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Tuesday February 10, 2009 Edition
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Building a Dream: A Tree House With No Girls Allowed!

The post and beam building is made similar to the log home kits of today.
photo by Cookie Steponaitis
The post and beam building is made similar to the log home kits of today.
Fifty feet up and still climbing, Bobby's Tree House perches.
photo by Cookie Steponaitis
Fifty feet up and still climbing, Bobby's Tree House perches.

photo by Cookie Steponaitis

Tuesday February 10, 2009

By Cookie Steponaitis

    Now admit it, you know that as a child you had a secret place, a club house, a fort, or even a tree house. And, in that enclosure you were king or queen of the world. You dreamed, planned, played and imagined your way to desert islands, scaled castle walls, and survived time and time again to be the hero. Or, maybe you were peaceful there, read, wrote and even played music? Ensconced in your secret place, your childhood never ended; your club house was fun and a very special to be a child. Too bad that had to end!

    Or does it? In the case of Waltham builder and owner of Valley Roofing Bobby Volk, building a dream tree house just got postponed a decade or two. During his childhood in New Jersey he explored his parent’s four acre property that was mostly woods. “There was this one tree,” he mentioned. “It was incredible. It bent over and formed this shape that I called Dinosaur Mountain. From a child’s point of view, it didn’t get much better than that.” Recently Bobby began to create a dream, partly in tribute to his youth and partly to create a refuge where one can relax and quietly enjoy nature. Since August, the sawing Waltham residents heard coming from the woods was signaling the creation of something very special and as unique as the artisans that Vermont is famed for. Bobby Volk is building a dream and a tree house that will be for all time.

    Driving up to his Waltham home for an interview, I immediately got the sense that this will be no ordinary structure. His home is built into the ledges and features massive pine tree supports that dominate his log home. Moving indoors you are struck time and time again by the unique artistry of computer desks fashioned out of hollowed logs and support beams of different hues and tones of wood. While some artists paint on a canvas, Bobby Volk paints with wood.

    Sharing his adventures and creations of wood are his wife of 25 years, Carol and their two children Chad and Charlotte.  Carol will be the first to admit that it sounds unusual to tell people that her husband is building a tree house, and even more mind boggling when people see the size, location and artistry of the project, but she is used to her husband’s talents. “It was an act of God to even get the permit,” commented Carol. “I thought to myself, if a chicken coop needs a permit, then this tree house was going to need it too. The Tree House is about fifty feet high and is in between all the trees. It measures 8’X10’ and is presently taller than our house. The logs are cut in a similar fashion to our log home. This creation reflects the side of my husband that never grew up and still loves to be a kid. Our home is a compilation of dreams and projects that have come to Bobby over the years. There is everything from stained glass skylights to woodworking and video game rooms. Even our garage holds a collection of hollow trees that are yet to become artistic pieces of furniture in the future. Our living room features a lamp made from a tree and its roots. They literally dug it up on their hands and knees and preserved the roots.”

    “I never had a tree house as a child,” responded Bobby when questioned about his project, “and believe it or not I wanted to be a lobster fisherman. The tree house is my own design, one of many that come to me in my daydreams. It is made of cedar logs and has custom windows that open. Additional projects include a king size custom bed frame for the house someday a hot tub enclosure as well.”

    While the project continues to grow and change as Bobby revises his vision, it is presently empty and will remain so until completion. “When I get it done,” Bobby commented, “I will start on the rope bridge that will connect it to the main house and from there, we will see.” From both the interview and seeing the sight, it is obvious that dreams have no time limit. So when you envision that space, that special place where you can just be, don’t ever give up on the vision. Someday, in some place in Vermont, where you might least expect it, you can drive upon dreams under construction and tree houses high in the air reflecting the talents and artistry of the skilled craftsmen Bobby Volk. Exiting his third story bedroom balcony and gazing at the tree house, the sign posted represents more than a memory on life, and is really a statement of purpose. “It really is a Wonderful Life.”                       


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