diary, “Memories are to be made, but this one is EPIC!” I feel so proud yet incredibly humbled by the love and sharing that is happening every single weekend in The Laurel Tree treehouse! There is just something extra magical about being together in a tree!
There is one little thing that I do hear often though, ‘The only thing that could be more magical is if we could just spend the night in a tree as well….”
So, this is where we find ourselves now, and we are going for it! Pete and I have dreamed up four truly inspired treehouses that you will be able to spend the night in! They are less than half a mile away from The Laurel Tree on property that my family has owned over 40 years. We never intended on sharing it with the world until this idea came alive. The property is quiet, secluded, and almost mystical when you are down amongst these ginormous Bald Cypress trees that line the crystal clear, spring fed river.
So, our goal is renewal here at Treehouse Utopia! Renew your spirit, your romance, or your outlook on life. Whatever it is you need….. to rejoice, remind, refresh, rekindle, or restart….there is no better place than in the arms a tree! Leave the kids and pets at home.
For Treehouse Utopia, Pete and I chose to continue the same vision I had thirteen years ago for The Laurel Tree, integrating classic French design with Texas Hill Country roots. Each of the treehouses will have a spacious sitting room, bedroom, full bathroom, and sitting decks. Each will have its own unique identity and personality so that there will be the perfect choice for everyone. You might pick a favorite or you might decide to revisit often and try out each of them.
We have already built the first treehouse, Chapelle. All French villages have the Chapel as the focal point, very often being the highest structure in town, reaching toward the Heavens. This location, right on the edge of the water, has two giant Cypress trees growing completely parallel to each other, like twin brothers. They were the perfect pillars to hold a chapel right in between them, as if they grew just for this purpose. This treehouse really gives you a spiritual feeling that moves you even upon approach, but the interior will take your breath away!
We have begun on the second treehouse, Chateau. Nestled among three huge Cypress trees, this will be the only treehouse with two stories – a dramatic French spiral staircase will lead you up to the bedroom. Chateau will be so grand in scale, it will feel luxurious and indulgent. Much of your time will probably be spent on the immense deck, lounging under the canopy of the trees.
The third treehouse will be the Biblioteque, or library. This cozy lair will be built around the largest single Cypress tree, set off by itself. The rooted giant has a prehistoric feel to it, but realistically could be as old as 800 years! Oh, the stories it could tell!! Biblioteque is meant to bring comfort and warmth with a great sense of nestling in. Walls will be lined with bookcases adorned with works of art, poetry, nature, trees, Texas, and more. There will be cozy, leather chairs by the fireplace so that you can lose yourself in reading and conversation.
Last, but not least, all French villages have an ever-loved carousel for the amusement of all ages! This treehouse will wind its way through the boughs of a single tree right on the water. It will be whimsical and bright, bringing out inner joy and fond memories of youth. You will find a smile when you enter this space, and you will leave refreshed and with a happy heart.
This entire project has come about so organically over the last year, and I could not be more thankful! I feel as though I have been collecting for this project for 20 years now and didn’t even know it! And, in working with Pete Nelson, he truly is the master! He is a joy, he is a treasure, and he is one of the most creative people I have ever met! I could not be more excited to share this combined vision with all of you!
So many exciting things to come, and things will be changing every moment! I will keep you updated on the progress of the build.
We will begin to pre-book at some point this spring, so stay tuned for updates as they come!
Joy & Trees!