…funk for the old soul…

Mr. Crow Builds His Dream House

Posted by crowbiz on September 24, 2009

No, it wasn’t Cary Grant toiling away in our backyard all summer, it was Mr. Crow, living proof of back-busting, hard-ass German heritage.  




It all started so simply.  SonWon mused that it might be nice to upgrade the boys’ years-old “playhouse” (more of a play platform with a death drop slide) and cheerfully drew up a few outlandish sketches for improvements.  We had to reject the three-story plan and go with something that would fit the confines of our wee lot, but Mr Crow did manage to use one of the ideas.  Perhaps the biggest fuel was a borrowed book on treehouses, some humble and many stunningly sumptuous.  Using the existing playhouse he built six years ago, he began the reconfiguration in July.














Working with only his own sketches and some kind of Lego gene, Mr Crow managed to whip up a pretty fab launching pad for the boys’ – and possibly adult – fun.  Minimal help came in the form of a boy or two bracing a board, hauling lumber, or handing over a drill, but it was largely a solo job.  I stayed almost entirely clear, other than to dictate where the reaches of the structure could not go.  Oh, and I did the metal roof with him.  During construction, an unknown neighbor in the next-door rental called out to Mr. Crow, “Do your kids call you ‘SuperDad’?”  Windows and doors are salvaged – the house was sort of made to fit around them.  All cedar.  Two ladders.  Deck.  Driftwood railings.  And ~ drumroll ~ a trap door! (a great anxiety engine for mom, who has seen a fair share of clunked heads and pinched fingers already). 

Treehouse3   To everyone’s dismay, I keep threatening to gussy it up with a few window boxes or planters next year, which I fully realize will spoil the intent of a boys’ playhouse, but still, it is an awfully big wooden rectangle.  Soon enough, there will be drawings, carvings and homemade weapons of torture peppering it, but I’m determined to sneak in a few garden touches when no one is looking.  



It was christened on Labor Day with the first sleepover.  Ridiculously, four boys actually managed to fit and sleep inside after fashioning wall-to-wall sleeping bags and cushions, but at 7 and 10, they’re young enough to still be satisfied sleeping like puppies in a pile.  Cleverly (I can’t imagine this was accidental), Mr Crow scaled it to comfortably accommodate two adults in a horizontal position, but the house has yet to endure a trial run.  For the time being, I like to eat my lunch on the deck.

Hats off and bottoms up to Mr. Crow!


Boy den, ready for accessorizing.  Girls allowed.

Boy den, ready for accessorizing. Girls allowed.

36 Responses to “Mr. Crow Builds His Dream House”

  1. This is beautiful. Love the driftwood railing and the recycled nature of it all. Love your writing, too.

  2. Steven Harris said

    Better than some folks cabins 😉

  3. strez said

    i so like to read your post, i study on civil engineer too. but i am bad for english language. might please give a widget translator google on your side bar, on Indonesia Language of course. thanks

    Indonesian blogger

  4. Blair Boone said

    Congrats to Mr. Crow on a superb project, and to you on making the front page.

    • crowbiz said

      Thanks BB – all credit to Big A. In my heart, I know that getting on the home page is probably determined by dart board and a stray Monopoly die.

  5. Lori D said

    Wow, tell Mr. Crow that I’m impressed! Can he come over and build me a studio space in my backyard?

  6. Julie said

    And we moved away just in time to not see this being built!

    Great job Mr. Crow and Mrs. Crow–fantastic blog!

    • crowbiz said

      You missed seeing AND hearing it – cutting steel sheets under your old bedroom window on a Saturday morning. But amazingly, the whole adventure was eerily expletive-free. I was worried things weren’t going normally.

  7. Wow! It’s really fantastic!! I would have loved to have something like that as a kid. Who am I kidding, I would still play in there! =)

  8. Paudie said

    This little project just might spurr me on to that long awaited structure that might kids have been asking for all yaer!! Thanks for the inspiration and the forthcoming pain in my back…..

  9. theprettyproject said

    OMGoodness. That’s pretty intense! 🙂

  10. Adrienne said

    How cool! I so can’t wait until we buy our house next summer! I’m so building a tree house for my son! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Mike said

    that is a kids dream

  12. Mike said

    looks like a kids dream

  13. I love it.Thanks for sharing:)

  14. jonathan mcraney said

    look good needs a little color? agree

  15. terry said

    nice log railing

  16. Rahul said

    Looking nice great post

  17. Its very beautifull!

  18. John Pozzi said

    real change – john

  19. handyguy said

    Very nice work.

    In my neck of the woods the code Nazis would be all over the place writing tickets for child endangerment and miscellaneous acts of potential cruelty and mayhem.

    Can I move to your neighborhood?

    Best wishes,

    • crowbiz said

      Sometimes it pays to live in an urban area where there are nagging things like homicide to divert legal scrutiny. On a positive note, here in Buffalo, they just voted to allow chicken-keeping in the city. However, they’ll probably tax us for the extra square footage of “living space.” And we may well find someone occupying it by next April.

  20. Frank said

    A work of art, and I love the metal roof. Just looking at the roof reminds me of my childhood days when I used to visit my grandmother in the Caribbean. The experience of sleeping under such a roof in a rain storm is something you never forget.

  21. J said

    Exceptionally well done. Brings out the kid in me… At least a little… I was actually thinking of making a tree house for myself after seeing your wonderful work. Except I’ll likely add a power supply to it, so I can have a refrigerator containing beer, and a small TV. Good hideout with my buddies if I don’t want interference from my family, lol.

    Yet again, the coach potato part of me is having difficulty getting out of my chair to start doing something… And doing is where all the fun really is, isn’t it? >.<

  22. Scott said

    Wow; its so nice to see parents still doing stuff like this for their kids. Way to engage and be involved in forging the great memories kids & parents will both cherish.

  23. psychologist1 said

    well, it is ok of course if the weather is always warm there. i would not be jealous if this house was built somewhere in Greenland.

    • crowbiz said

      Banish that envy, because this playhouse is smack in the middle of Buffalo, NY! A few years back we enjoyed 7 feet of snow in 4 days. It rather makes the two ladders uneccessary from December through March.
      We’re hoping Mark Burnett will wise up to a little Rustbelt Chic and stage a season of “Survivor” in our backyard.

  24. ruthrawls said

    I appreciate small spaces because I live in an RV. Now I want a trapdoor. In the RV. Heh.

  25. jeanie stiles said

    treehouse author
    I am curious which book you used to do your treehouse? Thanks, jeanie

  26. This is so cool! I’m going to send some traffic your way, and put a link on my blog for this post. I’d love to share it, hope you don’t mind!


  27. JD said

    viewports all over the place. What’s going on in there?

  28. Savannah said

    Awesome blog!

    I thought about starting my own blog too but I’m just too lazy so, I guess Ill just have to keep checking yours out.

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