Living in a Treehouse in Topanga Canyon

A great escape.

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  • Photographed by
    Jessica Schramm / Parachute Home

Ask anyone who lives in Topanga Canyon about the experience and they’ll describe it as a nature immersion.

“Sometimes when we sleep with the windows open, we hear the owls conversing at night. It’s part of the charm,” says Jessica Schramm.

For Jessica, though, that sentiment goes one step further. She lives in a two-story, all-wooden house perched up behind a huge oak tree. The structure has two bathrooms and two bedrooms with a wraparound covered porch overlooking the canyon. Access is via three flights of winding stairs.

“The view of the canyon makes me happy every single morning.”

“We call it a tree house because of the oak that grows up and around the majority of the front of the house. You have some view of the branches from any vantage point or window. It makes it feel very whimsical,” says Jessica, a photographer for the bedding company Parachute.

Built in the ’70s, the house still has its original redwood paneling throughout, along with colorful tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms. At first, Jessica was inclined to paint all the walls white.

“Since we rent, however, we had to leave them as is, and I’m so glad we did. We’ve grown to fully embrace the funky, cozy vibe of the house and lean into it with quirky decor and lots of comfy nooks. Our design strategy is just about filling the house with objects and elements that make us smile. I like for the decor to have a sense of nostalgia and personality.”

Her favorite space is the light-filled main bedroom. “Because we’re surrounded by trees, the downstairs is shaded, making it super cozy in the winter and cool in the summer, but the upstairs gets drenched in sunlight all year. The view of the canyon makes me happy every single morning.”

Jessica and her partner moved from West Hollywood to Topanga in early 2020—at the beginning of the lockdown—in what turned out to be serendipitous timing. They were looking for more space and to be closer to nature. Turns out they got that and more.

“Topanga also has such a strong sense of community. It feels a bit like we’ve gone back in time to a world where your mechanic lives down the street, your best friends provide you with unlimited citrus from their yard, and you’ve got everything you need right in town. It’s so idyllic that sometimes it’s difficult to leave.”