The Berne Street Treehouse: A Nature Preserve Near Downtown Atlanta

Located along Atlanta’s Beltline, this unique glass-and-steel structure is available for parties and sleepovers.

Situated along Atlanta's Beltline, the Berne Street Treehouses comprise two unique structures: one private residence and one available for private functions and overnight stays. The owners applied for a conservation easement, protecting the trees that surround the home.

There are a few jaw-dropping and unique properties in the Atlanta area — the Instagram-worthy ones that make you pull the car over. You stand in the driveway, pointing and posing — we get it. Imagine being afforded the opportunity to spend the night in one of them.

Located five minutes from downtown in Ormewood Park, a quiet neighborhood nestled between lively East Atlanta and historic Grant Park, the Berne Street Treehouses are two such properties. One is a private residence and the other, which sleeps up to six adults, is available for private functions and overnight stays.

The one-of-a-kind glass-and-steel structures overlook the much-ballyhooed Beltline and are the brainchildren of designer Mary Clare DeReuil and architect Marko Carlos Tardio.

DeReuil, founder of MCD Design, has been designing and fabricating contemporary objects, furnishings and spaces since graduating from Georgia Tech in 1991. Partner Tardio studied economics at Emory University, and then went back to school and got a master's in architecture. DeReuil gave FrontDoor some insight into the inspiration and design for his urban treehouses.

Tell us about your partnership with Carlos.

We have been designing homes, warehouse conversions and office spaces in Atlanta since about 1995. There are five homes in Atlanta that we've designed for clients. Most of the projects that we design, we also build.

How did the treehouses come about?

We bought the land, six lots, more than 15 years ago. It was heavily wooded and had never been built on, to our knowledge. We mapped out the existing trees and decided we would try to develop these lots but wouldn’t remove any trees on the property unless they were unhealthy.

The house is designed to require little or no maintenance and uses no "off-gassing" materials. The floors are solid 2x6s; the frame is steel; the roof is rubber; the siding is steel and stainless steel. The windows are insulated and tempered glass. There’s no weird plywood or no known toxins.

Were the treehouses for a client?

No, the two houses on Berne are our own projects, self-financed without a client. The last one had no crew other than the HVAC man. We did all our own welding, plumbing, electrical, glazing and plaster.

You did the work yourself?

Yes! We built the first house in 1999, 871 Berne Street, with a group of friends, artists and musicians. One day I even got to operate the crane for the steel beams we brought in. We started the next house in 2009 and sold some of empty lots to help finance it.

Tell us more about protecting the land.

Before the lots were sold, we placed a Conservation Easement over the lots, reducing the buildable footprint and protecting all the mature hardwoods, so that the forest views would remain for generations to come.

Who uses the houses now?

One (871) is rented to a couple that has been there several years. The newer house (865) we are renting on a daily or weekly basis for events or meetings. We've held everything from a sweet 16 party to a hip-hop video shoot and even weddings and corporate retreats.

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