Building houses in the sky

by | Oct 8, 2019 | Alumni Profiles, Fall 2019 | 0 comments

Imagine a space surrounded by nature, removed from the rest of the world—a place to play, decompress and get away from it all… in your own backyard. A treehouse offers fun and relaxation for adults and children alike, and that’s exactly what Cord Moody ʼ07 provides through his business, Denver TreeHouse.

From small spaces a few feet off the ground to fantastical structures sprawling high in the trees, Moody has built more than 200 treehouses across Missouri, Kansas and Colorado since starting his first treehouse business, St. Louis Treehouse, in 2010.

Moody got the idea for the business when he was considering a play space for his then-6-month-old son. “We didn’t have a swing or a slide, but we did have a bunch of great trees in the yard,” he said. “So I thought, why build or buy a regular playset if I can do a treehouse?”

When Moody sat down to research the possibility, he came across Pete Nelson’s treehouse website (which would later become the inspiration for Treehouse Masters, a TV show about designing and building custom treehouses). Moody quickly realized that not only could he build treehouses but there was also a viable market for customized play structures. “It just clicked that night that this was what I was supposed to be doing,” he said.

Moody created a website and registered a company on the spot. Within five hours, the business was up and running, and two months later, the first orders started to come in. At first, he built treehouses part time, but two years in, it was a full-time job.

Moody attributes his ability to think through a project piece by piece, and to keep an open mind about how to get to the final outcome, to his Mines training. When working on design projects as a Mines student, he learned to use “new ways, new calculations and new methods to find a solution” to each problem, something he encounters with every new idea clients send his way.

It’s the on-the-spot creativity and engineering challenge of building around a tree’s natural structure that Moody loves about his work. “The way the slides, rope ladders and bridges are incorporated is different every time,” Moody said.

Other things Moody loves about his job? Getting to spend time outdoors, the joy he sees in his clients—especially the kids—and working with his brother, Kyle Moody ʼ12, who has helped build several of the structures.

“It takes enjoying being outside and enjoying nonstop challenges,” Moody said of succeeding in the treehouse business. “There’s always going to be something different from what you’ve done before.”