It started as a simple project, something that kids build almost everywhere there are available trees. Max Yates set out to build a basic tree house, with maybe a few additions, for his granddaughters. The project has grown in scale, but the work is staying in the family. That’s because Max has been joined by his two brothers, Roger Yates of Aledo and R.E. Yates of Colleyville, over several weekends as work has progressed.

“It started as just a basic floor, maybe some sides. Then we decided to close it in,” Max Yates said. “They (his brothers) happened to be down and I told them to give me some ideas.”

“We saw what he was going to build and decided he needed some help,” joked Robert Yates.

The tree house is anchored by two chains at its front and to the tree in its rear. At the peak of its roof, it’s nearly 15 feet off the ground. A fact that was confirmed by a tape measure after some friendly debate among the brothers.

“We’ve been working on it a couple of months,” Max Yates said. He said his brothers come down occasionally and the three work on the house for several days at a stretch.

Some of the features of the house include a trap door in the floor with a ladder that allows people to get in an out. Each of the four walls will have a window. On Tuesday, the brothers were hoping to get all the siding installed.

Although Roger Yates says the material costs for the project have escalated as it’s grown in scope, that’s been offset by labor expense.

“The labor costs have been cheap,” he said.

“He hasn’t gotten the bill for that yet,” R.E. Yates joked. “He better find us a really nice Dairy Queen.”

The tree house’s tin roof comes from an old barn, but most of the other materials are brand new.

The brothers do have some experience with construction, which has helped with the tree house.

“I built a storage shed on my house, and a boat shed,” R.E. Yates said. “I’ve built a lot of stuff around my house.”

Roger Yates built a cabin on his property, recycling materials from old buildings.

“We’ve worked on projects around each other’s homes,” Max Yates said.

The tree house is a gift for Max Yates’ grandchildren to enjoy when they visit from McKinney. Their names are Bryanna, Haley and Madison, he said.

And because it’s a family project, for family, it’s been special, Max Yates said.

“It’s been fun.”