Serving Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

Wadena 'House in the Trees' is an inspiration

By Carol Stender

Date Modified: 10/07/2013 7:19 AM

E-mail article | Print version

WADENA, Minn. — Will and Peggy Line, of Wadena, allowed their imaginations and building skills run wild when they built their house in the trees.

The 420-square-foot structure, which stands nearly 15 feet above ground, started out as a little tree house for the grandchildren. But, as grandpa and grandma came up with new ideas, the structure grew into a little cabin in the trees. They constructed the winterized building in 2000.

They had plenty of lumber. Will once owned and operated Will's Mills Saw Mill. When he sold it, the tree house became a last great project using the mill's lumber.

The Lines felt like 12-year-olds during the process, she said.

"We had a lot of wood and no parental controls," she said. "He would do something, and I would say, 'I see it! I see what you're doing,'" Peggy said. "We would cheer each other on."

Crooked logs became the tops of the deck railing that surrounds the house. Driftwood from Lake Superior is the decorative wood that fills in the space from the railing to the deck. Wood slices that include bark were used in window sills and made the perfect frames.

Will sheet rocked inside the home.

"It would've been too much wood, and it wouldn't have shown off the wood as nicely without it," he said.

Several large white oak logs support the tree house. The logs are buried six feet deep and are surrounded by concrete. When a June 17, 2010, tornado hit the area, they added steel beams to the support —just in case.

"I probably went a little overkill on it," Will said. "But we had no grand design. We worked together and came together on the design."

The home includes plumbing and electricity. There's a small kitchen, bathroom, table and sitting area on the main floor with a loft for sleeping. It's surrounded by a large deck with plenty of seating and a hot tub.

The tree house was the couple's home for three years, she said. When their daughter, Lori, moved home, they built on the same property adding bedrooms, kitchen and living room to their shop and garage. Now, they rent out the tree house year-round. Most visitors stay a day or more from spring through fall. The tree house is available for rent on weekends during the winter.

It's not a bed and breakfast, Peggy said. The house has its own kitchen. Customers can enjoy the peaceful surroundings, including the nicely landscaped flowerbeds.

"We never expected this," said Peggy of the tree house's popularity.

"Most people who come here dream the dream," she said. "When they go home, they dream bigger."

For more information on the tree house, call the Lines at 218-639-8017.