No, this isn't the Shire. It's the work of Simon Dale.
On a hillside in Wales, the 32-year-old went to work. Dale no longer wanted to be burdened by the costs of owning a typical home, so he sought a realistic, affordable solution.
He found just that. On his website simondale.net where he details the many projects he's completed as well as his family's story, Dale claimed to have very little building or carpentry experience prior to undertaking the now famed Hobbit House.
He got most of the job done using just a hammer, chainsaw and chisel. He received assistance from his father-in-law and the occasional friend passing by. Dale said the project took a mere four months to complete and cost just under $5,000 in materials.
Here's how his vision began.
For a man with little prior building experience, Dale was sure to have his hands full. However, he was confident in his abilities. He wrote on his site, "My main relevant skills were being able bodied, having self belief and perseverance and a mate or two to give a lift now and again." Both Dale and his wife are avid environmentalists who have striven to reduce their net impact on the environment.
Dale takes time on his site to explain why he took on the project. "Our supplies are dwindling and our planet is in ecological catastrophe. The sooner this change can be begun, the more comfortable it will be." While residing in their now iconic home, the family planted a garden and tended to the woods around them.
But all of this certainly didn't happen overnight. The vision began with this empty plot of land and a pile of rocks.
Then came the foundation.
Dale wasted nothing. He detailed the construction of the home on his website, noting that he used the stones and mud from the initial excavation for both the walls and foundation. He used spare wood from the forest for flooring. He found lots of necessary items, like window-panes, wiring, etc., in local trash piles. The man was on a mission to be resourceful, keeping the environment in the forefront of his mind.
While Dale worked, his wife and their two young children camped out in the surrounding woodlands. She posted in a brief essay on their site that the family was without electricity and a bathroom during the first three months of building. They also relied on solely candlelight for the same period of time.
Dale and his wife wanted to live a life like that of their ancestors. "There is something powerfully alluring in such natural buildings," the 32-year-old said on the home page of his site.
They aimed to coexist with nature by caring for the land around them, all the while reaping its benefits. With their project, the Dale family hoped to inspire others to strive for a similar, low-impact lifestyle.
Here's the finished result.
Here's the lovely family in front of the finished home.
The home had a compost toilet, solar panels, and was heated via a wood burner. The walls were made up of straw bale and lime plaster, which is a low-impact alternative to cement. The family's water supply came from a spring up the way.
The inside of the home is beautiful. It's clean, cozy and filled with natural light.
The Dale family has moved on from their Hobbit-like home, but they continue to build and spread their message.
Dale explained simply why he and his family live the way they do: "It's fun. Living your own life in your own way is rewarding. Following our dreams keeps our souls alive."