Tree house guy, Pete Nelson, tapped for reality show
July 16, 2013
By David Hayes
When Animal Planet was developing a reality show about building tree houses, producers knew there was only one person suited to be their host — Tree House Guy Pete Nelson.
Renowned locally for the five tree houses that make up Tree House Point in Fall City, Nelson has been creating the designer nature retreats for more than 25 years.
Nelson built his first tree house with his dad when he was 5. With more than 200 of the structures under his belt, the head of Nelson Treehouse and Supply initially balked at the idea of appearing on television.
“Honestly, we’ve had a standing order: No reality shows,” he said.
But a determined Animal Planet producer convinced him that now was the time to get this topic out there. He admitted he didn’t realize how much fun it would be.
“This is our time in the sun. I wanted to have fun, but I’ve ended up having more fun than I ever thought I would,” Nelson said.
Launched May 31, each Treehouse Masters episode kicks off with Nelson meeting with clients wanting his services for a tree house on their property. The homeowner gives a general outline of what he or she wants, Nelson assesses the property’s landscape, and evaluates which trees and locations will work best to bring the client’s dream to fruition.
“I get to meet all these great people. It’s a joyous part of my job going on for years,” Nelson said.
And some of the requests are as unique as the people:
- An Ohio family wanted a treetop taphouse to showcase their specially crafted beer,
- A new-age, free spirit novelist wanted a Zen retreat to reignite her creativity,
- A woman outside Austin, Texas, wanted unique location for her spa retreat.
After consultation, Nelson brings his crew from Treehouse and Supply, which also includes his son Charlie. The 2005 graduate of Issaquah High School joined the team as a carpenter after graduating from college.
While cameras follow the crew throughout the creation of the treetop dwelling, Nelson narrates the trials and tribulations unique to each project. Nelson’s quirky nature comes through in the segments, leaving viewers to wonder if he’s just playing up to the cameras, only to have a crewmember confirm, that, yep, that’s Pete just being Pete.
“My greatest worry is language. We try not to drop any F-bombs, remembering this is a family show,” Nelson said.
Each build presents the opportunity for Nelson to explain that tree-house building is a viable form of architecture.
“My greatest hope is to educate our viewers,” he said. “These types of nonscripted shows are not usually in there for that, but STILETTO (Television) has let me do just that.”
To showcase other builds, Nelson receives a call about mid-show asking for repair help for a nearby tree house. The excursions have taken him from repairing a railing on a tree house in a backyard in Manhattan to bringing up to fire code the world’s largest tree house in Crossville, Tenn.
For the season finale July 19, “Treehouse Masters” follows a local couple that wants a wedding at Treehouse Point.
Nelson said there’s no word yet whether the show has been picked up for another season, but he remains hopeful.
“I don’t know. Comparatively speaking, we’re not ‘Duck Dynasty,’ but I’d love to have another season,” he said.
He added that while he’d love to, admittedly, selfishly build everyone a tree house, he hopes the show inspires others to pursue their own project.
“Do the research if you’re interested and then just go do it,” he said. “Get your friends, kids, family and see it’s not impossible, that it’s a great way of getting back to nature.”
You should know
- Animal Planet
- Check your local cable company for channel and air times.