In our original concept we thought there would be an external set of stairs leading to each treehouse, but about half way through the construction of the Hawke's Nest the practicality of that setup took a hit. Just to get up to the Hawke's Nest was forty-one steps and the thought of walking up forty-one steps to each building lost its appeal in a hurry.
So the solution to the problem became a stair tower that would allow us to lock off one door and effectively lock them all. Other considerations moved our construction to ground level after the Lone Hemlock was completed, but the effectiveness and uniqueness of the Stair Tower remains.
At a mere twelve feet square it seems rather simple, but building a set of stairs to the top to align with the Hawke's Nest proved to be quite a challenge. Because there is no real floor other than the slab, the walls were balloon framed to the top level. Then we built five sets of five stairs and landings to get to the top. The work became a testament to our carpenters as the exterior walls were completed in just one day, and the stairs the next day.
But the show wasn't over, it was just starting because the Stair Tower sits about half way between the Hawke's Nest and the Lone Hemlock. To get from the Stair Tower to the Hawke's Nest required a forty foot walkway with another two sets of stairs. But once again our carpenters had the answer and a few laser shots later the game plan was in place. So we now have a long walkway that includes two sets of stairs to pick up the rise from the top of the Stair Tower to the floor of the Hawke's Nest.
The exterior and interior of the building are cedar shingles but done at different times. The exterior we did while constructing the walkway and doing normal finishing work. There are a lot of shingles on a building that is twelve feet square and twenty-six fee tall. We went through a lot of shingles and staples, and sat on some walk boards for days. But with four of us working at it the time passed quickly.
There are two window openings in the building and we chose to make some screened openings with tree motifs to cover them. The two door openings we left open and over time that proved to be an issue. So in 2018 we made some screened doors to keep rain and wasps out.
But once completed for round one we had a walkway going east to the Hawke's Nest, and an opening going nowhere until we built the Lone Hemlock in 2012.
The walkway to the Lone Hemlock wound up being much more straightforward and certainly quicker and cheaper. With no stairs to negotiate and only a flat walkway the connection between the two buildings went smoothly. We added a right angle turn to add stability to both structures and to the walkway. To plan for the future we also left a removable section of the railing so we could go toward the back of the lot from this same level. But as time moved on things changed with our thinking and we started to build at ground level, so additional exits from the walkways became unnecessary.
Over time the Stair Tower has grown in use and now provides dry storage for a number of items as well as access to the two buildings. The interior was also shingled, but at a slower pace over the winter of 2012 and spring of 2013. The shingling process became good therapy on the infrequent sunny days that winter.
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