As of August 28, the tree-fort has been red-tagged after an anonymous neighbor reported the structure to the Marin Planning Commission. http://savethewinnbrotherstreefort.weebly.com
Check out our video update on the status of the Winn Brothers Treefort Here:
Living on a hillside pitch in an old grove of Redwood trees has it’s problems. There are no flat areas on our property. It also has it’s advantages, like tree forts. It's an enchanting forest. Mark bought the house as a bachelor but I quickly un-bachelored him and we live here with our two amazing little boys, Liam and Laszlo.
The very next logical step after one has two children, is to build them a treefort. Mark grew up working alongside his family which built their family home and a grandfather that would tackle any building project. He began designing a treefort that would be strong and beautiful, just like our boys.
Built upon an old deck behind our home, Mark reinforced the foundation with two, 36 inch deep cement piers and also tied in the fort to two pre-existing redwood stumps, most likely cut down in the 70s. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ON SAFETY AND CONSTRUCTION. We've been siding it with reclaimed redwood fencing on a 45 degree angle for added shear strength. It fits into the neighborhood aesthetic. With the tree fort and it’s underbelly, serving most likely, as a storage shed nearly 75% finished, we are left with few options.
We could dismantle the treefort piece by piece and try to relocate to other place adhering to the 15ft height limit to avoid permits. This process would be long and unfulfilling and would not be completed before the rainy season. And we'd still have to pay the fine for the red-tag.
Or we can try to save the tree fort. But sadly, we cannot do this on our own. A couple years of weekends and thousands of dollars have already been invested. The grunt work and financing was all behind us. Final shear boards and skinning both floors with reclaimed wood, doors and stairs were in our next month of weekends.
But the new red tagged version of our project includes paying penalty fees that equal 3X the permit fees and hiring an engineer so that we pass permitted codes. Not to mention, most likely adding elements which we may have to hire out such as drilling deeper piers and welding rebar. We can't responsibly continue on our own with the tree fort and also be able to financially handle whatever hurdle life throws us next. And finishing it when the kids are in college is not an option.
First things first: your money will be invested in creating something that will make children happy for many many years. It is not just our boys that are excited about the treefort. Other children in our forest and community, friends, and family are looking forward to playing here.
We will use any funds gathered to pay the red-tag fine and permit fees. We will pay a structural engineer to develop plans that make the treefort compliant with city code in our unincorporated neck of the forest. Any additional funds raised will contribute to the cost of materials for items that fall outside our abilities, such as pier drilling and steel.
We truly appreciate you considering to aid us on our mission to SAVE THE WINN BROTHERS TREEFORT with any amount of your hard-earned dollars. In thanks we are creating an original logo that will adorn ID badges and other items. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ON THANK YOU GIFTS. In addition, considering the situation we feel it only appropriate to celebrate the completion of the tree-fort with a victory party and ribbon-cutting ceremony. With a rock band and some homebrew. High-level donors will have their names hand carved onto placards for the fort.
Should we fund this project, construction will start again as soon as we get permits, with hopeful completion by winter.We are forever and always grateful to have you in our lives as friends and family.
El Nino is descending upon us and we've already experienced several blustery storms. The tree fort is holding strong, though still not complete. This week we are officially ending our campaign to raise funds for the tree fort, and thank everyone for their support and consideration which has allowed us to attack this problem. Our beloved donors will review the 6 custom logos Mark created and choose their thank you gifts accordingly. When dry weather allows, the construction process will continue followed by a hopeful Spring/Summer grand opening ceremony.
Good morning loyal tree fort enthusiasts!
We've been working with the planning commission this week and the first of our funds raised from this campaign have gone towards paying fees to the county.. Everyone from the planning commission has been actually fairly lovely, albeit sometimes not acting in great haste getting back to us. We feel like we have their support for our endeavor. Turns out they find it a little refreshing dealing with homeowners that work on all their improvements themselves. '
The first t-shirt prototypes have been ordered and will be tested shortly, and a second logo will be appearing in the next week so our supporters can have a choice of two for their handmade apparel. The tree fort will stand, but we are leaning towards modifying the underlying structure just to make it super simple to approve the tree fort. After all, it is a save the tree fort campaign, not a save the shed campaign! Because of this, we are fairly confident we have raised the majority of funds needed to complete this project, so your t-shirts are going to be even cooler and limited edition ;) This only because of your immediate and completely staggeringly generous donations. Thank you! We love you guys.-The Winn Family
Hello Loyal Treefort Enthusiasts!
I apologize it's been a while since our last update. You may have noticed the lack of publicity recently...this is because I believe we may be shifting gears and might (fingers crossed,) be already on the finish line for our fundraising efforts. Much more info on that soon.
We had very good meetings at city hall on Friday and things are moving along well. Mark presented his technical drawings (one of which should show here.)
We are starting to research the very best sources for your homemade t-shirts and other Winngifts and you can expect them before the end of 2015. We will be in touch with you to see what your needs are in terms of sizes and styles so look out for that email in November.
In the meantime, you all know you rock, right? And you have made us feel so loved and thankful while we've been dealing with this unnecessary stress. Thank you for thinking of us.
Good morning fellow tree-fort enthusiasts! Just wanted to drop a quick update to let everyone know we are still hard at work on the technical drawings of the tree fort, and have come up with a strategy to get it completely compliant within these next months...We so appreciate your support! I am still waiting to hear from George Lucas... :) We need to spend these last non-rainy weeks prepping with the county and finishing the grunt work of the tree-fort, but you can expect your home-made Save The Treefort t-shirts and other items before the end of 2015...just being realistic! Have a wonderful week, more updates soon!
We jumped the gun and got lots of info from the county today. Looks like Mark will be doing lots of CAD drawings of the fort this weekend...we may be arriving at definitive plans to make this happen very soon. No matter what, the tree-fort will stand!! Thank you for your support, we could never have gotten this far without you!
You guys! Things on operation tree-fort are going really well! We met today with a structural engineer who was kind enough to donate his time to do an initial consult of the structure.
His analysis? First of all, the tree-fort is safe. Very safe. For the engineer himself to approve the structure there may only need to be minimal adjustments. It's not even that far off in terms of square footage for county regulations.
With the information he provided us and the action plan he helped us understand, our next hurdle is to go to the county with Mark's sketches and see what they require from us, so that's the plan Monday.
We hope the county requires the same revisions as our engineer suggested, in which case, we can actually do this.
Thank you for helping us get this far, we hope to be drinking a home-brew in this thing by winter. SAVE THE TREEFORT!
Can’t donate? Please share. Even a quick share on Facebook can help.
The average share raises $97.