Foster Huntington was an up and coming designer in the New York fashion industry. He always wanted to quit his job and live a stress free life in the countryside, so he did what his heart desired. In the summer of 2011, Foster Huntingdon left his comfortable job at Ralph Lauren in New York City and decided to travel around the U.S. in a van. Sounds like loads of fun!!!
Living out of his vehicle, documenting his travels along the way, Foster was living life on his terms. He pursued photography for a while and just finished up his second photo book, “Home is Where You Park It.” Not regretting for a second the decision he made, he ultimately settle on his family’s land in Washington’s Columbia Gorge.
One day he told his friend “Dude, I want to built some treehouse up at Cinder Cone,” and so that’s exactly what he did. There are actually two treehouse; what Mr. Huntington call the Studio, a red cedar cabin sheltered with three trees 20 feet about the ground so that it seems as if it’s floating; and the Octagon, shaped like its name, which hangs 35 feet in the sky. “I remember looking at photos of bush pilots and thinking: I can take photos. I don’t want to live my life in the city. I want to go do something else.”
He built the treehouses over several months with the help of what he called a “bronado’ of friends. Underneath the treehouse is a skate bowl which he hired contractors to build. The treehouse crew slept in a bunkhouse on the property, or else in tents or in their truck. When they weren’t sawing and nailing boards, they loaded up bows and shot arrows; they skateboarded; they swam and fished in the Columbia River; they got stoned and raced motorbikes.
The treehouses are connected by a swinging rope bridge and a ladder. He named the property ‘Cinder Cone’ because it sits atop an old volcano. His first building project on the property was an outdoor wood fueled hot tub. Huntington regards the Studio has his work space and the Octagon as his bedroom; he regards the small house his mother built, 100 feet away, as a source of electricity and plumbing. The interiors of the treehouse are simple and rustic. ‘Nothing fancy but has nice custom woodworkings, like built-ins.’
Foster took many pictures of the construction process, which he used to make his own photo book titled ‘The Cinder Cone’. He ran a kickstarter campaign to raise funds to produce the book. “Think of it as one part instructional book, one part photo book, and one part tiny homes book. “I could have bought a house,” he said, “but this is so much better. For me, it’s realizing a childhood dream.” While relaxing in his sanctuary, with the valley and its lamp lit houses in the distance, Huntington soaks in his hot tub and reflects back to his time in New York. “That world seems so distant,” he said. He certainly has no regrets.