There are a few memories from my childhood that I treasure. Things as simple as wearing an oversized t-shirt to bed on weekends to spending hours in a tiny 3' pool with my best friend Patrick are among my favorites. My daughter is only five, but I am aware that these precious few years will be the framework for the rest of her life. It's important to me that she experiences a magical childhood.

I think in a world of unbridled technology, as parents, we must remember to embrace the physical experiences while they are still little. My friend, Brendon Meier, took this task very seriously...

Three years ago, before his kids were old enough to appreciate it, Brendon started working on a treehouse. And, not just any treehouse - a treehouse that is so spectacular I just might leave my home and move into it.

When he purchased his current home, there was a foundation for a play area that was started but was long forgotten. Rotting and withered, Brendon cleaned up the area and decided to build something special for his kids.

"I thought it would be cool to build a house. I had a treehouse when I was a kid. It was a neighbor's treehouse and they let my friend and I use it. I had a lot of good memories in that thing. I had the foundation but I wanted to restructure what was already there," Brendon told me.

He started the build and was fashioning what we think of as a treehouse - in the tree. But, after watching Treehouse Masters, a reality tv series that airs on Animal Planet and stars Pete Nelson, he tore it all down and started from the ground up.

"I realized that I had done it all wrong. When you attach it to a tree, your treehouse's life depends on the life of that tree. So, I tore it down and restarted."

It took Brendon three years to complete the treehouse and he has no formal contracting or carpentry experience. As a home appraiser, Brendon understands the home building process and said he paid a lot of attention to the new builds. He sought out the techniques he saw on the job and applied them on a smaller scale to the treehouse. And, though he didn't use blueprints, he did a lot of scale drawings that helped him to visualize the concept.

When I asked Brendon what his and the kids' favorite parts about the treehouse were, his answers were thoughtful.

"Olivia likes the loft. She likes the pillows I picked out for her and  she likes sitting up there overlooking everything. Owen loves the trap door."

Brendon's favorite things were a bit more nostalgic.

"My favorite things are the bumblebee decoration that Owen picked out on one of our first trips to Menard's. I remember him picking it up and spinning the wheel in the belly of the bee. He loved it and it reminds me of when we started the project. I also really like the window in the loft. You can open it up on hot summer nights. It overlooks a pond in the neighbor's yard."

The Meiers unveiled the treehouse at Owen's seventh birthday party yesterday. "There were a lot of late nights when I was up at three o'clock in the morning with the construction lights trying to get this thing finished for the party. But, I told him it would be ready." As expected, the kids couldn't get enough of it.

Brendon put a lot of time and effort into making such an incredible, enchanting place for he and his kids to enjoy. He told me that he wanted it to be a retreat - a place to break away from everything that might be going on in the house and in life to just enjoy each other.


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