Architecture

Green-roofed Hobbit Hollow introduces Shire living to New York State

Green-roofed Hobbit Hollow int...
It took building engineer Jim Costigan six years of hard work to get Hobbit Hollow looking like this
It took building engineer Jim Costigan six years of hard work to get Hobbit Hollow looking like this
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We've seen a lot of self-built hobbit homes over the years, but this one, named the Hobbit Hollow, is definitely one of the better examples
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We've seen a lot of self-built hobbit homes over the years, but this one, named the Hobbit Hollow, is definitely one of the better examples
Hobbit Hollow is located in Pawling, New York
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Hobbit Hollow is located in Pawling, New York
Hobbit Hollow's interior isn't yet finished but includes some nice touches like a replica sword hanging over the fireplace
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Hobbit Hollow's interior isn't yet finished but includes some nice touches like a replica sword hanging over the fireplace
Skylights increase Hobbit Hollow's natural light inside 
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Skylights increase Hobbit Hollow's natural light inside 
With its low profile and green roof, Hobbit Hollow blends into the landscape very well 
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With its low profile and green roof, Hobbit Hollow blends into the landscape very well 
Though it's not an officially-certified Passive House, Costigan built Hobbit Hollow to conform to that famously stringent green building standard
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Though it's not an officially-certified Passive House, Costigan built Hobbit Hollow to conform to that famously stringent green building standard
It took building engineer Jim Costigan six years of hard work to get Hobbit Hollow looking like this
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It took building engineer Jim Costigan six years of hard work to get Hobbit Hollow looking like this
Hobbit Hollow is situated on 1.7 acres (0.68 hectare) of land, near a stream and a waterfall
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Hobbit Hollow is situated on 1.7 acres (0.68 hectare) of land, near a stream and a waterfall
Costigan has kept the Hobbit Hollow maintained at a constant 67 degrees Fahrenheit (19.4° C) and the electricity bills for the last year work out at roughly US$45 per month
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Costigan has kept the Hobbit Hollow maintained at a constant 67 degrees Fahrenheit (19.4° C) and the electricity bills for the last year work out at roughly US$45 per month
Hobbit Hollow is topped by a green roof 
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Hobbit Hollow is topped by a green roof 
Hobbit Hollow's roof also features a terraced area
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Hobbit Hollow's roof also features a terraced area
Hobbit Hollow's insulation is rated as R-60 in the roof and R-50 on the sidewalls 
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Hobbit Hollow's insulation is rated as R-60 in the roof and R-50 on the sidewalls 
Hobbit Hollow was mostly built with help from Costigan's children, wife, and friends
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Hobbit Hollow was mostly built with help from Costigan's children, wife, and friends
Quaint appearance aside, there's some serious engineering expertise behind Hobbit Hollow's design
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Quaint appearance aside, there's some serious engineering expertise behind Hobbit Hollow's design
Structurally, Hobbit Hollow consists of two parallel 16 inch (40.64 cm)-thick concrete walls running the length of the house supporting a reinforced concrete tapered slab that's 16 inches thick over the walls and 9 inches (22.96 cm)-thick over the peak of the roof
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Structurally, Hobbit Hollow consists of two parallel 16 inch (40.64 cm)-thick concrete walls running the length of the house supporting a reinforced concrete tapered slab that's 16 inches thick over the walls and 9 inches (22.96 cm)-thick over the peak of the roof
Hobbit Hollow's door couldn't be circular as it wouldn't conform to Passive House regulations, so Costigan masked the rectangular door with a circular frame
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Hobbit Hollow's door couldn't be circular as it wouldn't conform to Passive House regulations, so Costigan masked the rectangular door with a circular frame
Hobbit Hollow is not an officially-certified Passive House but Costigan built it to that famously stringent green building standard
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Hobbit Hollow is not an officially-certified Passive House but Costigan built it to that famously stringent green building standard
Hobbit Hollow's interior features a circular hallway
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Hobbit Hollow's interior features a circular hallway
Hobbit Hollow features efficient triple-glazed windows
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Hobbit Hollow features efficient triple-glazed windows
Hobbit Hollow's kitchen area
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Hobbit Hollow's kitchen area
Hobbit Hollow seems a lot lighter inside than you'd expect for a home of its type
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Hobbit Hollow seems a lot lighter inside than you'd expect for a home of its type
With its low profile and green roof, Hobbit Hollow blends into the landscape very well
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With its low profile and green roof, Hobbit Hollow blends into the landscape very well
Skylights increase Hobbit Hollow's natural light inside
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Skylights increase Hobbit Hollow's natural light inside

Building engineer Jim Costigan has spent decades constructing high-rises in Manhattan for a living. He's also spent a signifiant chunk of his spare time over the past six years putting his building experience to use realizing a passion project: a green-roofed energy-efficient hobbit home in New York State.

We've reported on a lot of self-built hobbit homes over the years, but this one, named Hobbit Hollow, is definitely one of the better examples and really looks the part. It's located in Pawling, New York, near a stream and waterfall, on 1.7 acres (0.68 hectare) of land.

"When I saw the Fellowship of the Ring and saw Bilbo Baggin's house (Bag End) I thought that that was one of the most original and unique pieces of architecture that I had ever seen," Costigan tells us. "Like this was completely off the charts, I thought that that would be one of the coolest things ever to live in. I went on the web trying to find one that was built but couldn't. So I built the original Hobbit Shed in my backyard for my lawn tractor (that's why my website is called My Hobbit Shed).

"Anyway I put it on the web and got a tremendous response to it. So I started to think about how to build a full scale one that you could live in. This is what I came up with. It's sort of for the modern day Bilbo Baggins who is concerned with climate change and all that other good stuff."

With its low profile and green roof, Hobbit Hollow blends into the landscape very well
With its low profile and green roof, Hobbit Hollow blends into the landscape very well

Hobbit Hollow was primarily built by Costigan himself during free weekends, with help from his children, wife, and friends. Its quaint appearance belies a considerable structure hidden beneath that green roof. This consists of two parallel 16 inch (40.64 cm)-thick concrete walls running the length of the house that support a reinforced concrete roof that's 16 inches thick over the walls and 9 inches (22.96 cm)-thick at it's peak.

The interior comprises a total floorspace of 1,500 sq ft (139 sq m), which is spread over two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, dining room, hallway, kitchen, and utility room. The home's interior isn't finished yet, but does have some nice touches already, including decorative patterned skylights and a replica sword hanging over the electric fireplace.

Hobbit Hollow's interior isn't yet finished but includes some nice touches like a replica sword hanging over the fireplace
Hobbit Hollow's interior isn't yet finished but includes some nice touches like a replica sword hanging over the fireplace

It's important to stress that Hobbit Hollow isn't an officially-certified Passive House, however Costigan built it to conform to the famously stringent green building standard. The home sports triple-glazed windows and its insulation is rated as R-60 in the roof and R-50 on the sidewalls.

Its air-tightness – which is a crucial measure of a Passive House and goes a long way to ensuring its energy-efficiency – is rated at 0.36 ACH (air changes per hour) at 50 Pascals following the standard air-tightness test. This will be a meaningless figure to many, but suffice to say it's a good level of air-tightness, and well within the Passive House requirement of 0.6 ACH.

The house is heated and cooled using a Mitsubishi Hyper heat pump. Costigan has kept the house at a temperature of 67 degrees Fahrenheit (19.4° C) constantly and the electricity bills for the last year average out at roughly US$45 per month. The home is hooked up to grid power, though it could also be outfitted to solar panels with relatively little fuss.

Structurally, Hobbit Hollow consists of two parallel 16 inch (40.64 cm)-thick concrete walls running the length of the house supporting a reinforced concrete tapered slab that's 16 inches thick over the walls and 9 inches (22.96 cm)-thick over the peak of the roof
Structurally, Hobbit Hollow consists of two parallel 16 inch (40.64 cm)-thick concrete walls running the length of the house supporting a reinforced concrete tapered slab that's 16 inches thick over the walls and 9 inches (22.96 cm)-thick over the peak of the roof

Hobbit Hollow is now up for sale, though no pricing has been revealed. As for the future, Costigan won't completely rule out building another hobbit home but indicated to us that it's unlikely.

Source: My Hobbit Shed

4 comments
nehopsa
There are various hobbit houses apparently advertised on the net. I do not understand: "I went on the web trying to find one that was built but couldn't." Some of them seem budget aware. This one is very sturdy - kind of bunker - with fortification defense budget. 16" inch concrete must come at a cost.
Username
The interior doesn't look at all like Bilbo's house. And the rectangular front door is a disaster.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
This is the kind of building you should see in the California dessert. You won't be able to find one there.
zeev
if this was worth anything, he wouldn't be selling it. you sell things that are not good. you keep the good stuff.