NORWAY — When Sam and Rob Masabny bought their home on Lake Pennesseewassee in 2016 they knew they would eventually add a guest house. Their Norway place quickly became a magnet for family and friends. As super fans of the Animal Planet show “Treehouse Masters” and its host builder Pete Nelson, the couple decided to go big and called on the master himself to make their dream come true.

“This project was a decade in the making. We went through lots of ideas,” said Sam Masabny of the newly finished 1,100-square-foot dwelling. “We have lots of visitors so we wanted a space where they can enjoy privacy. But it came down to us really wanting a treehouse.”

Although the treehouse sits in a spot dense with softwoods, the surrounding shadows do not permeate its interior. The whitewashed shiplap walls and shiny hickory floors bathe the space in brightness. Rustic rough-cut panels covering the cathedral ceiling echo the forest canopy that surrounds the house.

Builder Pete Nelson brought in Christina Salway, a New York-based interior designer who has collaborated with him on his TV show. The two worked closely with the Masabnys to execute their vision, blending feminine and masculine elements for a rustic yet polished space.

“The theme started with the refrigerator, the centerpiece of the kitchen, and expanded from there,” Masabny said. “The fridge is a really cool, high-end appliance.

“And once I found these overstuffed chairs, they became the anchor for everything else. It’s a treehouse, but it’s also on a lake, and the navy plaid just brought together the rustic and nautical elements.”


The nautical theme also provides Masabny a way to connect with her late father, Andrew, who passed away when she was just 10 months old. “My dad was a scientist who focused on aquatic life. He had this great portfolio of aquatic prints, and this is a special place to honor them.”

The treehouse was prefabricated at Nelson Tree House and Design in Washington state and transported to Maine last spring. It was a reverse race against mud season; the delivery couldn’t be made until local public works departments officially opened the roads to heavy loads. Meanwhile, the Masabnys worked with general contractors, directly hiring local excavation and construction services. Once the treehouse was built they utilized local subcontractors for electrical, plumbing and heating, flooring and roofing.

“We got everything in the treehouse that someone could want but a washer and a dryer,” Masabny said.

It features central heat and air conditioning, USB outlets, propane fireplace, full bath on each floor and it is insulated for four-season living. The kitchen leads to a screened porch that seats four comfortably.

The house is supported by a combination of steel posts and fifteen foot-high stumps. Several pine and fir trees emerge through the decking of the entry porch.

Not surprisingly, there has been a lot of curiosity about the treehouse that sprang up in the woods of Norway. To satisfy those who want a tour, the Masabnys set up a website so people can do it virtually by video. While the treehouse is primarily a getaway for friends and family – not to mention for themselves and their two-year-old daughter Andi – they have started taking short-term rental reservations and are booking dates through 2020.


“Visitors will have access to the lake, using our docks,” Masabny said. “It’s a short walk to the shore. Plus with all the options for skiing, snow-shoeing and snowmobiling, there are things to do around Norway all year long.

“The next phase for the treehouse will be the ground beneath it. “For now, we are letting the ground naturally heal itself. But we will do some landscaping, to establish trails and walkways. We’ve already planted a dozen pines to add privacy.”

Masabny said that one of the things she most wanted from the treehouse was a place to create special memories.

“I’ve experienced loss from a young age and memories are important to me,” she said. But to her surprise, the treehouse started providing moments to treasure long before it was time to officially put out a welcome mat.

“We have met so many amazing people on this project,”Masabny said. “The relationships we have built with the people who worked on the treehouse will be our biggest takeaway. Norway has become a home for us and we love being part of this community.”

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