CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today click here

Interiors: living the high life

PUBLISHED: 10:39 10 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:39 10 July 2017

As well as the house itself, there is The Nest, the wedding venue linked to the tree house by a wooden walkway

As well as the house itself, there is The Nest, the wedding venue linked to the tree house by a wooden walkway

Matt Austin

When it comes to enjoying a spectacular view over the Devon countryside, the only way is up. Chrissy Harris visits a clever tree top house, built with romance in mind...

Living on the ground is great and everything but it can get a bit flat.

Don’t you ever just want to take to the trees, sit in a hot tub with a glass of Champers and gaze at the stars?

The thought crossed my mind while looking around Tree Top Escape, a seriously special house perched six-metres up, overlooking 32 acres of hills, woodland and meadows on the Millbrook Estate in North Devon.

The eco-friendly hideaway in High Bickington is the height of luxury, built with all mod-cons, including under floor heating and mood lighting.

This is definitely not the kind of treehouse your dad once offered to build with a few planks of wood and a bit of tarpaulin.

The details at Tree Top Escape have been carefully consideredThe details at Tree Top Escape have been carefully considered

“It’s a bit different, isn’t it?” says owner Bob Boothby. “Those views – that’s what get people.”

It’s true. The landscape hits you like a branch in the face as soon as you walk in: the woods, the wildlife, it’s beautiful even in the rain. What a top spot.

“We didn’t actually realise the view was here,” says Bob, 56. “It was only when the build progressed and we were getting higher off the ground that the view just kept getting better and better.”

Bob came up with the idea of Tree Top Escape as part of a plan to create the ultimate place to tie the knot.

He and wife Kate, 36, have spent the past 12 years steadily building up a successful wedding venue business on the Millbrook Estate, where they live with children Iszi, four and Louie, 19 months.

The details at Tree Top Escape have been carefully consideredThe details at Tree Top Escape have been carefully considered

They have already converted other buildings into profitable accommodation for guests and holidaymakers but former telecommunications business owner Bob was on the lookout for a fresh challenge. Inspiration came, as all the best ideas do, during the wee small hours.

“Kate woke up in the middle of the night and wrote down on a piece of paper: runaway weddings. That was it,” says Bob, who wanted to create a haven for a more intimate do; a place to rival Gretna Green and Las Vegas for couples who wanted to tie the knot on their own or with a few onlookers but who were looking for a little luxury, too.

Where better than a house in the trees?

Once they had the idea, Bob and Kate trawled the country, staying in other treehouses, working out what worked and what didn’t before starting to create their own version.

“I said to Kate that I wouldn’t get involved with the build,” says Bob, who moved to this quiet corner of North Devon from Somerset to semi-retire and relax after a bout of ill health.

Each room has been tastefully decorated, all with luxury in mind.  Bob says he and Kate are sticklers for detail: �We couldn�t have stopped until we had it the way we wanted it,� he saysEach room has been tastefully decorated, all with luxury in mind. Bob says he and Kate are sticklers for detail: �We couldn�t have stopped until we had it the way we wanted it,� he says

“Kate was pregnant with our second child and she didn’t want me to have the extra stress. I made a promise that I wouldn’t get involved.”

“Yes, and then he broke that promise!” says Kate, explaining how Bob had to step in when the build started to go drastically wrong.

When all of the furniture, fixtures and fittings didn’t turn up, the couple spent a frantic two weeks trying to organise replacements.

“The local people here – the tradesmen – were absolutely fantastic,” says Bob.

“Steve Galliver, the carpenter up the road, made quite a few things within two days. Other people worked weekends or late into the night, sometimes until 2am to get it ready. It was incredible and we’ll always be grateful.”

Bob came up with the idea of Tree Top Escape as part of a plan to create the ultimate place to tie the knotBob came up with the idea of Tree Top Escape as part of a plan to create the ultimate place to tie the knot

The first wedding was booked for 17 July 2016. And when was Tree Top Escape finished?

“Er... 17th July!” says Bob (cue much hilarity around the office). It’s ok to laugh now because everything has worked out so well.

Tree Top Escape been pretty much fully booked ever since, with couples clamouring to get hitched up high.

As well as the house itself, there is The Nest, the wedding venue linked to the tree house by a wooden walkway and a separate room overlooking the fields where the bride and groom can have a pre or post-nuptial cream tea.

“We took 21 bookings on the first day we put the details on the website,” says Kate. “We just had a little sketch and a video taken from a drone – that’s all we had. People booked without really having a clue what they were booking.”

Each room has been tastefully decorated, all with luxury in mind.  Bob says he and Kate are sticklers for detail: �We couldn�t have stopped until we had it the way we wanted it,� he saysEach room has been tastefully decorated, all with luxury in mind. Bob says he and Kate are sticklers for detail: �We couldn�t have stopped until we had it the way we wanted it,� he says

The website gives you an idea but it’s not until you arrive that you appreciate just how much thought and hard work has gone into making this house the perfect retreat.

“We still have more to do,” says Bob, who admits they budgeted £325,000 and spent more like £600,000.

“We’ve completed the first part of the snagging list, which is not bad going, but we still have another set of things to do.”

Bob and Kate are true perfectionists but I can’t see any snags up here– just a fabulous building, miles of open countryside and a hot tub. Treehouses don’t come much better than that.

Bob and Kate would like to thank their team at Millbrook, especially Lisa Avery and Collette Short.

Plenty of thought and hard work has gone into making this house the perfect retreatPlenty of thought and hard work has gone into making this house the perfect retreat

Bob says: “They spent many hours helping and providing support for the project. Without them, it would just not have been a success.”

To find out more, see treetopescape.co.uk

The Christmas trees:

The land just beneath Tree Top Escape is peppered with pine trees.

Plenty of thought and hard work has gone into making this house the perfect retreatPlenty of thought and hard work has gone into making this house the perfect retreat

“These are all of our ex-Christmas trees,” says Bob. “We’ve bought all sorts of different kinds over the years and just planted them. It’s incredible how big they’ve grown.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Devon Life

Yesterday, 12:51

Devon is made up of so many beautiful beaches and countryside treasures, we pick this week’s top 10 snaps… Has yours been featured?

Read more
Friday, October 13, 2017

Puppies can bring big life changes, bigger still if it’s a Bernese Mountain Dog, as Belinda Jones discovers

Read more
Friday, October 13, 2017

Devon Life has teamed up again with Mayne Gallery in our hunt for the Landscape Artist of the Year 2017

Read more
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Gather family and friends, wrap up warm and enjoy spectacular Bonfire Night celebrations across the county. We have chosen 10 of the best firework displays across Devon for you to enjoy

Read more
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Plan a day out exploring some of Devon’s prettiest flowers, lakes and sculptures at these gardens...

Read more
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

No one ever needs an excuse to indulge in a succulent beef patty with all the trimmings. In no particular order, we pick 10 of the best places in Devon for tasty burgers

Read more
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The weekend is fast approaching and for those still deciding how to spend their Friday through to Sunday, we pick five of the best ways to spend your weekend in Devon

Read more
Thursday, October 5, 2017

As the winter begins to close in, there’s nowhere better to take refuge than one of Devon’s many cosy pubs. Here are 9 you should look for when needing to escape the nippy British weather

Read more
Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Charming markets and late night shopping opportunities– it must be time for choosing Christmas presents in Devon! We bring you the festive goings-on from all over the county

Read more
Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you can’t beat a good ol’ English fry up. From blueberry pancakes to avocado on toast, we pick six of Exeter’s best places to indulge in a hearty brunch

Read more
Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Sunday lunch is an enduring British institution that’s incredibly important to get right. We’ve chosen 12 places in Devon that will guarantee sublime stuffing, mouth-watering meats and Yorkshire pudding perfection.

Read more
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Katherine Elliott visits the South Devon café keeping cream teas off the menu

Read more
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

You can’t beat settling down at a pub with a pint in your hand and your dog at your feet. Complete with idyllic countryside settings and cosy interiors, we pick 16 of the best dog-friendly pubs in Devon

Read more
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

From angry spirits to headless horses and ghoulish monks, Devon has more than a few supernatural stories to get your skin crawling. We have picked 11 haunted places in the county

Read more
 
Pure Weddings advert link
 
South West Life advert link
 
A+ South & South West
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad
Devon Life Application Link


Local Business Directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search