Carpenter branches out with treehouse business

Robin Wood puts the finishing touches to his latest creation; below, his pirate ship treehouse. Picture: Neil Hanna

Robin Wood puts the finishing touches to his latest creation; below, his pirate ship treehouse. Picture: Neil Hanna

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A CARPENTER who turns trees into art installations is rooting out a new career – building leafy homes.

Robin Wood, from East Linton, has launched a business creating elaborate treehouses and dreams of building one big enough for his family to live in.

The 45-year-old father-of-three has already built one for his own children – and was enlisted to develop another with a Dragons’ Den star.

Kelly Hoppen, an interior designer who has been a “Dragon” on the BBC Two show since last year, asked Robin to help her construct a quirky pirate ship treehouse for the Yule family in Arbroath.

Robin said: “I was flown down to London to go over the designs with Kelly, and from there I had three weeks from start to finish to complete the job.

“It involved an incredible amount of work developing each piece, and the Yule family had asked for several details they wanted to see, including a crow’s nest, pullies and a trap-door for an easy escape.

“I lost quite a lot of sleep over it, but it was so much fun to create.”

A former forester, Robin has spent the last eight years as an artist, creating installations for the likes of Edinburgh Zoo and the Woodland Trust.

He has also featured on The One Show making stir-fry with nothing but a chainsaw, and his work on Bronze Age sea crafts has been investigated on Channel 4’s Time Team.

Robin’s new business, Wildchild Designs, is already up and running.

He made the Arbroath treehouse in his East Lothian workshop before it was carted up to the Angus town to give ten-year-old Benjamin Yule the surprise of his life.

He said that launching the venture had been a long time coming.

“This is something I’d actually been thinking about for a long time,” he said. “I’ve always been fascinated by treehouses.

“It’s a house in a tree, they must be the most romantic thing in the world.

“So I decided that it was time to make a business out of it.”

Benjamin’s mum, Jane Yule, said her family had been amazed by the quality of Robin’s work, which now takes pride of place in their garden.

The 40-year-old said: “I’d never seen anything like it in my entire life.

“Benjamin had been asking us for a treehouse for three years, and so after all this time he never expected anything like this.”

Robin is now dreaming up other quirky ideas for tree houses, including spaceship designs to woodland dens.

And should the business kick on, he’ll have no shortage of interest should he expand operations.

“Every carpenter I know is queuing up wanting to get in on this,” he said.

“And it’s not hard to see why – making treehouses for a living has got to be every kid’s dream.”