Welcome friends! It has been a little while since we brought you one of the excellent blogs on the network, but rest assured that if you have any love for Hobbits, then it will have been worth the wait. How so you ask? Because today we bring you Imperius’ blog on building Hobbit holes. The site, My Hobbit Hole may well be the best place on the entire Internet for finding information on building your own Hobbit dwelling as well perusing others’ projects.
Viking: You have managed to collect a massive amount of information about real life Hobbit holes. What motivated you to take on this task?
Imperius: Well, obviously being a huge Tolkien fan, all things hobbit-related have always interested me but I think it wasn’t until the movies came out that the sets of the hobbit house (exterior and interior),and Hobbiton in general, were so well done that it planted the seed in my head. Tolkien (and by extension Peter Jackson) portrayed it as such an idylic existence I thought, “hey wouldn’t it be nice to live in one of those?”. From a more philosophical point, the hobbit hole represents a safe haven from the dog eat dog world we live in; I thought having something like that, whether as a country home or backyard playhouse/shed, would be a nice place to unwind and relax; a refuge from the mad mad world so to speak lol.
Viking: What sort of things can visitors expect to find on your site?
Imperius: Well basically at this stage the website acts more as a hub for various sources of information from the Internet. I’ve simply organized this information and presented it in a way that allows people to become inspired and hopefully generate their own ideas. I have a section called Building Options & Tips which provide the basics on building a hobbit hole. To tell you the truth, there were maybe only one or two sites that went into the very basics of hobbit home construction. I hope to add any information pertaining to my own project in this section when I get around to it. One thing that I discovered in my research was that there were two companies that actually build hobbit holes for you (one based here in North America – WoodenWonders in Maine, and the other based in London England, High Life Tree houses). In fact, I think a few articles were written about WoodenWonders here on the network. In any event, this information also gives people the option of having their hobbit hole built for them, if this is the route they’d like to go. Where people can find more concrete information to help them learn how to build their own hole is on the websites that pertain to specific hobbit hole projects (a section I call Hobbit Hole Showcase). This provides viewers with specific websites related to these projects and many of them go into great detail with video, instructions and even blue prints. I also offer a collection of videos (in the Inspirational Videos section) which relate to some of these projects – they are both informative and inspiring. I’ve also included a section on alternative eco-homes. I wanted this site to not only be about the iconic hobbit hole but to also inform people about sustainable housing (after all the hobbit hole was probably the earliest prototype of an eco-home). In fact I would say that some of the techniques and materials used in this section would translate very well to the construction of a hobbit home. Finally, there is a general news section where I post any thoughts, ideas, videos, and news articles related to hobbit holes; they can be informative, thought provoking or downright silly. I plan on adding a section called crafts and accessories where I introduce possible ways of furnishing your hobbit home. I have a few antiques and interesting pieces I’ve got lined up for my own hobbit hole so it would be neat to showcase them there, in addition to other sources from the Internet.
Viking: What would you consider to be the essential features of a Hobbit Hole? Or what is the difference between a real Hobbit hole and a Hobbit hole wannabe?
Imperius: Well, if you take a look at a lot of the projects featured on my site, you’ll see there are quite a few interpretations of what people consider a hobbit hole. Personally, I think a true hobbit hole is one that is dug from the side of a hill, not a stand alone dwelling. The problem is not everyone has access to a hill (especially if you plan on building one in the backyard). So, while ideal, it isn’t something that is always feasible. However, at the very least, it needs to have a round door! Too many models I’ve seen use contemporary square doors unfortunately; that is probably one of the most recognizable features of a hobbit hole. It also needs to be painted green with a brass knob in the centre :p.
There was one particular model that used painted styrofoam for inside beams and stone walls..though I could see it was a safety precaution for kids playing in it, I’m not a fan of using synthetic faux materials. I personally would stick to wood, earth and stone in my version.One thing I forgot to mention is that if you decide to go with the stand alone hobbit hole structure, it has to have a living roof (sod covering) at the very least; there needs to be some link to the land, even if you don’t manage to find a hill.
Viking: How do you go about finding such awesome links?
Imperius: It was really just a matter of pounding the virtual pavement and combing through tons of links and videos on either google or youtube. What’s funny is once you’ve done a thorough search, you realize many of the links take you to just a handful of projects. The hundreds of links that would come up led me to believe that there were hobbit homes everywhere, until I realized there was lots of repetition (many news sources, same project being reported). This bodes well! It shows that there is still plenty of room for projects. I think I would have been disappointed if I saw that the subject had been saturated (that will probably happen after The Hobbit movies come out though lol).
Viking: Do you have a particular favorite of the videos you’ve collected?
Imperius: Hmm good question. As far as the hobbit homes go, they are all equally amazing. I think what had the largest impact on me was the discovery of cob homes. There is the introductory video on cob homes in the alternate eco-homes section (images set to music) which shows just how beautiful some of these homes can be. As soon as I read up about them, I knew my hobbit hole was going to employ some form of cob construction (assuming I would build a stand-alone dwelling and I couldn’t find a hill to excavate). In fact, most of the cob construction videos were really inspiring – you could see the sense of community in bringing people together to learn about a long lost ancient building technique. I think I reached an epiphany on not only how I would go about tackling my own hobbit hole project, but on housing in general and how we’ve grown accustomed to living in these pre-fab generic homes, rather than these organic and dynamic homes that – given the will and man power – we can build ourselves.
I recall one comment that resonated with me in the many videos I researched was “ Wasps and beavers can build their own homes, but most humans can’t, and that’s a problem”.
Viking: Have you received any comments or feedback from any creators of hobbit holes?
Imperius: Yes I was recently contacted by Melissa over at WoodenWonders. She congratulated me on the site and also mentioned that they were working on a new model of hobbit home where people could build their own living roof! I plan on writing an updated article on them in the near future. As far as contacts from individual hobbit hole creators, nothing yet. Then again, the site has only been up for a couple of months so, crossing my fingers! Worse case, I’ll go and track them down for a possible article/interview ;p
Viking: Do you have a timeline for when you hope to begin building your own?
Imperius: At this stage I’m still renting but plan on buying a home within the next year or so; that will definitely dictate the nature of my project – will it be an actual hobbit house I build on land I purchase or will it be the extension of a pre-existing home, in the form of a backyard hobbit hole? The former is the ideal but I would probably bet on the latter. There are issues of construction laws in residential areas which
might not allow for the construction of a cob home, or any form of hobbit hole for that matter. While living in a more rural areas is an option, I have to take the commute to work into account . So, in short, it’s not an easy answer with all these variables, but I would think within a year or so. In the interim, I will definitely be thinking about my plans and putting them down on paper in some form. Who knows maybe I’ll cave and have these guys take care of it for me.
Imperius also wanted to make sure that some proper credit was given to Creative Director Tyler Michael Jonsson who helped him set up this amazing site. So when you are thanking Imperius for this great little site, make sure to drop the American Gollum a line as well!