bamboo treehouse

An informal blog version of my formal website. The intention is to add news and some insight into my ongoing predilection for bamboo and the hooch. With these raw materials and conceptual abode, I have evolved a paradigm for living lightly on this Earth. It is quite the adventure, so, why not share.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hill Hooch Treehouse

Recently completed, ( July, 2010), this 10' by 10' kit uses salvaged small diameter Douglas fir and cedar from a forest fire that swept the hillside the year before. Poles need to be harvested within 1-2 years of a fire before they are rendered unusable by bug infestation and rot.
The hooch features a split pole stairway and ladder, and railing. Situated amongst old Oaks with a nice view, a perfect place for sleep outs.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Tropical Treehouse revisited

After 8 years of yearly visits, we are now back in Rincon'- in our beloved treehouse. The house has become a home- with warm breezes and lots of projects. My bamboo has multiplied, and I now have tons (literally) of bamboo to use for my projects- furniture, more hooches, and art. We are stoked on the possibilities, and have embraced the vacation rental strategy for staying afloat. The Sunset hooch is renting out nicely- a most unique, private, and self-sufficient hooch treehouse ($100/night) for the glamping (glamorous camping) two-somes. The main house is also rentable, for up to 8 people ($200/night up to four people, $20/person/night additional)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

a 3D gallery

I thought I'd throw this in- see if it works. It is a 3D gallery (software from with a bunch of 3D bamboo creations I have made using Google Sketchup. Check it out.
Navigate through the gallery by changing scenes. or views. Click on any particular object, and, you are transported to the Google 3D gallery and the 3D object. You can view in total 3D with the Google Sketchup software.
A very impressive system for viewing in 3D, for sure.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

David Byrne Bike Rack Encounters

I recently had the privilege of visiting the greatest city in the world, NYNY. My experience was punctuated by the opportunity to tour the city by bicycle, courtesy of a bike provided by a friend who lives nearby (along the Hudson River train line). I managed to bring my bamboo panniers to carry my stuff, and pretty much covered the island of Manhattan via peddle power. Great experience, exhilerating at times (weaving through traffic on 5th Avenue). Biking the city streets is not for woosies, though the locals are much more daring than I dared to be. I did, however, manage to cross paths with New Yorks finest (a warning that biking is not allowed on city sidewalks). I also left some blood on the streets, after getting my front wheel caught in a grate that crossed my path. And, no visit to NYNY would be complete without getting ripped off (my rear flashing light attachment).

The subject of this post, however, is my encounter with David Byrnes' bike racks. The guy (former lead singer for the talking heads, and longtime New York biker), was commissioned by the city to
judge a bike rack design contest. He decided to just design them himself, and put up several
racks throughout Mahhattan and Brooklyn. I decided to devote a day to a quest of all the
David Byrne bike racks I could find, and photograph my faithful steed tied to them.
The pics that accompany this blog are the result.
1. The artsy, modern art rack in front of MOMA. The street vender guy said the rack had just been installed two days prior. Cool!
2. The reclining nude, ala trucker mud flap, around times square.

3. The high heel rack on 5th Avenue- a high fashion motif.

4. The Coffee cup rack outside a bakery frequented by Columbia University students on the Upper West Side.

5. The dollar sign rack on Wall Street- appropriate enough!

6. The guitar bike rack in Williamsburg in Brooklyn. I did not find this rack until we took the subway there to visit the Brooklyn Brewery. A cool neighborhood, the rack had already been decorated by locals- for whatever reason.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, June 13, 2008

St. John Hooch

I recently returned from an extended working vacation in the Virgin Islands, mostly St. John. I had lived there back in the 80's- and it was good to well, re-visit my youth. Many new houses, and people, but still many familiar faces. I was there to help my brother get back on his feet after a medical crisis. That I did, but I also managed to install a new version of the hooch on the island- a major goal. The most common hooch uses bamboo for the structural poles, and this style is definitely preferred. All the hooches at our place in Rincon', Puerto Rico, are made with bamboo- much of it grown on the property. St John does have bamboo, but not the type (timber bamboo) that would be appropriate. So, I re-designed the hooch to incorporate dimensional lumber throughout. The design worked beautifully. Designed with SketchUp, the Google 3D design software, the model in digital 3D space was transformed to a real life hooch, which fit together like a puzzle. Pre-fabbed, and assembled on site, the process was fast, and efficient. We used local bamboo for lamps, counter supports, plant hangers, a bamboo platform bed, and a chandelier.
You can see a complete series of related pics on FlickR:
click on "slideshow"


Monday, November 26, 2007

The Solar Hooch (Tower of Power)

Imagine a treehouse that heats itself, now imagine a treehouse that not only stays warm (most of the time), but also produces more electricity than it uses. That is the concept behind the solar hooch- a backyard "Tower of Power" that can actually contribute to lowering your electrical bills. A well situated urban home should encourage lush vegetation and trees to shelter it from cold winds in the winter, and the hot sun in the summer. Consequently, there is a conspicuous shortage of clear, unobstructed windows of light from which can be collected thermal and photo-voltaic energy from the sun. Enter the backyard solar hooch. Perched on a single point, with cables to surrounding tree, the hooch provides a space for escape without infringing on the backyard space. High in the air, the hooch rises above the shadows cast upon the ground-from trees and buildings. With an unobstructed southern exposure, the solar hooch catches and stores solar heat through an abundance of south facing windows. The sun shines through upon a unique array of water filled aluminum cans that span the loft. With a days worth of solar thermal energy stored in the water, the bamboo mesh futon can be lowered over the storage for a night of warmth and comfort.

The south facing windows are augmented with large photo-voltaic panels that double as shutters that close over the glass and conserve all that valuable heat that was collected. The electricity generated is pumped back into the grid for use later- in the hooch, or in the real house-down below. The hooch becomes more than carbon-neutral- it actually contributes to ameliorating the carbon footprint of the real house.

Power aside, the hooch can serve as very comfortable refuge for the stressed, the weary, the solitude starved urban dweller. Do the Earth a favor, and find yourself in a hooch.
The solar hooch, along with many other concepts (real or imagined) can be seen in all its 3D splendor at:

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

bamboo cruise control

yet another bamboo innovation- the bamboo cruise control. I was tired of being all bent over, as the conventional mountain bike/ racer biker makes you be. I wanted to sit up for around town cruising. The easy strategy for achieving the raised handle bars was merely to connect the ends of the handle bar ends with a bamboo bar. Voila- bamboo cruise control. I sit up, see the world, and the bamboo cruise control is a good feel. Brakes are still on the conventional handle bar, but the upper bar is useful for most of bicycle cruising. Light weight, natural, bamboo! Perfect!