what is Natural state treehouses?
Based in Northwest Arkansas, Natural State Treehouses Inc. specializes in custom play structures, swingsets, and treehouses for children and adults. We believe that everyone needs a place to play outside, to connect with nature and their own imaginations, and to escape from the world for a while.
Here are a few things that set us apart:
Whether it's a swingset with a tower and slide, a writer's retreat in the trees, or a life-size doll house that matches the design of your home, the best designs come out of conversation. We'll sit (and draw) with you until we find the perfect design to fit your needs.
We only use the best regionally sourced cedar and cypress lumber. Why? Because it lasts, it looks beautiful, and it's naturally resistant to the elements without chemical preservatives found in pressure treated wood - chemicals that can leach arsenic and other harmful substances on to your hands and into your soil. Plus, we just don't like the idea of using redwood lumber shipped from California. We also use non-toxic, environmentally-friendly paints and stains. Read more about the durability and sustainability of cypress here.
All too often, we see playsets that are poorly constructed and poorly installed, often creating unsafe environments for kids. Our work is done in the old style, using time-tested standards of true craftsmanship. Our structures are safe and are meant to last.
how we got started
Natural State Treehouses Inc. is owned by Josh and Kate Hart. Our roots are here in Arkansas: We both graduated from Fayetteville High School, married here in 2001, earned history degrees from Hendrix College the next year, and after a brief stint living out of state, returned to Northwest Arkansas to start a family. Josh learned carpentry from his father, but before it became his career, he worked as a brewing and hydroponics expert, a landscaper, and a manager at the local performing arts center, while Kate spent several years teaching preschool and elementary, then wrote grants and designed marketing materials for a nonprofit organization.
For Christmas in 2010, we wanted to surprise our two little boys with a brand new playset. We quickly discovered that most commercial sets are flimsy, expensive, and made of wood imported from other countries. With Santa's arrival imminent, we settled for a used playset from Craiglist, but the real gift was the question our oldest son asked: "Is this playset recycled?" The idea for Natural State Treehouses was born. Combining Josh’s carpentry and management experience with Kate’s early childhood education and design training, we launched the business in spring of 2011, starting in our own backyard.
Since then, we’ve built over 100 structures, everywhere from homes, neighborhood parks, and local schools to venues like the Amazeum, Lake Atalanta Park, and Ozark Folkways. Josh personally designs and helps build every project, while Kate maintains the business's internet outposts, writes books for kids, and sells fiber arts and woodworking (made with treehouse scrap wood). In our spare time, we like to travel, visit museums, and hike with our dog, Norbert.
We’re lucky to call on the skills of several local carpenters:
Over the years, we’ve also been grateful for the work of Clay Fecht, Joshua Walters, Gavin Smith, Jake Bontrager, Kale Ogle, Luke Knox, Nick Cerra, and Connor Smith.