Joel Allen built what many would call an ideal mountain retreat. The HemLoft is a small, albeit stunning, egg-shaped cabin in the trees of Whistler. Allen is not in construction. Nor is he an architect. He is a software engineer who fell on some hard times in 2009, taught himself carpentry, and fashioned himself a secret treehouse fully supported by the sole tree he built it around.
Allen searched for two months before he found his ideal location about five minutes from the nearest road—close enough to reach, but far enough to escape signs of human existence for a while—with a view that would make developers drool.
During the three-month construction period, he told Gizmag, he avoided attention by calling out a random name and looking for his “lost dog” when the occasional person wandered into the woods. And large materials were brought to the location in pieces during early hours of the morning. Upon completion, he and his girlfriend have been spending their summers in there, compensating for the lack of electricity and running water by showering in nearby rivers and streams.
Unfortunately, there is one issue that could send him packing, forcing him to leave his carefully tempered abode behind. He’s kept mum about the specific location, because the HemLoft was built on government-owned land without permission. After his desire to share overtook his reservations about going public, he agreed to submit his story to Dwell Magazine where is became a featured article. The response was, not surprisingly, immediate.
While he welcomes visitors, he leaves it to them to find the place. Acutely aware that his home may not always be viewed favorably, he is currently considering options like turning it into a public campsite or making the HemLoft into the subject of a geocatching treasure hunt.
Check out the following video for a peak inside Allen’s masterpiece: