Simon Dale proves that you don't have to be an architect to design and build a beautiful, cozy, low-energy home. With £3,000, a few simple tools, and a little help from his father-in-law and friends, Simon constructed an extraordinary hobbit home that has virtually no visual or environmental impact on the surrounding landscape. Using locally-sourced and natural materials taken from the nearby woodlands, a common practice among designers in Wales, alternative energy sources, and a lot of imagination, the self-styled builder has created a gentle, naturally-lit family home that exists in total harmony with nature.
We’ve noticed a surge in hobbit homes as more people throughout the world seek alternatives to the bigger is better model of living. For example, in Switzerland, one family buried their home but opted for more luxurious finishings instead of turning to natural materials as the Dale family has done. The hobbit house’s framing consists of locally-gathered oak thinnings, the retaining walls and foundations were made from stone and mud, and straw bales were used to insulate the floor, walls, and roof.
The interior walls were finished off with breathable lime plaster which has a much lower embodied-energy footprint than cement, while all of the flooring, finishings, windows, plumbing – virtually everything inside – was re-purposed from discarded scrap materials. A wood burner heats the home, and an ingenious system that pipes cool air in from underground keeps the family refrigerator at an optimum temperature. A skylight fills the small home with natural light, water is sourced from a nearby spring, and solar panels provide all of the electricity the Dales need to power their musical, computing and lighting equipment. For people who lack both formal qualifications and stacks of cash, this amazing hobbit house puts the dream of living in an earth-friendly home firmly in reach.