Kodiak Daily Mirror - Treehouse is recycled getaway
Treehouse is recycled getaway
by Julie Herrmann
Jul 30, 2014 | 258 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Friend Contractors built this treehouse getaway on Whale Island. (Jerrol Friend photo)
Friend Contractors built this treehouse getaway on Whale Island. (Jerrol Friend photo)
With the number of trees in Kodiak, Brenda Friend is surprised there are not more treehouses.

Except for the one she and her husband built as a 10th anniversary present for each other, Friend said she has yet to see another one in Kodiak.

Friend co-owns Friend Contractors with her husband, Jerrol, and the company has built cabins and houses around Kodiak for years.

Friend said she’s always wanted a treehouse, and enjoyed watching the show “Treehouse Masters,” a TV show with a team that builds treehouses from the simple to the grandiose.

“I talked to my husband and said the next cabin I want to do is a treehouse, and so we did,” Friend said.

They built the treehouse on Whale Island, a small island between Afognak and Kodiak, on almost four acres of land they own.

Friend said it took just four days to build the treehouse, with help from their son who flew in from Arizona.

The treehouse, along with another cabin on the property, is used for weekend getaways. It’s just a short boat ride to the property from Anton Larsen Bay.

The treehouse is on the rustic side. Rainwater is collected from the roof to use in the house, and electricity is provided with a generator.

Underneath the treehouse is a platform that’s like a covered patio. In keeping with the rustic feel, driftwood is a staple that’s being used throughout the house.

Friend said they found a white cedar driftwood log, cut a slice from it, and will be using it to make a bar-height table on the patio.

“We’re using driftwood to line the railings, and we spent a whole day beach combing to find the right pieces,” Friend said. “We’re building a four-poster bed out of driftwood.”

Friend and her husband built the treehouse out of mostly recycled materials. As contractors, they frequently tear down buildings. Most of the materials for the treehouse came from the old Kodiak jail, while some of it came from other demolition projects Friend Contractors has done. Friend estimates about 90 percent of the treehouse is recycled materials.

“We tell people we’re going to spend the rest of our lives in jail,” Friend said. “The jail is 50 years old, and the treehouse continues that life.”

When the house is done, there will be two sets of stairs to get up and down. But there will probably be a third way to get down. The Friends are talking about adding a zip line to get from the treehouse down to the other cabin.

“We were thinking of a fun way to get up and down, and we thought a zip line was pretty neat,” Friend said.

Friend Contractors has not yet had any serious offers to build one for a customer, but they’re open to it.

“Remote property around the island is relatively cheap, and there’s an abundance of it,” Friend said. “We like to encourage people to go out and build your little weekend family getaway and appreciate nature.”

As far as potential dangers from falling trees, Friend said they’re not too worried about it.

“My husband knows a lot about trees and how long they’ll likely stand,” Friend said. “It’s just like anything you build when you’re rural; you have to be worried about tsunamis, bears, high winds. The trees are just another factor. You could just as easily have a tree come down on your house.”

Right now, the Friends are finishing up the treehouse and planning to build a second treehouse on their Whale Island property.

“Kodiak has the kind of forest where you’d expect to see elfs and fairies,” Friend said. “You can hear everything, you can hear the rain drops. It’s so stress-free out there.”

Contact Julie Herrmann at jherrmann@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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