DIY Hobbit Homes

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Perhaps you're a fan of J. R. R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" series, or you're looking for a way to build a small, inexpensive dwelling that uses little energy and exists in harmony with nature. Build your own hobbit home using found, reclaimed and recycled materials, mostly from the earth. An endless variety of methods exist for making these fictional hill homes come to life.

  • Find a cozy location for your hobbit home. A flat, open area over solid but well-draining earth works well. Dig a hole in the ground, and clear the area for the home flat.

  • Prop up tree trunks or logs, and nail them together to create the home's frame. Use wagon-style stacking or any other method that provides a rounded frame. Use branches or smaller logs as cross beams around the frame to reinforce it. Install extra support beams or even trees underneath the frame.

  • Create your hobbit home's roof. Your choice of materials depends on your climate and location. Lay layers of sturdy wood followed by felt paper and several layers of thick black plastic to form a waterproof membrane. Cotton sheets and straw bales followed by the plastic also work.

  • Install a mud or turf roof, packing the earth solid. Laying sod on the roof also works.

  • Place bales of hay or blocks of sod between the supporting posts to insulate the home.

  • Apply some sort of wall material to the home. Lime plaster provides a breathable option, while cob, a mixture of clay and straw, is very malleable.

  • Lay flooring for the home using scrap wood or stone palettes atop plastic and straw bales to provide a solid, insulated floor.

  • Install windows using traditional framing methods with log cuttings.

  • Install a front door with a rounded crown to match the home's shape.

  • Incorporate natural wood into the home's fixtures and decor, keeping its elements rustic.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use the stone and mud used from digging the original hole for retaining walls and foundation work.
  • Have your building plans reviewed by an architect to ensure that they are safe before you begin construction, and check with your local town hall regarding any construction permits you may need.
  • Do not attempt to build a home yourself if you do not possess the necessary carpentry skills.
  • Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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