It’s a given that sound plays a quintessential role in the “treehouse experience:” the creaking and groaning of your arboreal neighbors as they sway in the wind, the rustling of leaves, the humming of insects, the symphony of birdcalls, the requisite babbling brook, the unsettling animal noises that prevent you from descending from your perch in the middle of the night.
But unless you’re fortunate enough to be taking up residence in a treehouse that’s deep into a far-flung forest somewhere, you may also frequently encounter certain sounds — wailing sirens, yapping dogs, whistling smartphones, neighbors having it out in their backyard, you get the picture — that can put a damper on the whole experience. These pesky aural distractions can bring solace-seeking treehouse dwellers in semi-rural and suburban environments, well, back down to the ground.
This is where Blue Forest, U.K.-based purveyor of bespoke treehouse escapes and woodsy prefab retreats comes in. The lauded design/build firm’s latest creation, Quiet Treehouse, zeros in on just that: blissful, blood pressure-lowering peace and quiet. Reads a recent news release: "At the heart of all of Blue Forest’s tree houses is a yearning for the carefree abandon of childhood and a desire to escape (even just for a while) from the grinding rat race to a secluded den that is private and importantly: quiet."
While Blue Forest states that the selective elimination of annoying noises has always played a key role in its approach to tree house design, Quiet Treehouse serves as a stunning showcase of “low-sound technology” — an “extraordinary tribute to the serene and ultimate luxury of quiet.”
As you can see, this "modern and luxuriously equipped" escape that Blue Forest considers to be the "pinnacle of quiet retreats" may not qualify as a true treehouse as it’s a free-standing structure independent of a host tree (I'm instantly reminded of an arboreal cake stand). However, the curvaceous structure was directly influenced by the shape of a coppice of small trees and, as with all Blue Forest creations, is thoughtfully designed to blend in with and bring people closer to Mother Nature:
Three primary trunks support the cocoon-like creation, which is accessed via stairs to the main floor. Its bold contemporary design can be installed independently of a host tree yet still provides the user with the feeling that they are high in the tree tops looking down on the world below.
As for the noise-blocking bells and whistles integrated into the design of Quiet Treehouse, they are numerous. Designed by Blue Forest in partnership with the Noise Abatement Society’s nonprofit product certifying arm, Quiet Mark, and U.K. department store John Lewis, the hushed hideaway includes Acoustiblok, an innovative sound insulation made from natural/organic materials; Rockwool thermal insulation; Soft Cells acoustic paneling from Kvadrat; and Cantifix windows with a special noise-reducing glazing from Pilkington Optiphon. Inside, the Quiet Treehouse is stocked with an array of low-noise, Quiet Mark-approved gadgets and gizmos from the likes of Dyson, Bose, Philips, Mitsubishi Electric, and others.
No need to keep a pair of emergency earplugs in the bedside table, folks.
The Quiet Treehouse will be on display and open for public tours at the upcoming Ideal Home Show at Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre from March 14 -30. If you happen to be in London and are interested in both top-notch treehouse design and/or the latest advancements in noise-reducing building technology and non-headache-inducing home electronics, this is a must see. Aside from sponsoring the Quiet Treehouse itself, Quiet Mark is a headline sponsor of the show—the first environmental initiative to serve this role.
As for the Quiet Treehouse’s all-important post-home show afterlife, it will be relocated from Earl’s Court to The Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice in West Sussex where it — a donation, to be clear — will serve as a permanent structure where children and their families can relax and unwind minus the shrill and relentless buzz of modern life.
Says Andy Payne, co-founder and director of Blue Forest, in a press release: “So many temporary structures for shows are designed to only be up for a short while and are then dismantled and the material thrown out which is a tremendous waste. A key challenge of this treehouse project was to design something that could be installed at the Ideal Home Show in only 7 days but that would be durable and long-lasting, providing real value for its final home at Chestnut Tree House Hospice."
A question for those of you with treehouses — either homemade or high-end, it doesn't matter — or other structures that you view a place of sanctuary: Does noise pollution negatively impact the time that you spend lofted above the ground? If so, how have you dealt with it? Ambien? Enya? Meditation? Do your efforts to drown out unwanted manmade noises also erase the soothing sounds of nature?
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- Why noise bothers you, even if you think it doesn't
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