Ladue News Feature Stories

Taking Fun to New Heights

For years, St. Louis Treehouse has been taking fun to new heights throughout the Midwest. The company, founded by Colorado native Cord Moody, started after a tornado swept through his neighborhood in Hazelwood years ago. Seeing a damaged tree with little desire to cut it down, the Eagle Scout turned engineer decided to build a treehouse for his kids. He enjoyed building it so much that his wife suggested he pursue other, similar opportunities.

Years later, Moody gave a presentation at a Business Network International meeting, and Bill Hayes, a sales representative for a construction company, was one of many in the audience. He listened to an enthusiastic guy stand up and talk about how he built treehouses for a living. Hayes was intrigued that Moody could make a living building treehouses and talked to him after the meeting.

“He was just one of those people you want as a friend,” Hayes recalls. “He just has an awesome vibe to him.” They both talked at length about Moody’s treehouse business, and Moody suggested Hayes see a project in the works in Ballwin, and Hayes agreed. Hayes helped a bit on the Ballwin project that day, handing Moody tools and carrying wood. “It was just a really cool experience, and seeing that little girl’s playhouse up on a tree was awesome,” Hayes recalls.

The next day, Hayes called Moody and asked if he wanted help with his treehouse endeavor. They clicked, and the two worked together for five years before Hayes decided to go to school to become a medic and before Moody wanted to move back to Colorado – where the paths of St. Louis Treehouse began to diverge. Moody moved back to Colorado less than a year ago, and Hayes now works as a firefighter for two departments and as an EMT. St. Louis Treehouse isn’t over, though. Moody still owns the company and even started an effort called Denver Treehouse out west. Hayes now runs St. Louis Treehouse and works with one of his friends building treehouses on the weekends.

St. Louis Treehouse does three types of builds: platform, roofed-over platform and cabin. A platform is the simplest, consisting of a floor with railings. A roofed-over platform is exactly what it sounds like, but it lacks walls. A cabin is the most houselike of the three options, with a floor, walls and roof – a true cabin.

After the size and type have been selected, clients are able to select accessories and features. St. Louis Treehouse installs everything from zip lines to rock-climbing walls to trapdoors. The company’s team has put in windows, skylights, fireman poles, monkey bars and more.

“Big treehouses need big accessories for support,” Hayes notes. “Things like rock-climbing walls and multiple ladders can help with that. You want your treehouse to look like it’s actually suspended up in a tree, and that’s what we specialize in.”

While the treehouse projects vary from yard to yard, the safety of the kids is always the biggest concern.

“Kids by nature are adventurous,” Hayes says. “These are treehouses – they’re up in the air. So when you have to go up a ladder, you have to go under a railing. If there are any openings, we always set up a chain or a rope, too.”

The company’s team also takes the health of the tree into account, bolstering the weight of the structure with as many features and accessories to help hold the weight as possible.

“We build hundreds of treehouses around St. Louis, but we’ve never had a tree die because of a treehouse being put into it,” Hayes says.

As a precaution, though, the company’s team will come out and do yearly checkups and maintenance as needed. This can include tree trimming, upgrading bolt support or modifications to adjust for tree growth.

St. Louis Treehouse structures are built with the entire family in mind and are strong enough to support the weight of mom and dad, should they choose to come up to play with their kids, too.

“Mom and dad can get up in the treehouse, and son and dad can ride the zip line together,” Hayes says. “We’re not building an average playset. This is about getting the kids outside and having fun with the whole family.”

This story was originally published at laduenews.com. Read it on LN’s website here.

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