Chris and Nicole Staab love to go to Ireland and travel there as often as they can. But now there’s a problem. If they head to the Emerald Isle, they have to leave their backyard behind — along with the the magical bit of Erin perched in the branches of their gnarled olive tree.
On Friday (June 7), Animal Planet’s “Treehouse Masters” premieres the “Luck O’ the Irish Cottage,” in which treehouse builder Pete Nelson and his crew have created a Celtic-themed treehouse amid the palm trees of Southern California’s Orange County.
A stairway leads up to the round house, which features a peat fireplace, photos from the Staabs’ Irish holidays and a tea set — a particular hit with the Staabs’ toddler son.
“He”s loving the teacups,” says Chris Staab. “He walks around and takes a sip out of every single cup.”
The Staabs had thoughts about what they wanted their treehouse to look like, but Chris says their vision “was much smaller, and it was not near as cool. Everything that we wanted is in there, but on a much grander scale. Pete’s mind is capable of far more than our mind is capable of. I have no other way to explain it.”
But the family’s joy at seeing the treehouse is tempered by recent events in their lives and in the world. Last December, both Nicole’s father and the young son of Chris’ cousin passed away, within a week of each other.
And, during the construction of the treehouse in mid-April, both the terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon and the terrible fertilizer-plant explosion in West, Texas, took place.
“That’s one of the reasons the treehouse is going to be such a special place for us,” says Chris Staab, “because it really is going to be a peaceful sanctuary where we can go and remember those we love and remember the people that have been lost, that we had no connection with.
“You can’t read stories like that and see what we’ve been seeing on TV without having it affect you. It really is going to be a good place to get away from that and have some peace.”
As a bonus, the treehouse is equipped with a mister so that a soft Irish rain can be made to fall on command, even under sunny California skies.
“We can make it rain anytime we want,” says Staab. “I am a weather junkie. I grew up in Texas and Oklahoma and used to chase tornadoes for the news. I miss it, and heavy rain. And, in Ireland, it rains constantly.”
“Treehouse Masters” airs at 10 p.m. ET Friday on Animal Planet.