The first of the four rentable treehouses at Treehouse Utopia, Chapelle is a resplendent riverside refuge. Chapelle roosts at the heart of the otherworldly property, standing sentinel over the emerald river and basking below the glorious canopy of its twin cypress hosts. Duality is a recurring motif in Chapelle's design: two trees, two decks, two identical arched windows - one pointed east and one west to frame glittering views of sunrise and sunset. Everything about Chapelle is crafted for couples - a quintessential romantic retreat.
As soon as she lay eyes on the twin cypresses, Treehouse Utopia owner Laurel Waters knew they called for a chapel-inspired treehouse. Our architects and carpenters crafted Chapelle to manifest Laurel's vision, taking advantage of the cypresses' prodigious girth, mighty height, and unswerving linear shape. Chapelle is cradled between the two trees, its vaulted ceiling and church-like windows at home in the soaring space.
The Treehouse Utopia property feels like a prehistoric oasis in the midst of the shrubby (yet sublime) landscape of Texas Hill Country. To arrive at Chapelle, visitors wind around a steep bluff, dropping down into a dreamland dotted with herculean trees and slivered by the languid river. The day that Pete snapped these photos, the cypress trees had just begun to shed their leaves, gilding the mirrored surface of the river with a collage of red and gold.
Chapelle rises 17 feet off the ground, supported by over ten Treehouse Attachment Bolts and knee braces.
A staircase weaves to the entry deck, passing through two elevated landings on the way.
The crew crafted the natural branch railing posts from local Texas Mountain Cedar, also known as Ashe Juniper.
The exterior siding is made from reclaimed barn wood, re-milled for shiplap. The roof is capped in standing seam metal.
Laurel contributed many of the furnishings from her personal collection of antiques she has acquired on her travels through France. The plant stand to the left of the bench on this entry deck is one of Laurel's antiques, and the planters are French Anduze pottery. Laurel offers similar items for sale at her antiques shop on Utopia's main street.
Our architects designed the 470-square-foot treehouse as a sort of "S" that curves between the two trees. The lights on the deck came from Kichler Lighting.
Beyond the sliding glass door lies an airy central room, bookended by the twin Gothic windows. The tall, vaulted ceiling soars overhead and is punctuated by a series of exposed rafter ties. Deep-hued reclaimed lumber lines the walls.
Laurel brought the hand-painted silk table runner and the chairs with heart-shaped cutouts from France. Interior designer Christina Salway matched Laurel's French country aesthetic with the rustic dining table. With its many windows and amalgam of country and Gothic-inspired furnishings, this central room is luminous, grand, and nostalgic.
The bronze cherub between the armchairs was a gift from Laurel's mother. Laurel also added the vintage glass chandelier, candle holder in the corner, and hand-embroidered vintage fabric hangings on the walls and windows (she personally carried these silk tapestries and stoles back from France).
Our crew crafted the built-in minibar with a custom slab countertop. Laurel contributed the antique French pottery and figurines from her personal collection, and Christina brought in the vintage Smeg fridge. All the candles in the treehouse are flameless.
Off the right side of the central room is an expansive full bathroom, replete with a custom sink counter, vintage French buffet and wall tapestry, toilet, and custom acrylic bathtub (it only weighs 80 pounds!). The bathroom will also include a shower - it was pending installation when Pete took these photos. The crew painted the wainscoting red and applied "Richlite" - a durable, but light, material made from paper- to the floor.
Laurel sourced the reclaimed stained glass windows on either side of the tub from a church in Chicago. The cheery yellow of the tub was pulled from the colors in the stained glass.
Back across the central space is the cozy bedroom. Windows line the walls, framing sweeping views of the river below. Soft lighting comes from antique candle sconces.
The back deck provides another spectacular vista of the river - it's the ideal spot to relax and watch the sun slip below the cypress canopy.
The second cypress cuts through the back deck, reminding visitors to appreciate the grand trees that host Chapelle.
The three other treehouses at the retreat will nest near Chapelle. Each has a distinct theme, but remain united by their overarching atmosphere of romance, intimacy, and magic. The names of the coming three are Bibliotheque, Carousel, and Chateau. Stay tuned as we bring you updates on their progress and availability for reservations.
We hope you've enjoyed exploring Chapelle at Treehouse Utopia.
You can take a look at the prefabrication process behind Chapelle in this blog post.