The Tree House (the Shed formerly known as “She”)


There once was a boy who loved a girl.  One day he gave her a book filled with many home projects, both large and small, that could make her life beautiful.

“Whichever project you chose, I will build for you,” he said.

The girl looked through the book.  But her heart, blinded by the expectation of bath salts and new socks, sank in disappointment.  “No, thank you,” she said.  And the boy went away.

A month later, the boy held the girl’s hand and said, “I want to build you a palace all your own.  A home where you have the freedom to create beautiful things.”

“Who am I that I deserve such a space?” the girl asked.  And she withdrew her hand and said, “No, thank you.”

That night, the girl could not sleep.  She listened to the boy’s soft breathing beside her.  She felt a shrinking sadness engulf her like a too-tight sheet.  And then she felt something else – a nudge to look into the expanse where all possibility lives.  The sadness recoiled, and she knew she could trust the boy.

“Why would you want to give me such a gift?” the girl asked the boy the next morning as she served him his eggs.

“Because I love you,” he said with the warmest of smiles.

And that was enough.

The Tree House

After several weeks of the unexpected (some of it welcome, some not), we completed The Tree House on Sunday.  I have to give a special shout out to my parents.  Saturday, they had a 24-hour layover in our home on the way back to Maine, after spending a week in Kiawah, SC where our family celebrated their 50th anniversary.  Rather than nap or read, they helped me with the final punch list items:  clean up drywall dust, build screens, paint the inside trim, touch up the paint, wash windows and clean the floor.

But I get ahead of myself…

There were the delays.  Thank goodness for Hurricane Joaquin, which dumped rain against the front door and revealed a serious leak in the seal.  True, the project screeched to a halt, and Hubby spent many confounding hours working on the problem.  But the alternative makes me shudder:  water under the floating floor seeping into the drywall.  Then came the two weeks of travel: to Austin (Hubby), followed immediately by a drive to New York for a funeral and then a 1-day turnaround drive to Kiawah.

When we got back from Kiawah, things happened fast.

After the door seal fix proved sound, Hubby laid the floor and baseboard on Friday night.  On Saturday, my parents and I blasted through the punch list.  Hubby and I put together the furniture on Saturday night (thanks Ikea and Target).  And I finished the major decorating on Sunday.  There are still things like making/installing roman shades, landscaping, and installing the base outside trim (critter deterrent) and a storm/screen door.  But these things are secondary to the move-in process.

In Awe

The Tree House.  You inspire awe.  #1 Hubby followed through on and exceeded his own vision. #2 Somehow he found a way to pay for your construction.  #3 You are a profoundly peaceful space.  #4 You are a daily reminder of love and hope and faith.

Sure, Hubby and I made intentional design choices to create your calm, even ethereal feel.  But still…when everything comes together better than expected, that is magic.

Update September 2016:

So we made some landscaping upgrades after a fall and winter of mucking through leaves and mud.  Because the pea gravel walk from the raised beds to the side walkway no longer made sense, I changed the flow.  The graveled area now extends from the raised beds and curves to behind the studio.  Not only is it more aesthetically pleasing, but it also solves the issue of trying to grow grass in front of the studio, a trouble spot for years.  Instead we have a little “patio” area, with Adirondack chairs that Hubby built and a fire pit.  I now have a place to sit and watch the bees, read manuscripts or just veg.

2016 Update:  pea gravel 'patio' and Adirondack chairs

2016 Update: pea gravel ‘patio’ and Adirondack chairs


2016 Update:  pea gravel extends from raised beds to behind the studio.

2016 Update: pea gravel extends from raised beds to behind the studio.


2016 Update:  Flower and fruit tree garden view from studio.

2016 Update: Flower and fruit tree garden view from studio.

Copyright © 2015, Ilana Hulsey Rea. All rights reserved.

3 Replies to “The Tree House (the Shed formerly known as “She”)”

  1. The ‘She’ shed has turned into a beautiful and special place for the girl to call all her own. She is very fortunate to have a boy to give her such a such a treasure. Loved your story. 🙂

  2. Love the story, love the house. Every girl should have a special place for peace and tranquility. The boy must really love the girl to give her such a beautiful place! Enjoy! 🙂

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