British Columbia–based Tom Chudleigh designed the Free Spirit Sphere as a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too tree house that combines the wonder of being airborne with all manner of earthly comforts.

Handcrafted of wood or fiberglass, this lavish ten-foot-six-inch-diameter sphere is fully wired to accommodate a microwave, space heater, refrigerator, TV, Clapper—whatever. And it’s plumbed for a kitchen sink. Retractable beds sleep up to four people. 

But if the point is to surround one’s self with all mod cons, why not just rent a condo in Barstow? “When you’re up in the trees,” Chudleigh says, somewhat evasively, “you really get the sense that you are just floating up there, that you’re in a different world.” This sensation is produced by four flexible ropes that connect to the sides of the sphere, allowing it to suspend freely above the ground and move with the whim of the forest breeze or branches, intimately connecting the Free Spirit Sphere occupant with the surroundings. “It’s a really healing place up here.” 

Chudleigh has built four spheres so far and is on his way to Australia to build four more. Prices range from $45,000 for the fiberglass to $150,000 for the handcrafted wood sphere. “You think of conventional buildings as having walls, straight lines, color patterns,” says Chudleigh. “In these spheres you are completely removed from that: All walls are merged into one, you are in the air, connected to it, detached from everything familiar—it’s a total escape from the conventional world.”  br>


Photograph by Gregor MacLean.  Photo 10 of 25 in Photo Essay: Enchanting Tree Houses from The High Life