When most people think of waterfront property, they see heaven on Earth. Who wouldn’t want to live right next to the water, waking up to that view each and every morning? It’s almost as if you’re on an endless vacation!
That’s certainly true of the “Levitating Lighthouse” near Seattle, Washington. Its location and beauty makes it seem like a desirable place… but the house poses some serious risks for potential homeowners that you wouldn’t notice upon first glance. Could you live somewhere as crazy as this?
Pete Nelson, treehouse builder and host of the reality TV series Treehouse Masters, knows a thing or two about offbeat homes. Pete (right); his son, Henry (left); and the rest of his team explore amazing treehouse construction projects.
Lwp Kommunikáció / Flickr
In one particular episode, Pete detailed a project he built himself, called the Levitating Lighthouse. The small hideaway in a beautiful wooded area near Seattle, Washington, might not have looked like much, but it was perfect for someone who wanted to get away and enjoy their solitude in the Pacific Northwest wilderness.
The ambitious project was commissioned by a former lawyer named Ronald Rae, whose primary residence was just north of Spokane, Washington. He wanted a special place to spend time in the summer, and he purchased the property in 2013 for $100,000!
That was when Pete and the Treehouse Masters team stepped in to get the Levitating Lighthouse project off the ground (so to speak). One of the most eye-catching elements of the rustic home isn’t actually all that obvious right away…
The structure had a unique water filtration system! If that sounds boring, it’s not: it actually collected rainwater and purified it to be safe and suitable for human consumption. While a major innovation, it wasn’t the only perk that came with this property…
The treehouse was also located nearby to Seattle proper and offered a ton of opportunities for salmon and crab fishing thanks to its seaside setting. After Treehouse Masters finished the project, Ronald decided to list the home on the market alongside other Seattle-area real estate for $475,000. Unfortunately, that was when things got dicey…
Initially, this home was a risky project for anyone who wanted to make a bid on it. For one, they would’ve had to pay all $475,000 for it in cash, since financing wasn’t available. More importantly, however, the city of Seattle was threatening to destroy it!
Why? Well, neither Ronald nor Pete had secured the proper permits to build the structure in the first place. In fact, the city of Seattle sued Ronald shortly after the episode of Treehouse Masters aired in 2014, ordering him to pay a $10,000 fine. Whoops…
Apparently, as much as treehouses have a reputation for being whimsical and childish luxuries, ones this advanced still had to contend with governmental regulation, just as any ordinary house would.
Seattle officials claimed that, because the “treehouse” in question was far more elaborate than a typical treehouse you may find in a back yard, it couldn’t be exempt from abiding by building codes.
The fact that the 280-square-foot building was so close to the water—not to mention, on such a steep hill—didn’t help, either. In 1996, not far from where the Levitating Lighthouse stood, a number of homes in the town of Magnolia were destroyed in a terrible landslide (pictured).
United States Geological Survey
As cool as the Levitating Lighthouse was, there were a lot of other drawbacks that made it unsuitable for a functional home. You’d have to be active and healthy to visit, because even after you make the exhausting trek to get there, you’d still have to climb a ladder and scale a steep hill to enter!
Another possible deal-breaker? This treehouse didn’t have a bathroom! Despite its advanced water filtration system, indoor plumbing was another matter entirely that may have been too complex for such a small building.
That wasn’t all; the Levitating Lighthouse didn’t have electricity or heating, either! If you wanted to visit, you’d definitely have to make sure your phone was charged and you had plenty to read. You might as well not visit during the winter at all!
Despite the fact that the structure was unsuitable to be a permanent residence, it really was a remarkable piece of architecture in its own right. Anyone would be lucky to spend time relaxing in it, even if it was just for a few hours.
Thankfully, Ronald was able to work out his permit issues with the city, because the treehouse was finally back on the market… and for just $139,000! Not only was that a fraction of the previous price, but it was a real bargain for Seattle real estate, too.
Even if it wasn’t for everybody, one could still take the time to appreciate something so creative, innovative, and charming. Could you live with all the quirks of this amazing home? Check it out!
Hopefully, everyone involved is able to keep this treehouse standing for as long as possible. It’s too special to waste!
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