Up, Up, And Away!
TEXT BY SARA ANNE DONNELLY
PHOTOGRAPHS BY MEDIA NORTHEAST
A treehouse built by a nationally recognized master grows in Norway.
Sam and Rob Masabny’s Norway treehouse feels like the grown-up version of a childhood dream. Located on the 10-acre property of their summer home on Lake Pennesseewassee, it hovers 15 feet above ground among hemlocks whose trunks poke through the wraparound front porch like rustic columns. Moss-covered branch balusters trim the curvaceous porch railing. Inside, the two-bedroom, two-bath dwelling features whitewashed shiplap paneling, blue buffalo-check textiles, and, in the mudroom area, a swath of cobalt hexagonal tile that melds into hickory flooring like waves lapping at the shore. “We’re trying to do something different where you can make a memory,” says Sam, who lives with Rob and their daughter, Andi, on Boston’s South Shore, and rents the elegant aerie on their site, thewoodsmaine.com. “That’s what’s appealing about the treehouse concept. Each one is unique. Each one has its own story.”
This one’s story starts with Pete Nelson, master treehouse builder and star of the Animal Planet show Treehouse Masters, who took the gig after Sam emailed him. (She and Rob have been superfans for years.) Prefabbed by Nelson Treehouse at its headquarters outside Seattle, the 1,000-square-foot cedar structure was erected on-site in just six weeks last spring. Nelson’s frequent collaborator, New York–based designer Christina Salway, handled the interior. “You want it to feel polished and considered, but you also want to have a sort of rustic-comfortable vibe,” she says of her approach. The kitchen was central to setting the right tone for the Masabny project because it’s the first thing you see when you enter the house. Accordingly, Salway outfitted it with luxury retro-inspired appliances like a Smeg refrigerator, Bertazzoni gas stove, and farm sink with a brass faucet embedded in a gleaming white-quartz countertop.
On a rainy night in June, the Masabnys stayed for the first time in the treehouse of their big-kid dreams. “It was super cozy,” Rob says. “I can’t wait until it snows and we can watch a football game in there.”