Sid Cooperrider, one of the former owners of the Ukiah Brewing Company, has built the Taj Mahal of treehouses on his property off of Orr Springs Road. Built within the center of a fairy ring, Cooperrider’s treehouse ascends 85 feet supported by seven different redwood trees including seven different floors.
Cooperrider told us in 2012 he sold Ukiah Brewing Company and was “blowing his money” on Ukiah rent prices and figured he would move to his parent’s land on Orr Springs Road with free rent and close proximity to his family.
Once there, he took up residence in a century-old cabin where his parents live 100-yards away, and he began to “work the land.” Chainsawing and digging and clearing brush, Cooperrider found himself standing at the foot of a fairy ring of seven redwoods.
For those not fluent in redwood speak, a fairy ring is a circle of redwoods grown around the stump of a former old-growth tree. After the old growth is cut, a new generation of trees arises from the roots of the fallen redwood creating an enclosure
He told us he took one look at the ring and said to himself, “I should build something here.”
And so it began. In 2015, Cooperrider explained he first built a platform at the base of the fairy circle, making sure to include 7”-11” stairs, the standard rise and run for stair construction.
That first platform, Cooperrider recalls, was designed to make sure his “mom and dad can walk to the top.” An essential step in ensuring the tree house’s accessibility for his mom and dad was strict adherence to the 7”-11” structure and making sure all the steps were even.
Lumber for his tree house, Cooperrider explained, came from old-growth redwood left on his property and soft-wood pallets he arranged with a buddy in town to use.
After the first platform was built, Cooperrider said he was inspired to “follow the trees” which led to the staircase ascending to the second level being constructed on the outside of the fairy ring.
At this point, Cooperrider’s creation rises seven floors deep in the crown of the fairy ring with each having railing to keep occupants safe and secure.
Thinking back on his labors, Cooperrider said he has done all the work himself, except for two days where a buddy came and helped.
He has yet to install any roof on his treehouse because “it’s just so nice at the top to have it open to look up and see the sky in the summer.”
Unlike popular television shows such as Treehouse Guys and Treehouse Masters, who build “super fancy houses that are built around super fancy trees,” Cooperrider said his construction is building directly into the redwood trees themselves. He does not think his treehouse will impede their growth, being primarily within the center of the fairy ring, giving the trees plenty of room to grow upward and outward. Cooperrider did mention the redwoods seem “bluer” than those nearby that he suggested was the result of having metal bolts in their flanks.
Cooperrider has visions of installing a bar on the third level and piping up nearby spring water. Near the fairy circle, Cooperider said the “land sort of makes an amphitheater shape” and hopes to dig it out, install benches and create an intimate venue where local artists, poets, and musicians can share their art.
In the summers, Cooperrider sleeps in his treehouse, swaying in the breeze amongst the whisper of redwood needles. He spoke of guests coming to stay in his treehouse, enchanted by it, later bringing their friends to experience life in the heart of a redwood.
A home in the heart of a redwood tree could be the setting of a childhood story. One Mendocino County resident, using a brute do-it-yourself attitude and the ganas to take on the challenge, has brought dreams to life.