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Arlo in the trees

Interview Questions for The Quist

With the summer stretching out before us, we’re on the lookout for exciting escapes! The Quist is about as adventurous as they come, towering high above the forest floor in Herefordshire as a beautifully designed, luxurious treehouse. Step inside and sink into carefully considered designs like our cosy Henry sofa, set within a gorgeous palette of soft tones and sumptuous materials. To provide a bit more colour on the experience, we connected with founder, Harriet Churchward. So, without further ado, over to the expert…

Why treehouses? What inspired you to take this unconventional approach? 

Treehouses are more of a rarity, and we had to play to the strength of our position. My husband, Matt, is a carpenter and we also had permission to build on my parents’ land - both things which aren’t commonly present in a husband-wife duo looking to do something creative and entrepreneurial...ha! Matt used to work in the music industry and I worked in the tech industry. Neither of those had worked particularly lucratively for various reasons We were both ready to try something new, so we took a punt on a treehouse! The Quist is positioned in an incredibly remote and idyllic setting: at the top of a 100-acre hill called Merry Hill, which is the highest point on the 800-acre estate of Brinsop Court.

What are some of the unique design challenges that come with building a treehouse?

Access. Matt had to figure out solutions to getting everything up to the top of Merry Hill along a steep and bumpy track and from there, on foot through the woods to The Quist. Everything from the huge oak floorboards, hottub, sliding doors and stone bath down to every cushion, picture and spoon has been carried in by hand. Also, taking a design approach which treads a line that doesn’t feel domestic, but also doesn’t feel like an Ewok’s home. Tricky!

How did you bring the natural environment into the design scheme? (Aside from its providing the physical foundation, of course!)

We started with so little idea of how we were going to approach the interior design, and out of sheer necessity I dug deep and found my confidence for it. Somewhere along the way I hit my stride and began to understand what was needed. 

We agreed that we wanted lots of glazing, so there are windows wherever we could add them, to ensure that the outside feels very close. It almost removes the requirement for art and decoration because it’s so beautiful to watch the changing views, far or close, throughout the day.

We used wooden cladding, oak floorboards, raw plaster, woven raw material, stone and for softer textures stuck to linen, denim and embroidered cotton. Whenever I got stuck I’d refer back to my image of a cowboy’s cabin or a fishing lodge and ask myself if a particular material or item could live here.

Upstairs in the beautiful ‘Tent Room’, which is the room Sophie Rowell of Cote de Folk consulted on, it has a slightly more luxurious feel with her use of patchworked velvet on that mega headboard, but retains a folky feel that we both envisaged for it. It’s a beautiful room.


What drew you to our Henry sofa, and how did you decide on the Earth coloured Scandi Linen upholstery? 

The Henry is upholstered in Earth, and I had some throw pillows made with jumbo white piping to match. It’s a gorgeous, gooey sofa that you completely sink into. I love the single back pad and the single seat pad. I must admit to having customised the buttons in vintage mattress fabric offcuts to pull the sky blue in my colour scheme in, which worked really well. 

The size of the Henry was what drew us to it. We needed a super wide sofa which would seat multiple people and even fit a snoozer with a sitter alongside so that both guests could enjoy the view. The sliding doors with views to the Malverns beyond have to replace and compete with Netflix so we had to make sure the viewing experience was as luxurious as possible!

If you’re feeling adventurous and would like to pay The Quist a visit, check out their website for further info and availability. With sunny days on the rise, best to stake your claim on a weekend while you can!