FOR most families, building a tree house is an adventure involving old planks of wood and bits of rope strung up in a tree.
But JK Rowling’s two children can look forward to a more up-market hideaway – their very own giant, luxury, turret-roofed tree houses, complete with secret tunnels, a trap-door and spiral staircase that looks like it has been lifted from the Hogwarts film set.
The tree houses – one for each child – cost anything up to £250,000 and bear a resemblance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter films, which have made Rowling a multi-millionaire.
However, these castle-like tree houses will not be located in the fantasy landscapes created by the author but in the garden of her north Edinburgh home. Her youngsters will each have their own two-storey building almost 12m high, with feature bay windows, which are linked by a rope bridge. They will be able to crawl into their tree houses through tunnels to be dug in the garden.
One child will be able to make a quick escape from their tree house using a trap door and fireman’s pole. The other tree house has a spiral staircase or stainless steel slide to allow the owner to make a hasty exit.
Under plans drawn up for the author and her doctor husband, one house features a perch for an owl and a “nature box” built into the roof for birds to nest in.
Both youngsters will also get a trampoline that will be built on a special deck on the approach to their tree houses, which are designed to be kept out of sight.
Rowling, who is estimated to have a fortune of £560 million, received planning permission to demolish a £1m, 1970s-style house she bought next door to her own home to increase the size of her garden. She also won approval to build a summer house that critics said looked like the stone hut inhabited by Hagrid, the giant groundsman from her novels.
Ms Rowling, 46, bought the mansion for over £2m two and a half years ago. She lives there with her husband, Dr Neil Murray, their two young children and her teenage daughter from her first marriage. Yesterday, a neighbour said: “Nobody around here is going to make a fuss about the tree houses for her children. It’s her cash; she can do what she wants with it.”
The tree houses are to be built by Blue Forest, a company based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, which describes itself as the UK’s leading tree-house architects.
Andy Payne, the managing director, said: “Tree houses have always been a symbol of imagination and creativity.” Prices start at £20,000 for its most basic models, but the firm admits the “sky is the limit” for the final bill when it creates bespoke tree houses for the super-rich.
Last night, the author’s public relations company, Stonehill Salt, said the application was a private matter and JK Rowling would not be making a comment.