LEGO City is currently experiencing a housing crisis. A crisis with no end in sight as the government continues to prioritise the never ending expansion of our emergency services. When LEGO City officials decided to invest in a mission to Mars instead of tackling affordable housing John Clayton had enough.
“I had always been a LEGO City guy, born and bred. It was home – even though I knew it wasn’t perfect. I mean what city needs that many fire stations? But the thing that really pushed me over the edge was the Mars mission. Why is a small town funding a mission to Mars? Why are we building a bloody launch facility 30km from the CBD!”
John wanted something more for his kids. He began to investigate a more rural option for his family.
“It was my wife that eventually found this place. A gorgeous block of land with a stream and this massive tree. Originally the plan was to chop down the tree and build further back on the block.”
Unfortunately the local council had other ideas. A protection order in place meant the tree had to stay and the Clayton’s building plans would have to dramatically change.
Jenny recalls the day they got the phone call. “We assumed everything was going to be approved, so John had put the call on speaker. If the kids weren’t in the car there would have been a lot more swearing that’s for sure”.
The couple felt hopeless, until an off-hand comment from their daughter gave John an idea. “Tahlia was playing by the stream one day and looked up at the tree and said that it would be a great tree for a treehouse.”
John spent the next 3 weeks reading up on local government by-laws. “The law says we can’t cut down the tree, but there was nothing that said we couldn’t build a treehouse in the tree.”
Over the next 6 months, while living in a rented caravan, the family oversaw the construction of an amazing 2 bedroom 1 bathroom treehouse. The end result is an outstanding home that strikes a delicate balance between back to basics living and modern luxuries.
A large staircase provides access to the elevated rooms.
With limited space the kids currently share a room with bunk beds, but John knows that this isn’t going to be a long term solution. A third bedroom might be a further addition to the treehouse in a few years.
The master suite is cosy but manages to fit in a double bed.
The bathroom features a toilet and shower that both make use of rainwater collected from the treetop canopy above them.
While the life the Clayton family lives is not for everybody there is certainly an appeal to it. Not many families spend their evenings preparing a dinner of freshly caught fish from their own stream, cooked on an open fire and served up under the stars.
Sometimes I like to imagine the world in which a set exists rather than just the boring review you’ve read before.
The LEGO Ideas Treehouse is an interesting one. The end result looks fantastic but to be honest – I didn’t love the build. The way the rooms are done makes them a bit fiddly to put together. The end result is also pretty fragile, with bits of foliage falling off easily. It’s not one for the kids to play with if you want it kept intact.
This set was provided to me by LEGO at my request. Opinions are my own.