Building Options & Tips

OVERVIEW -The plan for this section was to offer tips on how to go about planning and constructing a hobbit hole. As far as websites/literature go, I haven’t come across much more than basic instructions (more detailed instructions can be found in some of the projects in the Hobbit Hole Showcase section). My intention is to provide information as I find it (or even better, provide steps for the construction of my own home – which probably won’t be happening in the immediate future, but definitely at some point). Nonetheless, any techniques or ideas that I discover, or sketches and doodles I come up with, as I try and evolve my idea from a pipe dream to reality, will also be included here. In the interim, techniques and materials mentioned in the alternate eco-homes section might help people come up with more concrete ideas (no pun intended ;p).

I’ve also decided to include sites that build custom-made hobbit homes, but they (obviously) don’t provide their methods or blueprints for public viewing. This might be more appealing for those less interested in the grunt work and creative process behind building their own home, and would rather plop a fully functional home in their backyard without complication. Please note there are delivery expenses in addition to the initial purchase cost.

So go ahead and browse through some of the websites I’ve added and feel free to comment with any questions or ideas you might have on the whole process. I’m learning myself and probably won’t get a true understanding until I’m sitting down and building one first hand! ;p

HOBBIT HOUSE ARCHITECTURE: A HOW-TO GUIDE

This comprehensive website provides a very basic approach to building your hobbit hole. Although some of the instructions are meant to be humorous, there are also some very helpful tips (particularly focusing on the door and the basics of wall and floor building). These instructions also assume that we are using the side of a hill (which is the ideal scenario), rather than building an independent structure. Advertising for products (ranging from shovels to home building software) are interwoven in the instructions. I found them to be more nuisance than help – but maybe you might be inspired to purchase one or more of them ;p. The website starts off with a nice introduction filled with amusing anecdotes, an interactive poll, and some videos (which are also featured in the Inspirational Video section here). Instructions are broken down into 2 parts and may be accessed via links at the bottom of the introduction.

OUR HOBBIT HOLE

This website was developed by a couple for the purpose of keeping track of their hobbit home project. Although inactive since 2004, the site offers interesting information, with a forum section that seems more recently active and includes numerous topics on hobbit hole start up and earth-sheltered homes.

HOW TO BUILD A HOBBIT HOUSE

Again, a very basic guide on how to build a hobbit hole from e-how…5  rudimentary tips and that’s it. Guess I need to get cracking with my own instructions if this is all there is!

WOODEN WONDERS

This company, based in Maine, offers a variety of custom play houses or garden sheds with a distinct hobbit hole architecture. Prices are reasonable, with numerous delivery options. Be sure to check them out in the Inspirational Videos section!

 

 

Although this London-based company focuses primarily on tree houses, they also offer a wide variety of hobbit holes in addition to other backyard structures. Be sure to check them out in the Inspirational Videos section! Unfortunately they do not build in North America.

 

 

 

 

 


CONCRETE PIPING AS STRUCTURAL ELEMENT

This personal blog discusses the possibility of using concrete piping as structure for a hobbit home. Sounds great but transport and moving must be expensive given their weight.

 

40 Responses to Building Options & Tips

  1. Thanks for the link! I came to your site thanks to a Google Alert if have set up for the term “hobbit hole”. I look forward to seeing your sketches and ideas!
    You might be interested to know that we’re working on developing a hobbit hole kit that will allow hobbit hole enthusiasts a middle of the road option for their level of involvement in making their hobbit hole dream a reality. And, it will be a living roof-ready kit (we offer living roofs on many of our products, but our customers to date don’t seem as concerned over that element of the hobbit hole authenticity– WE can’t wait to do one, though!).
    Thanks again!

    • Avatar of Imperius Imperius says:

      Wow that’s fantastic news! I’ve struggled between the ease of simply buying one versus the self-satisfaction of creating my own. The fact that I don’t have any experience in carpentry or construction makes this a very attractive choice! Thanks for taking a look at my site and providing this feedback! This is exactly what I wanted this site to do…get people talking. Receiving feedback from someone in the industry is an added bonus! I also would like to congratulate you on creating such a great product! Would you mind if I added this new information in the descriptor or would you rather wait until it’s an actual option on your site? Thanks again and keep in touch Melissa! – Mike (Imperius)

  2. Jenn says:

    Looking good!! Fantastic job there you are doing!!!
    There should be more ppl like you out there who are equally Eco conscientious.

  3. Avatar of Nevanna Nevanna says:

    Hehe, I should have know Wooden Wonders would be somewhere on the network. I liked them on facebook a while back and just today sent them a message to come on over to MME and show off their stuff.

  4. On my blog, andthatmeanscomfort.mymiddleearth.com I have an entire section of posts devoted to my personal plans for a liveable hobbit hole. Here’s some ideas I have in one of my posts regarding ‘Bag End Inspirations’ as I’d like to show them in my own home:

    I like to think that this hobbit hole will be the perfect mixture of the penultimate hobbit hole of Bag End and my own designs. Particularly, upon walking in I would like people to think, “Yes, this is a hobbit-hole alright; just like I saw it in my mind.” Some classic Bag End aspects I would like to incorporate would be:

    1. Front door: I would like a green door and brass knob, just like in the Lee and Howe drawings and of course the Peter Jackson films. Also, I very much liked the idea of two small windows, one on either side of the door.

    2. Front hall: “a very comfortable tunnel… with paneled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished [benches], and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats.” The first page of the Hobbit truly says it all. I would also like to have, if ever possible, a map of the Shire with all of Bilbo’s favorite walks in red along the paths, just like in Bag End. For obvious reasons, I could never incorporate the “many little round doors”, and I doubt very much I could even build into a hill like that, but from the outside and initial entrance to the home, I should like it to reflect Bag End.

    3. The internal tiling for the immediate entrance and the kitchen, if not wood it would be nice to have the similar tiles as in Jackson’s films, (I hunted for a pic and even tried screenshotting the scene in the film from my PC to no avail, I just hope you know what I’m talking about,) although personally I prefer wood to anything else. Perhaps those tiles would be nice in a garden walkway.

    4. Also, I quite like the idea of a Party Tree-esque tree, perhaps a giant oak, overlooking the home, growing off to the side a bit so it might be sat under for picnics or reading, or maybe even speech-making! But that of course depends on location, oaks don’t grow overnight nor are they planted that massively!

    5. I would like to incorporate “chiefly green and yellow” into the color scheme throughout the house, but not in a 1950’s way, just golden yellow and olive. Quite largely I should like wood paneled everything, especially floors, and hopefully some beams running up the walls and cutting corners, much like in Peter Jackson’s films or even Lord of the Rings Online.

    6. Lastly, I feel it is important to have a rounded top if possible. I cannot fathom the architectural detail that would be needed for this, and I don’t even know how that would work as far as gardening goes with grass needing to be mown, so I will have to deal with this one later. I wouldn’t want to mow on top of my house if for no other reason then that’s a lot of weight for a roof of any material, even concrete, to have to put up with once a week three-quarters of the year; but then, I don’t know if there are different types of grass or what so I will leave this problem for now as well.

    • Avatar of Imperius Imperius says:

      Hmm…remind me to hire you as my interior decorator when my hole gets built ;p Thanks for the great input..here are my comments to your points:

      1. Yes to green door and brass knob! Not even an option in my books ;p I also want 2 round windows on each side of the door but would like them a decent size in order to get some light in the place. I imagine that a hobbit hole could prove on the dingy side otherwise (especially if built into the side of a hill!).

      2. I really love the interior drawn by John Howe and would like to capture that as much as possible (without it being a blatant rip-off lol). Yes to wood paneled walls (assuming it fits into the budget). Otherwise, if working with cob, there are lots of shelves, niches, and cubby-holes one could shape into the wall (see the cob home section of alternate eco-homes for examples). You can even etch designs into walls (i.e. a giant party tree, or the lonely mountain for example).

      3. Yes, I love the tiling used in the movies. I envision using dark earth-toned colours for mine. As much as I love hardwood floors, I somehow see the floors being entirely tiled in a hobbit hole. Either would work for me though; maybe a combination of both? Here’s an example of floor tiles I would use: tiled hobbit house floor

      4. If I could have the option to build on a site with a neighbouring tree as picturesque as the party tree, I’d take it in a minute…this would be on the wish list side of things though at this stage hehe.

      5. For the interior, I was picturing a mix of mahogany wall boards starting at the floor and ending mid-way. The rest of the wall and the domed ceiling would be an off-white adobe finish. Sounds much more conservative to your more cheerful motif hehe. Again, I was probably influenced by Peter Jackson’s vision.

      6. I think one can achieve a domed top (see the earthbag home designs in the alternate eco-homes section), though as you mention this could be difficult to achieve architecturally. My plans were to have a slightly arched living roof with an overhang that would allow rain to fall away from the sides of the home(especially if I go with a cob finish). It would still be flat enough to allow me to walk/mow on top of it. I’d say using a weed wacker or garden sheers may be the better (safer) alternative though ;p

  5. Mungo Baggins says:

    Have started some plans of my own…

    Will post pics once construction is under way. Love the website very informative.

    • Avatar of Imperius Imperius says:

      Good stuff! Yeah at this stage it’s a distant dream of mine. I put up the website to inspire others whose plans may be more in the immediate to near future. Looking forward to hearing about your project! :)

  6. Elizabeth Brooks says:

    I’ve always wanted a hobbit hole!! This is so informative, maybe now I can actually consider an underground house as a real option. My fiancee and I have talked about building a house with a similar look/floor plan of bag end and then putting dirt over it to make our own hill, which we think would help keep it structurally sound, plus if you do it that way, you can have windows on all sides of the house as opposed to just the front, like if you dug back into a hill. Also if you put the dirt on top it’s a bit looser, which would make it easier for grass and flowers to grow. Or maybe buy a house that we like and renovate a bit so it’s more hobbit-ish and then put a hill on it, which seems like it would be more cost-effective but probably isn’t, since you’re paying for the initial labor and cost of building the house, then paying again to have that changed…Either way, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. And something he’s been thinking about constantly ever since I made him read The Hobbit ;)

  7. Avatar of Imperius Imperius says:

    That’s great to hear Elizabeth! Thanks for checking out my blog and I really hope your plans come to fruition one day! Not sure if I’ll be able to ever build a full-fledged hobbit hole (though you never know!) but, at the very least something small in the backyard to replace a garden shed might be more attainable ;)

  8. My dream is to have my own land or island and a beautiful Hobbit Home pretty much
    like Bilbo’s Lots of room and rooms for my brother and me and my two Pomeranians. Friends to visit. I know it’s a lot to wish for, I believe it will happen. Where can I get
    plans for it?:)

    • Avatar of Imperius Imperius says:

      Sounds great! As of now, I don’t have plans myself. I know that woodenwonders does offer kits or builds them for you. They are made of wood and not necessarily built into the side of a hill, but it’s a realistic compromise. Check out the Building Options & Tips section and scroll down to their link. Good luck! :)

  9. It is a nice handy little bit of data. We are satisfied which you contributed this beneficial details about. You should keep us well informed like that. Thanks for sharing.

  10. tara says:

    I absolutely love seeing people build their dream homes! I can’t wait to be older so that I can build my own cob home exactly like I want :)

  11. jim saylor says:

    i can’t help but notice the number of people having difficulty with finding a solution for mowing the grass on top of a hobbit hole. one possibility I’ve come up with is that AstroTurf (the synthetic stuff used on football fields, etc.) could be used. If a garden liner was put over the top, followed by AstroTurf, you’d never have to worry about mowing the grass on top, while at the same time keeping the look of genuine grass. It could be made less obvious by accenting the sides of the home with built-in flower gardens as accents, which would take eyes away from the “grass”

    • Avatar of Imperius Imperius says:

      That’s an excellent observation and solution Jim. Thanks for the input!

    • lauren says:

      there are longer artificial turfs that look pretty real from a distance, and i like your idea of masking it with edge accent gardens.

      goats seem to be another good solution for grass roof maintenance :) check out al johnson’s swedish restaurant &butik.

      my husband and i dream of buying land and building a hobbit hole together. i really like the cement tubing idea that has been presented, and perhaps one could build custom moulds to pour their own tubes rather than shipping existing tubes. not sure how that would work with our local seismic code. given our location, we will have to give some serious thought to earthquake-proofing.

  12. Patricia says:

    I like the idea of the cement pipes…. it would certainly be structurally sound. It would probably be much cheaper to build it above ground then put soil over it… (can’t begin to fathom the cost of digging into a hill for that) and to avoid the problem of having to mow on top of your home you could always opt for a low growing ground cover like vinca or ivy….. vinca is less invasive and would be GORGEOUS blooming over the entire house!

    • Avatar of Imperius Imperius says:

      I guess it’s all about finding a compromise that makes the structure economically viable and structurally sound, without taking away the essence of what constitutes a hobbit hole :)

  13. Pingback: Friday Fun: Five imaginary cities we wish we could visit | TheCityFix

  14. Geoffrey Cramer says:

    Perhaps there is another way. It occurred to me that by pouring concrete over a heavy plastic that could then be inflated, would then create the desired dome shape. You could dig in the desired location, and use the dirt from the dig to rebury it. Once hardened, the dirt would then be piled back on and sodded. Or perhaps, use a bag/balloon in the interior shape you want, pour a resin of some kind over that, wait for that to harden, remove the balloon and then pour concrete over top and then fill and sod? Im not sure. I only know that these homes have a lot of potential and not enough people are considering them. I feel they would be extraodinarily functional in some settings, like places where tornadoes frequently touch down and tear normal homes to bits. Or where hurricans do the same. The earth always seems to look just a bit ruffled afterwards. But the towns are a jumble of sticks and stones. Hey Oklahoma, why not do some research and instead of mobile homes, try a community of these. I think its a ripping good idea.

    • Avatar of Imperius Imperius says:

      Wow…very innovative idea! Seems more practical than having a concrete mould cast and then having to transport or move the concrete dome. I agree about the resilience of these buildings…Old Cobb homes were very resistant to earthquakes and impervious to rot. The problem is the housing industry in many residential areas and the associated zoning laws seem more about limiting who can build, rather than for purposes of safety and quality control :(

  15. Pingback: Whirlwind Wednesday | Gersande

  16. Beth says:

    I’m thinking about adding a hobbit hole to the back of the property to use as a studio and part-time accommodation.

    I’m thinking of using a half burried 2o ft sea-container (our water table will be OK with only digging down 4 feet or so). I’d cut the container in half and form a “T” with the two sections. I’d take the doors off the front and re-use them to form a “bump out” alcove for a kitchen nook for making tea, coffee etc.

    Both of my sons are welders (AKA:boilermakers) so the labour and expertise needed to weld the container back together will not be a problem, nor will getting the window and door openings. I’m thinking sea container mainly for the structural integrity and water-tightness below ground (don’t want a damp hole)… and the ability for something like that to hold large amounts of weight (soil) when I form the hill around it from the dirt I have excavated. The biggest challenge I can see will be getting it out the back of the property. I have my eye on a container I saw on gumtree.com.au that has a whirleygig thingy on top for ventilation. Very handy.

    I think I can get away with calling it a “wine cellar” (we are in wine country here) to get around council approval. I have yet to figure out how to get a toilet and shower in there… our block of land is an acre and I’m not sure how far from our existing septic system I can run pipes. Anything involving plumbing is going to be mega pricey! (… not to mention dicey with the whole council approval thing.)

    Once the continer is weather tight I can go about putting nice paneling and a facade of middle-earth coziness. I like the idea of having a nice hearth facade with a bio-ethinol fire to add warmth and ambiance. Anyone with ideas or expertice on how to get the plumbing sorted is welcome to email me at the guesthouse. (Just google The Vines Avenue Guesthouse). I’ll go “off grid” with solar since it is cheap to do now, and we have an abundance of sunshine.

    My hubby thinks I’m nuts, but I’m used to that. He’ll come around when I show him the numbers on potential income as a novilty accommodation unit. Even at 30% occupancy (very modest estimate based on our current occupancy rates) it would pay for itself in less than a year. (…if I can get the plumbing sorted).

    I’m totally rapt to have found your site. Please keep the great information flowing.
    Cheers,
    Beth

    • Avatar of Imperius Imperius says:

      Hey Beth! Wow that sounds fantastic. I’d love to get some pictures of your project once it’s completed (or even as it’s being completed). Sounds like you definitely have it all planned out and access to skilled workers :) Alas, still a pipe dream here (no pun intended). I’m enjoying hearing people’s creative attempts of coming up with their own methods. Cheers and keep us updated!

  17. Clifton W Bond says:

    Just retired. So I’ll build my hobbit style

  18. Audriena says:

    We are currently looking for a piece of property, that is very special, in Western WI. If there aren’t any hills that meet our needs, we plan on building our hobbit home and then basically making it into a hill. We want a house at least the size of Bag end. We will definitely detail every step of our journey to share with enthusiasts and for people like us who have no idea how to do it!!

  19. Desaree says:

    You have very good information here, I hope to build my own hobbit hole one day and this info helps a lot :)

  20. Lindsay says:

    Thanks so much for compiling this website with links and interesting information. I currently own a run-down house that is built into a hill. The property is about an acre and would be perfect for a green home. As I have a love for everything Tolkien, I am considering taking a Shiresque style in the rebuilding. Like you, I hope these aspirations become more than pipe dreams. If pursued, I expect this project will see completion many years in the future. As it is, it is awesome that I can add this site as a resource. Thank you again!

    • Avatar of Imperius Imperius says:

      That sounds fantastic Lindsay! You’re several steps ahead of me, with an actual home and property…I still need to figure where and when to invest. Glad this website has helped you. That’s why I created it! Please keep us updated on your future project and all the best :)

  21. Dave says:

    I really want to get started on mine but I’m just not sure how to begin. It’s jut he a single small room but I can’t figure it out :(
    [img]http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w98/dimejinky99/2014-04/141B17A8-354C-4005-A113-BE33F2A98E4A.jpg[/img]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>