Eric and Debbie Ledford … Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County

Built recently for his four daughters (Laney, 6; Presley 2; Sara Ann, 14; and Laura Beth, 12), the treehouse Eric Ledford created is in their Mt. Sterling backyard on a hillside near their home. It is very visible from the road, especially in during the Fall season when the leaves are falling off of the trees. It sits in a grove of ash trees, one large and several medium-sized, which all run through it.
Ledford says that daughter Laney was chief designer and supervisor. For instance, she chose the exterior paint color: Strawberry Fields Pink. He painted the deck and outside trim, as well as the interior, a standard semi-gloss white. The window treatments are made from white outside house shutters that Ledford cut down to treehouse-size. He then added knobs and used them as inside shades.This fits right in with Laney’s initial creative design plan. “She wanted the treehouse to look like a dollhouse, so I just went with that.”
Other features requested were a slide, tire swing, kitchen, computer and a “real” baby grand piano. Ledford notes, “Believe it or not, we actually did put in a pink miniature baby grand piano. There is no computer yet, but knowing my child and how she can talk me into almost anything, a computer will probably be added in the near future. There is electricity in the treehouse to run the flower-shaped ceiling fan and light, so adding a computer is feasible.” Laney’s motivation in getting the treehouse completed was clear, says Ledford. “She said she wanted a place she could go live if my wife and I decided to have more children. Her 2-year old sister Presley has cured her on wanting any more siblings.”
Ledford figured out how to build the house as he went along. His only previous major carpentry experience was building a deck around an above ground swimming pool. Reading a tape measure properly and making sure everything is level are his two main construction principles. He admits, though, that building around all the trees proved to be a challenge. To accommodate the “sway” of the trees, he allowed a 1 to 2 inch gap between the roof and the tree, then sprayed and sealed the gap with FlexSeal, a spray-on rubber coating that dries to provides a good seal. It keeps out the rain and at the same time allows motion.
A final word of advice Ledford shared: The main thing I would recommend to other parents when building a treehouse is not so much how to build it, but to practice patience with your children. Especially, when they ask “Are you about done yet” or when it is all complete and they start saying “I can’t play in there, there are too many bugs!!!”

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