Kristie Wolfe has never been afraid to take creative matters into her own hands. While on hiatus from her job with the Idaho Potato Commission traveling the country in a semi-truck hauling a six-ton potato (true story) she became fascinated with the tiny house movement. Relying on her previous knowledge in construction, a passion for crafting, and a thirst for new challenges, she decided to build her own tiny house from the ground up. This whim has turned from one-time hobby to a booming business as Kristie hosts guests from around the world in her eco-friendly Hawaiian treehouse on Airbnb.
“I always have some sort of experiment going on with the intention of personal growth,” Kristie explains. “I decided, as an experiment in minimalism, I would build and live in a tiny house for a year.”
To start off this experiment, she built her first small home on the prairies of Idaho, blogging about the experience along the way. Within the first month of living there, there was no looking back.
“The forced simplicity of living small made me realize I wanted to live like this permanently,” Kristie tells us. She soon bought another piece of land on the cheap and converted her house off-the-grid.
Once she had simplified her life to a point where she had almost no bills, she began to entertain the idea of a tiny vacation home. Searching for land online, she bought a place in the rainforests of Hawaii’s Big Island, site unseen. Kristie quickly set her vision around creating an eco-conscious treehouse.
“I think everyone has always wanted to live in a treehouse at some point in their lives. And this being a tropical rainforest, I knew it would be the perfect spot to create one.”
More impressive than her vision for the house is the fact that she barely had any help. No contractors or construction crew here: Kristie and her mom built the house with their own hands.
“It was exhausting because we actually aren’t very strong,” Kristie laughs. “We had to use wenches and other little tricks to make up for it and get these 15’ boards down through the jungle and in the air. We threw logs in the mud and used them as platforms since our shoes would get sucked off of our feet. Eventually the logs would get sucked into the muck, too.”
They completed the treehouse, listed it on Airbnb, and almost immediately saw the rewards of their hard work.
“I was hoping I could rent it eight days a month. That’s all I needed to not have to get a “real” job again. Pretty much immediately after I listed it on the site, it was at maximum capacity!”
There’s no question why the treehouse has the attention of travelers. The wrap-around lanai allows 360-degree views of the jungle. The windows and doors let natural light pour in. The custom-built counters are stocked with fresh local coffee and snacks. The bathroom even has a tropical indoor-outdoor effect as rainwater cascades from the shower heads to the floorboards. Under the treehouse is a hanging bed for daydreaming. The whole place is solar-powered, the decor is completely DIY. (Would you expect any less from Kristie?) The space is completely thoughtful, inspiring, and personal–inside and out.
“My favorite part of hosting is being able to show people a totally different, non-touristy side of Hawaii. Also, about 90% of my guests are on their honeymoons, so it’s fun to be part such a fun important time in their lives.”
So what’s next for this tiny house visionary?
Since becoming a full-time host, she’s able to book treehouse guests from afar (in Idaho) spending her days reading, hiking with her dog, hanging out with loved ones, and planning her tiny dream house empire.
“I’m breaking ground on my next project next month, and hope to have it listed on Airbnb by the fall. I’m going to build Lord of the Rings style Hobbit Holes in the Northwest. They’re going to be amazing. I’m so excited!”