East Point may not be the first place most folks consider when looking for unique lodging inside Atlanta’s perimeter, but that could change now that the Tri-Cities town has a bona fide Airbnb treehouse.
Now open for reservations after recently finishing construction, the treehouse belongs to College Park resident Darrel Maxam, who owns the 2.5-acre plot above which the house hovers, as well as the five other tiny houses on the property next door. Each of those (separated by a privacy fence) can also be booked for a night or longer.
Along with a two-person crew of homebuilding experts, Maxam, who has a master’s degree in construction management, built the 700-square-foot, 25-foot-high treehouse in 50 days, with an investment of around $100,000.
The lofty design features muted cream and earth-toned drapes, bedspread and other decor, plus three walls of windows that allow sunlight to pour in on the single bed and bathroom. A night in the treehouse begins around $165.
With full A/C, heat, electricity, and water, guests aren’t exactly roughing it, especially considering the 270-degree views from the tall windows of the gardens and koi pond below, although the inhabitants of the chicken coop (and their fresh eggs) do add a bit of rurality. There’s also a private outdoor shower made with thick wood beams, just past the bottom of the spiral wooden stairs, which are wrapped around a 400-year-old oak tree on which the treehouse is propped.
Maxam has been quietly successful in putting the “Atlanta Tiny Five”—as he calls the land and its tiny homes on Instagram—on Airbnb for years. He says he purposely avoided media attention before the treehouse was completed, out of consideration for the community. He’s received neighbors’ blessings for publicity now, and says he does “everything to code,” because he doesn’t want to draw the ire of the City of East Point, which he says has placed Airbnbs in a sort of gray area. He’s waiting for city officials to determine what to do with private overnight rentals, but says he’s fine with paying the price of doing business.
“I would love to pay the taxes [beyond standard property taxes],” Maxam says.
Still, Maxam knows that such a unique treehouse could “open the floodgates and blow this thing out of the water.” He came up with the idea to build the treehouse after recognizing a void in the market. After the popular Buckhead treehouses and the Alpaca treehouse in East Atlanta, he now has what appears to be only the third rentable treehouse in metro Atlanta.
“I realized that in the metro Atlanta area, thousands of people rent out their homes, but there were only two treehouses,” Maxam says. “I wanted to make sure I topped the other two, build a better product, sit back at let people just come.”
The treehouse area is fenced in from the handful of other houses on the property to provide privacy and seclusion for those inside. But Maxam says he wants to use the space as an event venue, too, and has a plan not only for groups of families who want to stay together on the property in different homes, but those who decide to bring families together through matrimony. He says he’ll soon offer “pop-up” or “micro” weddings, which are already trending in other event spaces but haven’t yet hit Atlanta, and definitely aren’t known amongst the treehouse set of tourists.
The plan: Couples will show up and have everything set up when they arrive, including flowers, champagne, and decorations. They’ll wed in 90-minute time slots on the lower level in the pavilion area, and the bride and groom will stay the night above in the treehouse, behind the privacy fence. Families who also want to stay the night throw in together and rent the entire property for a total price—including wedding—of around $5,000 to $6,000.
It’s all hidden high above the Headland Drive corridor, less than a mile from Greenbriar Mall to the west, and within a 2.2-mile bike ride of East Point’s Dick Lane Velodrome. OutKast fans can take a brisk walk eastward and snap photos at the corner of Headland and Delowe, made famous on the classic song Elevators.
“No one else in metro Atlanta can offer what we offer,” Maxam says. And with his treehouse, both he and his guests look to be headed for a sweet come-up indeed.