The enchanted forest

by SUZANNE MIAO on Apr 28, 2011 in Architecture , Interiors
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Every child dreams of a treetop hideaway among the leaves and branches – but a treehouse isn’t just for kids anymore

There is something magical about a house built up in the treetops – just look at how the Ewok village in the film Star Wars: Return of the Jedi instantly tapped into every grown-up’s secret dream to be able to live, work or play in a treehouse… And at Center Parcs in England, the dream has become reality, with a designer twist.

In 2006, Target Living was appointed to develop a new design and strategy to refurbish all accommodation at all four of Center Parcs’ destinations across the UK. This project involved the refurbishment of about 3,500 existing lodges and the erection of a further 500 new-build lodges. The roll-out commenced in early 2007 and, based on this success, Target Living was invited by Center Parcs to create designs for a range of luxurious, new build, four-bedroom tree houses. “In many ways, this was the ultimate brief, to create something as enchanting as a luxury Treehouse to the scale of 2,000 sq-ft,” says Tara Bernerd, CEO and head of design, Target Living.

Bernerd is, of course, renowned for her upscale, ultra-luxury designs on some of the most high-end properties around the world. Her involvement with Center Parcs – one of the UK’s leading short-break holiday companies, with four ‘villages’ around the country – is somewhat unexpected, but the designer is adamant that the challenge makes perfect sense. “While it is true that we are known for our top-end bespoke work, we are also extremely proud of our work with Blackstone/Center Parcs and relished the challenge of this project,” she says.

“From the very start, this project captured all our imaginations and allowed us to explore the marriage of practicality and the fairytale of living in an all wooden house in the trees. The interior space planning was key and it came to life as it was layered with tribal-inspired materials and fabrics.”