An accomplished woodworker, Barnhart dreamed of building a treehouse - but not one of the scrapped-together versions the word conjures up in most people's minds.Full story here.
The cozy little cottage he was envisioning would put the Swiss Family Robinson to shame, with two staircases, built-in closets and cabinets, a wet bar, high-quality insulated windows, water and electricity, cable TV and a rooftop patio - not to mention table service for six.
And instead of climbing a ladder from the ground, his treehouse would be accessible by a soaring footbridge, connected to the deck of his home some 65 feet away across a ravine.
It was a level of difficulty that would keep Barnhart grappling with his tree through five years of labor, some $12,000 to $15,000 in materials and many harrowing moments on ladders.
"It would have been difficult to build this thing on the ground, let alone in a tree," he said with obvious relish. "There were times I was nearly hanging by my toenails trying to get the right angle to drive a nail."
At 61, having just retired from a job as a social worker, Des Moines resident Jack Barnhart decided to build his retirement home—40 feet in the air:
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