DIY: How to Build a Hobbit House

Hobbit Family Build £3,000 Home with Rubbish

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
 

 

Fed up with huge mortgage payments, Simon Dale decided to take matters into his own hands – literally.

Armed with only a chisel, a chainsaw and a hammer, the 32-year-old moved his family to a hillside in Wales and started digging.

The result is a wooden eco-home – constructed in four months and costing  just £3,000 – which would look perfectly at ease alongside the Hobbit houses in The Lord Of The Rings.

Finished article: Simon Dale's family home, made with his bare hands Finished article: Simon Dale’s family home which he built in four months for a cost of £3,000

The moon rises on the house which is roofed with grass and nestles in its woodland surroundingsNestled: The moon rises on the house which is roofed with grass and blends in to its woodland surroundings

Home from home: In just four months the house was ready Cosy home: The house is heated by a wood burner and a solar panel provides power

Mr Dale, who has no experience in carpentry or architecture, created his sustainable family home using scrap wood for floors, materials scavenged from skips and by diverting water from a nearby spring.

And while he was doing the building work, his wife Jasmine Saville and their two toddler children camped in the nearby countryside.

He said: ‘Being your own have-a-go architect is a lot of fun and allows you to create and enjoy something which is part of yourself and the land rather than, at worst, a mass-produced box designed for maximum profit and the convenience of the construction industry.

‘Building from natural materials does away with producers’ profits and the cocktail of carcinogenic poisons that fill most modern buildings.’

Cosy: Inside the finished house, with windows and floors as well as a staircase Sustainable: Simon Dale, who had no experience as a carpenter or architect when he started the project, used lime plaster and wood from the surrounding area

Woodland view: The house is fully sustainable Woodland view: Mr Dale put the timber frame up first, then the roof, so his family could be sheltered while he carried out the rest of the work.
Hobbit house: The finished article sits in the Welsh hillside and is almost hidden from viewHobbit house: The finished article sits in the Welsh hillside and is almost hidden from viewThe family struck lucky searching for a site for their dream project. In return for looking after the area, the owner of the woods gave them their plot for free.After digging into the hillside, Mr Dale – with the help of his father-in-law, a builder – first constructed the building’s timber frame.The roof, which came next, has a layer of straw bales for insulation and is covered  with sheets of plastic to make it waterproof.

Finally it is covered with a layer of earth, which ensures the house blends perfectly into its surroundings.

Finished article: Simon Dale, with wife Jasmine Saville, outside their home, just four months after starting workWoodland home: Simon Dale, with wife Jasmine Saville and their two children outside their home, just four months after starting work

Once the outer shell was complete, the family made an interior wall from straw bales stacked on dry-stone walling and staked together with hazel sticks.

Once the walls were up a sub-floor made from pallets was laid, with floorboards put down on top.

Miss Saville, writing on her husband’s website, said: ‘Some past experience, lots of reading and self-belief gave  us the courage of our conviction that we wanted to build our own home in natural surroundings.

‘For us, one choice led to another and each time we  took the plunge events conspired to assist us in our mission. There were times of stress and exhaustion, but  definitely no regrets and plenty of satisfaction.’

Window on the woods: The cosy sitting room looks out through the conservatory to the surrounding woodlandWindow on the woods: The cosy sitting room looks out through the conservatory to the surrounding woodland
From scratch: Simon Dale building his 'hobbit house'From scratch: Simon Dale building his ‘hobbit house’
Foundations: The house taking shape after putting palletes on top of straw bales ready for floor boards
From rubble: The beginning of the house...

Before and after:  View from the unfinished window (left) and piles of stones on the house site

Foundations: The house taking shape after putting palletes on top of straw bales ready for floor boardsFoundations: The house takes shape with palettes laid as a sub floor, ready for floor boards
Helping hand: Simon Dale's son helps out gathering woodHelping hand: Simon Dale’s son helps out gathering wood
Family task: Simon Dale moved his family to Wales and started building Family task: Simon Dale moved his family to Wales and started building

As well as being made from sustainable material the Hobbit house, as it is dubbed by locals, has lime plaster on its walls instead of cement, a compost toilet, a fridge cooled by air from beneath the foundations and solar panels for power.

Mr Dale said: ‘This sort of  life is about living in harmony with both the natural world and ourselves, doing things simply and using appropriate levels of technology.’

Since building his house, Mr Dale is following the design to construct the first home in the Lammas Village, Wales’s first eco-development.

For more information on building low impact homes, visit www.simondale.net

Plans: Drawings for the hobbit housePlans: Drawings for the hobbit house
Insulation: Straw, membrane and earth make up the walls Insulation: Straw, membrane and earth make up the walls

About LivinginPeaceProject

Paul Murray is the founder of the LivinginPeace Project. www.livinginpeace.com Paul originally from Australia, but have been living in New Zealand for eight years. Before that he was in Japan for a decade working as a journalist. He met his wife Sanae in Japan and they married in 2008.
This entry was posted in Art, Economics, Education, Environment, Money, Permaculture, Photography, Social Commentary, Uncategorized, Weird and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to DIY: How to Build a Hobbit House

  1. Timm Signs says:

    Wow! this is fantastic. Wish my family didnt sell our property after my parents past, it would of been something to have a piece of land to create a hobbit home. Living in the woods, on nature, thats the life. To create something with your own hands, brains and to live out a dream. I applaud Paul and his family. I have a cousin, she and her young family moved to New Zealand about a decade ago, and just love it over there. Moving to another country is not ideal for me, but having a land, house of my own, built with my own hands is a dream. hope to live out that dream some day.

    • Hi and thanks for the great comment. The main barrier to building such a house these days is local council regulations…even here in a very remote part of New Zealand the withered claw of bureaucracy stifles such innovation…however, with the release of the Hobbit film, we may see an increased in demand for such homes!

      Good luck with your home-building dream…imagine the satisfaction of sitting in a warm comfortable abode of your own making!

      Have a tremendous day and regards from Sunny Karamea,

      Paul.

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