Pete Nelson immediately apologizes for calling late to talk about his appearance at the 31st Annual Fresno Home & Garden Show. It had taken far longer to shoot a segment for his Animal Planet cable series, “Treehouse Masters,” in Lynchburg, Va., than had been planned.
“I was dressed as Thomas Jefferson. I just do whatever I am told to do. I always say yes to these things,” Nelson says.
It’s his willingness to have fun and his knowledge of building showplace structures in the trees that has made Nelson and his cable series so popular. He will be sharing some of that knowledge during his local appearance. His seminars are free with admission to the Fresno Home & Garden Show, or there’s a Golden Ticket that can be purchased for a reserved seat and a place in his meet and greet. Golden Tickets are available at www.fresnoshows.com.
He will have a lot to share as Nelson has been working in trees for three decades, mostly through Nelson Treehouse and Supply. Nelson and his wife, Judy, also own and operate Treehouse Point in Washington state, a retreat featuring a half dozen treehouses for guests to rent.
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Earning the reputation as the best treehouse builder in the world took time.
“It’s been a long journey for me since I had my first epiphany in 1987 that I wanted to be the treehouse guy. That is a night I will never forget,” Nelson says.
His passion was sparked by being part of his first treehouse build when he was 7. Nelson admits that it was his father that did most of the work, but the fact that he ended up with a space that felt like it was his alone stayed with him.
Nelson, to the joy of his parents, had just graduated from Colorado College with a degree in economics. But Nelson was certain that if he worked on Wall Street “they would eat my lunch.”
What he had was an aptitude for working with his hands. That’s when Nelson hit on the idea of being the treehouse guy. It was certainly a market where there would not be a lot of competition. Despite the field being so wide open, Nelson spent several years with his feet on the ground building traditional housing.
“During that time I worked hard to make my dream of becoming a treehouse builder a reality,” Nelson says.
He not only started his company that became the basis for his TV series but also produced the coffee-table books “Treehouses of the World” and “Treehouses: The Art and Craft of Living out on a Limb.” His latest book, “Be in a Treehouse,” includes the technical aspects of building in the trees along with showcasing treehouses from all over the world.
Nelson brings the background and knowledge but he points to the clients as being the real spark behind each design. He listens to what they want and then adapts his plans.
“I really enjoy so many parts of what I do but the collaboration with the client is one of my favorite things,” Nelson says. “Then together with the crew, this great group of crafts people who take so much pride in the work, we create what that client wants.”
Nelson has built treehouses in many shapes and sizes. He’s been able to accommodate almost every idea the client has had. Even with 30 years of knowledge, Nelson couldn’t come up with a way to make a child’s request of a bowling alley in the treehouse a reality.
31st Annual Fresno Home & Garden Show
- March 3-5
- Fresno Fairgrounds, 1121 S. Chance Ave.
Pete Nelson’s schedule
- March 4: 11:30 a.m. Nelson’s presentation with Q&A; 12:30 p.m. Nelson’s meet and greet (150 attendees only); 3 p.m. Nelson’s presentation with Q&A; 4 p.m. Nelson’s meet and greet (150 attendees only)
- March 5: Noon Nelson’s presentation with Q&A; 1 p.m. Nelson’s meet and greet (150 attendees only); 3:30 p.m. Nelson’s presentation with Q&A; 4:30 p.m. Nelson’s meet and greet (150 attendees only)