Photographs by Thomas Loof
Roderick Wolgamott Romero, owner of Romero Studios, makes the kind of tree houses that the Swiss Family Robinson would have lived in had they washed up on the shores of the Hamptons instead of the East Indies.
Take, for instance, the two eye-popping tree houses he recently completed in Southampton for a family of five. It all started with the Nest, a double-decker structure with levels perched 23 and 32 feet high that resembles two massive birds’ aeries overlooking Lake Agawam. It was designed, says Romero, “so that no one would understand what kind of bird built it. You’d wonder if a pterodactyl made it.”
Soon after the Nest was completed (for around $75,000), the family wanted another custom outdoor dwelling. This time, they commissioned a tree house they could enjoy year-round. The result is JEM House, a 250-square-foot cabin with two decks nestled between four cryptomeria, or Japanese cedar trees. It’s where the family has movie night every Friday, whether it’s December or July. “It’s got heat, electricity, and a flat-screen television,” says Romero. There’s also a hidden door that leads to a back deck and a trap door on the front deck, so the kids (or Mom and Dad) can drop into a 220-square-foot hammock made with reclaimed marine net. “That was the client’s idea,” he says. “Sometimes you build these, and clients don’t use them as much as they should. This family is in them all the time.”