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May 26, 1995 - Image 82

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-05-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Su namer
pleasures

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COME JOIN THE EXPERTS, including Chefs Milos Cihelka, Jimmy Schmidt (his Rattlesnake
Club was chosen as Detroit Monthlv's 1995 Restaurant of the Year). Peter Loren and Lorraine
Platman; authors Fred and Linda Griffith and Maggie Oster; Master Sommelier Madeline
Triffon; and Bob Campbell and Robert Plantenberg of the Robert Mondavi Winery.

An exciting day Wood, wine and culinary wisdom including Seminars,
Wine Tastings, Cigar Selections, Urban Marketplace, Grand Tasting & more.

Prelude to a Classic Strolling Dinner
to introduce the Chuck Muer
Culinary Resource Library program
June 20th - S50 per person.
Culinary Classic
(Full Day) June 24th - $125 per person.

OAKLAND
COMMUNITY
COLLEGE

Prelude Dinner and Culinary Classic Package
- S150 per person.

Grand Tasting
only - $65 per person.

Susan Muer
C.A. Muer Corp.

/995 Chairperson

For seminar & event schedules & ticket information, please call

810-471-6340

Proceeds from this event benefit the new Chuck Muer Culinary Resource Library
and the Oakland Community College Culinary Program.

Major Sponsors: Aramark, C.A. Muer Co., Northwest Airlines, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Thermador, Detroit Monthly
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and a special thanks to Hudson's.

On the grounds of OCC Orchard Ridge Campus, Orchard Lake Rd. & 1-696

16 • SUMMER 1996 • STYLE

Treehouse Offers
Place To Dream

GLENDA WINDERS SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

Every kid with an imagination
has wished for a private spot
that could be a fort, a hideout,
a castle, a jungle outpost, a
spaceship. For many children,
that special place is a retreat cra-
dled in the arms of a friendly
tree.
A treehouse is a place where
a child can disappear on a sum-
mer afternoon with a bag of ap-
ples and a book, or huddle with
friends, away from inquisitive
parents and annoying younger
siblings.
Often it satisfies a child's
longings for a place to think and
dream — a child's first home.
Yesterday's kids are today's
parents, and many of them re-
member their childhood hide-
aways or the dreams they had of
a place they could call their own.
Often, they call on their mem-
ories and dreams to create
havens for their own children, as
did these three families.
For Paul, a history professor,
the idea for building a treehouse
for his daughter Natasha began
with memories from his own
childhood in Boston.
"My father was a builder, and
there were always scraps of wood
around," he said. "My brother
and I and our friends were con-
stantly building things, but they
were out in the woods. Our par-
ents didn't know where they
were or where we were."
Paul wanted the one he built
for his daughter to be a quintes-
sential storybook model, but
sturdier, safer and closer to home
than the ones he remembered
from his youth.
He began by studying the
available trees in his back yard.
The eucalyptus wouldn't work,
he decided, because its shallow
root system could cause it to top-
ple in a storm. The branches on
the pine wouldn't support the
weight of the construction he had
in mind. Finally he selected the
Chinese elm.
'This is a hardwood tree with
deep roots," he said, "and it's not
going to go anywhere."
The branches lend them-

selves to being pruned and
sculpted to envelop the treehouse
and render it almost invisible,
he added.
From the beginning, the tree
dictated the kind of structure
Paul would build.
"I spent the greatest amount
of time looking at the tree, try-
ing to figure out what would
work and what would look nice,"
he said. "You can't make it any
bigger or any different shape
from what the tree wants.
"The dimensions are deter-
mined by the configuration of the
branches. How high up it's going
to be, which direction it's going
to face — all gets determined by
the way the tree looks."
He settled on a structure that
is about 10 feet by 5 feet and nes-
tles in the fork of the tree's
branches. The trunk goes
through the roof, lending sup-
port to the main ceiling beam. In
the unlikely event the branches
below were to give way, the
house would continue to "hang"
in the tree. The house is lashed
to the tree with plastic rope
(since hemp would rot and fray),
and spots where it might rub
and cause damage to the tree are
protected with pieces of rubber.
Paul built the house himself,
mostly out of scrap lumber. He
kept careful records of his expen-
ditures; the whole house cost $450.
"Treehouse purists say buy as
little as possible and use what's
around the house," he said.
"When you buy, measure care-
fully so there isn't much left over
and you don't waste anything."
For the platform, which is 13
feet off the ground, he started
with a discarded piece of wood
on which his wife, an artist, had
planned to paint a mural.
"The real trick was to get it
level, because the branches be-
low aren't of equal thickness," he
said. "I had to imagine which
ones would sag more and which
less to get a level floor."
He solved the problem by
wedging beams between the
floor and the branch.
TREEHOUSE page 18

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