The Hooch

"Out of the box, and above it all"

"World's Greatest Treehouse"- Travel Channel

The hooch is an evolutionary, revolutionary building system that turns archtectural conventions on its head. It stands on a single point, and maintains its balance by a web of cables to the surrounding trees. The foundation is minimal. In fact, the hooch holds the record for the smallest foundation of any land based building. The advantage? Minimal disruption of the site, and environment; quick and economical construction (no foundation); and easy dismantling, in the event that the hooch is moved. The hooch is an ideal structure for a place of respite in an environmentally sensitive area. I built a 10' by 10' version for a friend along a riverbank. The site did not lose one fern, a species abundant in the understory of the forest.

The treehouse requires no special engineering, or architectural design to fit in a particular tree. It stands among the trees, and relies on them for support. It is intimately entwined with the trees, and yet does no damage or requires any alteration of the site. The design has been worked out for quick and accurate pre-fabrication of the components- away from the site. Quickly assembled and situated at the site, the hooch is raised up by a pulley system and secured -perfectly level.
An architectural gem, the triangular shape maintains rigidity, yet is free to move about its foundation , flexing as a unit. The redundant cable system is self correcting- any stress or distortion is quickly relieved back to the original position.
As a place of respite, the hooch served its purpose well- whether in the backyard, or along a mountain stream. It is safe, secure, and above it all.
After a warm reception of every hooch I've built, I now offer plans, kits, and complete construction services for everyone. I have plans and specs for a 6' by 6 , 8' by 8', and 10' by 10' version (floor area). Our 6' by 6' backyard hooch served well in our backyard of a rental house. Last year, we moved to our new mortgaged house. The hooch proved itself as a ephemeral architectural gem. It was dismantled, and moved in a few days. It now has its place among a grove of douglas fir trees, with a killer view of Mt. Ashland. Check out these other sites for even more perspective on the hooch.
A Path to Ecotectural Awareness- the Hooch
Sleeping Amongst Bamboos (El Nueva Dia article)
Life in the Sustainable Treetops - Metropolis magazine
Up, up, and away (Homelife magazine)



Hooch News:

The hooch finally made it to Burning Man- the wild celebration in the Nevada desert. See pics here

The bamboo and sustainability workshop was a resounding success, and a springboard for many more. Our talented particpants made a variety of bamboo artifacts and came away with a new appreciation of what can be done with bamboo. The evenings were magical- from the dicovery of "firefox", a glowing fungus in the bamboo leaves on Friday, to Jons' magic show on Saturday. Magha created a delicious vegetarian menu, and we all made new friends. Great weekend, indeed. You can see pics at my Facebook site here

Our "Glamping Resort" is featured in an article on See it here

We had the pleasure of hosting four new friends, one of which is a certified Puerto Rico artisan of bamboo. See a slideshow of his stuff (Here). Veronica, the one with the camera, made a wonderful slideshow of their experience- a treat! See it (Here). Thanks Veronica!

My friend Fernando stopped by for an impromptu video session. Check it out on his blog here

GLAMPING: noun, first used in 2005, : glamorous camping! That pretty much describes a stay in our sunset hooch. Sleep on a queen size bed up in the trees with a killer view of the Caribbean sea. Added amenities include a fully equipped kitchenette, a separate bathroom hooch with flush toilet, 12 volt solar electricity: it is certainly glamorous camping. With 12 acres of towering bamboo and tropical hardwood forest to explore, you may never want to leave! To read more about this latest trend in adventure travel, go here and here

As a 3D design enthusiast, I've used Googles' Sketchup software to design almost all the stuff I've built lately- hooches, additions, bamboo furniture, art. These are all catalogued and available for your viewing at the Googles' 3D Warehouse, where designers from all over the world can display their stuff. You can see my collection here .

Soon, the largest concentration of hooches will be at the Reserva Del Rio Bigal- on the Eastern slope of the Andes- in Ecuador. The website is: here. The project is to preserve the unique biosphere (most bird species anywhere on Earth, etc.) through eco-tourism. Graduates of our hooch seminar have a standing invitation to help build the new rain forest hooches- with food and lodging provided.

I just have to add the"1968 world surfing championships" video to this section, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the event. A classic clip with killer surf music. Check it out at:

The hooch treehouse has planted itself on St. John, U.S.V.I. The project was completed in May, 2008, and features roof water collection, gravity feed kitchette sink with solar hot water, totally screened in bedroom, and 110 electricity from the main house. Local bamboo was incorporated into the final product as plant hangers, rooftop water containment, a chandelier, lamps, counter supports, and a bamboo bed. See the pics on FlickR: here - then click on "slideshow"

While setting up the FlickR slide show presentation, I ran across another presentation from a fun bunch of guests in July, 2007. Looks like they had a pretty good time, and they certainly captured the feel of the Treehouse. Check it out here And, again, click on "slideshow"

Our treehouse and its unique architectural style is showcased in a new book, Spacecraft. Fleeting architecture and Hideouts, edited by Lukass Feireiss.

I could not resist sharing this e-mail from a pair of recent Sunset hooch dwellers, Ron & Nicole:

"I just wanted to thank you for an unbelievable time in the Sunset
Hooch in December. Nicole and I really loved it and still can't stop
talking about it. Not only is the actual hooch great, but you do a
fantastic job of making a truly fun and special experience. We
certainly would like to make it back at some point, and will certainly
be in touch when the opportunity arises."

Draft Magazine, a beer enthusiasts kind of magazine, included our treehouse as one of their "top ten places to drink a beer"- in the new winter issue. Other places in the top ten: The Swiss Alps, Zermatt, Switzerland; the great barrier reef marine park, Queensland, Australia; US route 66, Billabong Pipeline Masters, Oahu, Hawaii; Elephant Polo World Championships, Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal. (we've shared the spotlight with some pretty exotic company, but this is over the top- like the foam on your beer)

Our new entry page was sketched by Ms. Shari Deboer while visiting the treehouse this past spring. You can see more of her fine work on her website, I have a collection of more of her sketches from her treehouse visit here . Very nice indeed!

How to Build with Bamboo (Gibbs-Smith Publishing, January, 2005) A book by Jo Scheer with 20 bamboo projects you can do, from simple candle holders to the fine bamboo lamps that light up our tropical treehouse. Order the book through Amazon or your local bookstore.

Scooter (who stayed here for a season) has a webpage - lots of stuff- pics from being a bush pilot in alaska to hanging out at the treehouse

 A new, all bamboo hooch has been built on the grounds of the Firestone Restorative Ecology Center in Costa Rica. See the pics and story in the hooch section.

Also, check out the new Flash slide show of the many hooches that have planted themselves on this earth.

An informal hooch/treehouse/bamboo blog has been born at: The Bamboo Treehouse . I'll throw out some inspired thoughts and news about bamboo, the hooch, and how to use these tools to live lightly on this Earth.

This is appropriate. Linda Garland, of the Environmental Bamboo Foundation, has devised a Carbon credit calculator that relates your carbon consumption to carbon sequestration by a grove of bamboo. Bamboo can sequester 60 tons of carbon dioxide/acre/year (compared to 12 tons/acre/year for a tree forest). With a modest calculation of our 12 acre forest/bamboo plantation, we are sequestering well over 300 tons of carbon dioxide per year. Subtract my family expenditure of 15 tons/year, and we have a surplus of 285 tons of carbon sequestration! Feel free to subtract your carbon expense for flying to Puerto Rico, about 2 tons per 1000 miles- we have plenty to spare. Check out the calculator @

A new hooch was erected in Sonoma, near Geyserville, in the summer of 2005. Overlooking a pond amidst a grove of douglas fir and oak, the hooch fit very snugly. The new owners, George and Yvonne, love it, and they said so, for the DIY network that documented the very exciting installation process. The show aired in July, 2006. The hooch will compliment a new custom built, environmentally sensitive house designed by Darrel Deboer. Check out this link:

Deboer architects

September, 2005 - A new timber-frame hooch design is introduced. The complete hooch is built using dimensional lumber only. No poles needed! And, the ultimate hooch, a 12' by 12', is also available, either as a pole design or timber framed. See "Details and Specs" below.

October, 2005 - The hooch "lite" version of the bamboo hooch was erected at Mercer Arboretum this fall for the American Bamboo Society annual meeting, October 20-22, 2005. (See the pic)Meanwhile, a full size, 8' by 8' hooch was erected on the banks of the Little River for Kinder Chambers - president of the Texas Bamboo Society. With help from Kinder, Pete Fust (, and Mary Len, the hooch was completed on schedule, October 28, 2005. See the pic

November/December, 2005 - A six week building project was completed on the Tropical Treehouse grounds. A new 8' by 8' hooch was erected, next to the newly tiled and renovated soaking tub (formerly a cattle watering tub). A new Flash slide show of the new hooch, and all the other abodes at the Tropical Treehouse can be seen here . (turn up the volume, and view with a full screen)

February/March, 2006 - A total immersion CAD learning session was conducted under the tutorship of one Darrel Deboer. Though barely scratching the surface of computer drawing, we managed to produce a CAD version of a proposed all bamboo hooch to be erected in Costa Rica. Subsequently, a trip to Costa Rica, under the auspices of Rancho Mastatal , The Firestone Center for Restorative Ecology , and Darrel Deboer , produced the completed, first ever all bamboo hooch. With a floor area of 12' by 12', it is also the largest hooch ever built. For a brief pictorial summation of the experience, check out the pics here .

April, 2006 - A feasiblity study has been initiated for the hooch as a possible safe dwelling for residents of areas susceptible to tsunamis. The recent tsunami disaster, and the likelihood of future tsunamis, has generated research among relief organizations as to how to best rebuild the devastated areas of Indonesia and prevent or at least ameliorate the damage of inevitable future tsunamis. The "Tsunami Ark" uses local bamboo to build tsunami resilient hooches high above the potential wave. The porous nature of the hooch pole structure, and a breakaway foundation will allow the hooch structures to dissipate the energy of the wave, and ride the wave.

see the proposed structure here

Check out the websites at:


July, 2006 - A return visit to Sid & Eileen Erickson's hooch in Venice Beach, CA was a successful retrofit. The previous poles, B. beechyana, had a major infection of bamboo beetles- an infection that the high starch content of the species provokes. Otherwise, it is a strong, straight, and available bamboo (we harvested the poles from the Jerry Bruckheimer estate in Brentwood). After three years, though still strong, the bamboo was clearly deteriorated. Each pole was replaced with certified, sustainably harvested Douglar fir poles from Southern Oregon. The replacement process was completed in less than two weeks, with plenty of time to bike the beach, and enjoy a multitude of other activities. A great time. Some pics of the renovation can be seen here.

July , 2006- The hooch was featured on the DIY network. The program. Assembly Required, features pre-fabricated buildings, and the hooch as a pre-fabricated treehouse. The new Sonoma hooch, the Eugene hooch, and our backyard hooch factory all were included in the video sessions.

August, 2007- Verana resort,, has launched an ambitious project utilyzing the hooch concept for their employee housing. Overlooking the bay on the Pcific coast of Mexico, they are building a complex of five hooches- three for private residence, one for communal kitchen, and one for the communal bathroom. All this is conected via aboveground walkways. See the pictures of the construction they have taken so far here

September, 2007 - I ran across this cool service. It is a map of some, not all, of the places the hooch has planted itself. Go ahead, explore.

Flash Slide Show (for all the true believers out there)- hooches from all over the world


I'd be happy to answer any and all inquiries. E-mail me at:

More Hooch Pics

The hooch manual

Details and Specs

Pricing and Ordering

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