Now that’s a Treehouse

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John Colliander of West Glacier built the spiral staicase for this treehouse that will be featured on the DIY Network next week.

A West Glacier man played a part in a treehouse project that will soon be featured on the DIY network show, “The Treehouse Guys.”

Builder John Colliander of Treeworks Log and Timberframe Construction, made the 18-foot wooden spiral staircase for a treehouse the show staffers built with homeowners Darin Robison and Kati O’Toole on their Dillon Road property.

Colliander began work on the staircase about a year ago, which is made of larch treads attached to an 80-plus-year-old Douglas fir Robison salvaged from his grandmother’s woods.

Colliander, 37, is a fourth-generation builder. He grew up in Polson and worked trail crew in Glacier National Park for several years before striking out on his own. Trail crews make do with what’s around them, and Colliander brings that style to his own work.

“In trail crew, we use nature to accomplish our building needs,” he said.

He designed the staircase using a freeware program from Google. The four-foot treads are hewn from his own small sawmill and attached to the Doug fir with 1-inch, 6 1/2-foot bolts.

He used a four-foot long drill bit to make the holes and crafted the mortise and tenon joints with a chainsaw.

The end result is a staircase that looks like something out of Lord of the Rings.

Colliander also milled the siding for the treehouse as well. It will be featured on the DIY network on May 16 at 3 p.m. and then as a re-run after that.

O’Toole said eventually the couple would like to have three treehouses on their property as vacation rentals.

“The treehouse has all the amenities of a luxury rental up the trees in your own private area,” O’Toole said.

The couple is still completing some of the interior and finish work and is in the process of getting the necessary county approvals for a water supply system for the structure. They hope to open by this fall, she said.

The house is supported by several Ponderosa pine trees as well as other timber beam supports.

Colliander, meanwhile, is onto his next project. He said he plans on spending the summer living in a tepee with his wife, Michele, and their sons Mason, 9, and Miles, 7, while he works on a home up the North Fork on a plot of land they recently purchased.

View more about the treehouse at: http://www.montanatreehouseretreat.com

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