Fans of JRR Tolkien will turn green with envy at the sight of this ‘Hobbit-hole’-esque house built for a family of four in the British countryside.
This Welsh homestead reminiscent of ‘Bag End’, the underground home famously inhabited by Frodo and Bilbo Baggins in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, was constructed in just four mouths, for an astounding £3,000 (€3,430; $4,700), using chopped-down wood for floors and layers of earth for a roof.
The Dale family, with no previous experience in carpentry or architecture, build their ‘low-impact, sustainable living’ home with the environment in mind, but also with a sense of being a true master of their house.
“When you build your house yourself, you are in complete control over it. You are to make your own mistakes and work out your own answers,” wife Jasmine Dale told Metro. “The idea of this project is that people could live normal 21st century lifestyles but in a very ecologically sound way.”
“Building from natural materials does away with producers’ profits and the cocktail of carcinogenic poisons that fill most modern buildings,” her husband Simon added.
After a little digging in the Welsh hillside, Simon erected the timber frame up first using wood from 30 small trees, then the roof, so his family could be sheltered while he continued the rest of the work.
The roof is made up of a layer of straw bales for insulation, plastic over that to make it waterproof, and slabs of grassy earth on top.
Materials and equipment were gathered from skips, builders’ yards and donations.
This humble cottage, complete with separate kitchen, living and bedroom space, boasts other amenities: a compost toilet, a refrigerator cooled by air from underneath the building itself and a set of solar panels to provide basic electricity (“To charge laptops and mobile phones,” Jasmine opined). Running water is supplied from a nearby spring.
Asked what was the inspiration behind this earth house, the lady of the house resoundingly denied it’s straight from Middle Earth: “No, it’s not from the ‘Hobbit House’! It turned out that way really thanks to the methods and the materials we used.”