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Owner-built Atlanta Glass Treehouse floats among hardwoods

When the financial crisis hit in 2008, architects Mary Clare DeReuil & Carlos Tardio were without work, but determined to continue creating buildings. “We were scouring the city all the time looking for cheap land, land that no one wanted to deal with because it was problematic,” explains DeReuil.

They finally picked up property near downtown Atlanta that was “problematic” and “unbelievably cheap” because there was no driveway access.

Over the course of 4 years, the two architects (Tardio Architecture) worked 10 hour days to create an experimental glass dream home using materials easily accessible in industrialized settings: steel beams, cast concrete, 2 by 6 milled lumber, and lots of recycled glass. “We scrapped this thing together with personal loans, brother and sister loans, loan sharks, credit cards, we just did whatever and made it happen.”

Not wanting to cut down any of the mature trees on the property, DeReuil and Tardio designed the home around the trees. As a result, the structure floats among the huge hardwoods and has been nicknamed the “Atlanta treehouse”. Tardio prefers “House of Doors” since “the structural system was derived from an exploration of doors”.

All the doors in the home are made of heavy sheets of glass with Tardio’s proprietary pivot system which allows even a child to open them with ease (we, the faircompanies family, took the home for a test drive and our then 3-year-old could open them easily).

To help pay off all those loans DeReuil and Tardio use only the studio on the top floor (a secret pivoting door separates the two floors) and rent the lower floor on AirBnB.