This 9-Year-Old Built His Dream Treehouse — and You Can Rent It on Airbnb

published Sep 21, 2021
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Treehouse and dog

One of the newest Airbnb listings in Murphy, North Carolina, boasts a “new, quaint treehouse in woods, 5 minutes to town!” — but this isn’t your ordinary picturesque treehouse rental.

Three years ago, Eli Sylvester began dreaming up the cozy treehouse escape in the backyard of his family’s home, investing $200 of family donations to get the project in motion. Now, Eli has been welcoming guests to the loft-style space… Oh yeah, and he’s just 9 years old.

Eli’s mom, Rachel, listed the treehouse on Airbnb, noting that the tiny architect-in-training was inspired by Animal Planet’s hit series “Treehouse Masters.” Rachel told the News & Observer, a local Raleigh newspaper, that her son invested $200 by starting his own business, selling crafts, picture frames, and magnets at a local craft store, when he was just six. In a year and a half, he saved more than $4,800 and investing $6,000, minus the cost of supplies and materials, to build his treehouse. In that time, he asked for supplies to help him build for his birthday and for Christmas.

Rachel told the News & Observer that he not only paid her back the initial $200 she gave him, but suggested she list the property on Airbnb, where it now rents for an average $148 per night. He even splits the earnings from the listing — he pays his mom for property taxes and incidental charges and puts the rest to good use. The pair plan on feeding 10 families during Thanksgiving and taking 10 children on an all-day field trip using the rest of the funds from their rental, and hope to give holiday gifts to 50 children this year.

“Eli is a little boy with big ideas and just as much commitment,” Rachel told the News & Observer. “Money can buy you a lot, and education is important, but communication can get us ‘anywhere’ in life.”

Along with making guests feel welcome, Eli is responsible for all of the treehouse’s upkeep and management, including washing linens and cleaning surfaces and windows.

If staying in Eli’s Treehouse sounds like your ideal getaway, you’ll find a 17 x 17 space with one bathroom, one full convertible bed on the main level, and two twin beds in the loft upstairs. The treehouse is on the family’s five-acre property in the woods and includes access to a trampoline, zipline, firepit, and walking trails. It’s also close to local bars and restaurants. With more than 20 near-perfect reviews so far, it seems like a fabulous option for families of all ages ― there’s no denying it was a labor of love, too.