Architecture

Journey to the Shire: The very best hobbit holes

Journey to the Shire: The very...
Join us as we highlight the most interesting hobbit holes we've come across so far
Join us as we highlight the most interesting hobbit holes we've come across so far
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The low-impact hobbit hole by Simon Dale
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The low-impact hobbit hole by Simon Dale
Simon Dale's hobbit hole is situated in rural Wales, UK
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Simon Dale's hobbit hole is situated in rural Wales, UK
Simon Dale's home cost only £3,000 (US$4,314)
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Simon Dale's home cost only £3,000 (US$4,314)
There's no mains electricity inside, so Simon Dale got creative with the amenities
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There's no mains electricity inside, so Simon Dale got creative with the amenities
If you fancy having a crack at building something similar yourself, Simon Dale has the plans available for free via his website
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If you fancy having a crack at building something similar yourself, Simon Dale has the plans available for free via his website
United States-based dressmaker and tiny house expert Kristie Wolfe decided to turn her considerable talent toward creating a micro-community of hobbit holes
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United States-based dressmaker and tiny house expert Kristie Wolfe decided to turn her considerable talent toward creating a micro-community of hobbit holes
Kristy Wolfe's hobbit holes are based in Chelan, Washington (US)
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Kristy Wolfe's hobbit holes are based in Chelan, Washington (US)
Kristy Wolfe really made an effort to ensure the homes look the part
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Kristy Wolfe really made an effort to ensure the homes look the part
Kristy Wolfe's hobbit home micro-community is available to rent
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Kristy Wolfe's hobbit home micro-community is available to rent
United States-based dressmaker and tiny house expert Kristie Wolfe decided to turn her considerable talent toward creating a micro-community of hobbit holes
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United States-based dressmaker and tiny house expert Kristie Wolfe decided to turn her considerable talent toward creating a micro-community of hobbit holes
If you don't have the architectural skills of Kristy Wolfe or Simon Dale, perhaps Green Magic Homes would be of interest
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If you don't have the architectural skills of Kristy Wolfe or Simon Dale, perhaps Green Magic Homes would be of interest
Inside a Green Magic Home
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Inside a Green Magic Home
Each Green Magic Home kit comes with wooden doors and windows in addition to structural elements, while conduits and ducts for things like water and ventilation can also be added
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Each Green Magic Home kit comes with wooden doors and windows in addition to structural elements, while conduits and ducts for things like water and ventilation can also be added
Green Magic Homes cost $41.74 per sq ft, delivered
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Green Magic Homes cost $41.74 per sq ft, delivered
The Green Magic Home
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The Green Magic Home
US-based Wooden Wonders is a small family-run business that designs and produces hobbit homes to suit a variety of needs
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US-based Wooden Wonders is a small family-run business that designs and produces hobbit homes to suit a variety of needs
Wooden Wonders offers playhouses, chicken coops, sheds, cottages, and saunas which all follow the basic tenets set out by Tolkien's classic works
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Wooden Wonders offers playhouses, chicken coops, sheds, cottages, and saunas which all follow the basic tenets set out by Tolkien's classic works
Wooden Wonders is pretty flexible and will build a hobbit house suitable for above or below-ground dwelling
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Wooden Wonders is pretty flexible and will build a hobbit house suitable for above or below-ground dwelling
Inside a Wooden Wonders hobbit hole
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Inside a Wooden Wonders hobbit hole
A Wooden Wonders hobbit hole
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A Wooden Wonders hobbit hole
Vetsch Architektur has built over 90 hobbit-style homes around Switzerland
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Vetsch Architektur has built over 90 hobbit-style homes around Switzerland
Vetsch Architektur is responsible for the Earth House Estate Lättenstrasse, in Dietikon, Switzerland
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Vetsch Architektur is responsible for the Earth House Estate Lättenstrasse, in Dietikon, Switzerland
Comprising nine hobbit holes, ranging from three bedroom to seven bedroom dwellings, it's a veritable Shire and covers a plot of 4,000 sq m (43,055 sq ft)
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Comprising nine hobbit holes, ranging from three bedroom to seven bedroom dwellings, it's a veritable Shire and covers a plot of 4,000 sq m (43,055 sq ft)
A smaller example of Vetsch Architektur's work
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A smaller example of Vetsch Architektur's work
The homes have been built with sustainable principles in mind, including excellent insulation
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The homes have been built with sustainable principles in mind, including excellent insulation
Join us as we highlight the most interesting hobbit holes we've come across so far
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Join us as we highlight the most interesting hobbit holes we've come across so far
Inside the Green Dragon pub
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Inside the Green Dragon pub
When Peter Jackson spotted the Alexander Farm during an aerial search of the North Island, New Zealand, he knew he'd found the perfect location to bring The Lord Of The Rings to life
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When Peter Jackson spotted the Alexander Farm during an aerial search of the North Island, New Zealand, he knew he'd found the perfect location to bring The Lord Of The Rings to life
If you'd like to visit Hobbiton yourself, the tours start at NZD$79 (US$55) per adult
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If you'd like to visit Hobbiton yourself, the tours start at NZD$79 (US$55) per adult
You'll get a tour through all the movie locations and an explainer of how a beautiful patch of New Zealand farm was transformed into the Shire
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You'll get a tour through all the movie locations and an explainer of how a beautiful patch of New Zealand farm was transformed into the Shire
As the set was built out of easily damaged materials like polystyrene and untreated wood, it was rebuilt to be more structurally solid for The Hobbit
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As the set was built out of easily damaged materials like polystyrene and untreated wood, it was rebuilt to be more structurally solid for The Hobbit
The Hobbiton Movie Set is set on New Zealand's North Island
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The Hobbiton Movie Set is set on New Zealand's North Island
The Hobbit movie set
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The Hobbit movie set
When Peter Jackson spotted the Alexander Farm during an aerial search of the North Island, New Zealand, he knew he'd found the perfect location to bring The Lord Of The Rings to life
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When Peter Jackson spotted the Alexander Farm during an aerial search of the North Island, New Zealand, he knew he'd found the perfect location to bring The Lord Of The Rings to life
The New Zealand Army was contracted to build a road into the site
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The New Zealand Army was contracted to build a road into the site
Barberry hedges and trees were brought in and gardens were nurtured throughout winter
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Barberry hedges and trees were brought in and gardens were nurtured throughout winter
Thirty-seven hobbit holes were created with untreated timber, ply and polystyrene
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Thirty-seven hobbit holes were created with untreated timber, ply and polystyrene
Thatch on the pub and mill roofs was cut from rushes around the Alexander farm
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Thatch on the pub and mill roofs was cut from rushes around the Alexander farm

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit" wrote J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit. The Lord Of The Rings that followed – and the later movie adaptations of both – helped inspire a thriving community of architects and hobbyists hoping to create their own little slice of Middle Earth. Join us as we highlight the best hobbit holes we've seen so far.

Low-impact Hobbit Home – Simon Dale

If you fancy having a crack at building something similar yourself, Simon Dale has the plans available for free via his website
If you fancy having a crack at building something similar yourself, Simon Dale has the plans available for free via his website

This low-impact hobbit hole was designed and constructed by have-a-go architect Simon Dale with the help of his father in-law and some buddies. Situated in rural Wales, UK, the unique home cost only £3,000 (US$4,314) in total, and makes use of local and natural materials in an attempt to minimize its environmental impact.

There's no mains electricity available, so Dale got creative with the amenities. All juice is produced via a solar panel array, while a central skylight allows natural light to permeate inside. A wood burning stove provides warmth, water is pumped from a nearby spring, and the bathroom features a composting toilet. If you fancy having a crack at building something similar yourself, Dale has the plans available for free via his website.

Hobbit House micro-community – Kristie Wolfe

Kristy Wolfe's hobbit home micro-community is available to rent
Kristy Wolfe's hobbit home micro-community is available to rent

Dressmaker and tiny house expert Kristie Wolfe decided to turn her considerable talent toward creating a micro-community of hobbit holes built into a hillside in Chelan, Washington (US).

Wolfe really made an effort to make the homes look the part. They are accessed by a small hatch door and include suitably hobbit-like furniture, including a woodworking bench and tools to whittle wood. They operate off-grid using a solar power system paired to a battery array, while water is received from a nearby water tower (a water recycling system is also installed).

Wolfe's hobbit house is available to rent, and will also include a communal English pub-style kitchen with vegetable gardens and miniature ponies.

Hobbit House kit – Green Magic Homes

If you don't have the architectural skills of Kristy Wolfe or Simon Dale, perhaps Green Magic Homes would be of interest
If you don't have the architectural skills of Kristy Wolfe or Simon Dale, perhaps Green Magic Homes would be of interest

One does not simply build a hobbit hole – it takes a lot of hard work and expert knowledge. However, if you don't have the architectural skills of Kristy Wolfe or Simon Dale, perhaps Green Magic Homes could be of interest. The firm offers prefabricated modular structures that can be made to match buyers' specifications.

Each Green Magic Home kit comes with wooden doors and windows in addition to structural elements, while conduits and ducts for things like water and ventilation can also be added. The homes cost $41.74 per sq ft, delivered.

Hobbit Holes – Wooden Wonders

A Wooden Wonders hobbit hole
A Wooden Wonders hobbit hole

Wooden Wonders is a small family-run business that designs and produces hobbit holes to suit a variety of needs. It offers hobbit hole-styled playhouses, chicken coops, sheds, cottages, and saunas which all follow the basic tenets set out by Tolkien's classic works.

The firm is pretty flexible and will build a hobbit house suitable for above or below-ground dwelling, in various styles, materials and colors. Prices vary depending on what you're after, but the smallest chicken coop fetches $995, while its largest cottage comes in at $14,995.

Earth House Estate Lättenstrasse – Vetsch Architektur

Comprising nine hobbit holes, ranging from three bedroom to seven bedroom dwellings, it's a veritable Shire and covers a plot of 4,000 sq m (43,055 sq ft)
Comprising nine hobbit holes, ranging from three bedroom to seven bedroom dwellings, it's a veritable Shire and covers a plot of 4,000 sq m (43,055 sq ft)

Vetsch Architektur has built over 90 hobbit-style homes that range from small low-impact dwellings to much larger examples. The firm is also responsible for the impressive Earth House Estate Lättenstrasse, in Dietikon, Switzerland.

Comprising nine hobbit holes, ranging from three bedroom to seven bedroom dwellings, this "Shire" covers a plot of 4,000 sq m (43,055 sq ft). The interiors of the homes look positively luxurious, boasting roof dome lights for additional daylight, large open rooms, and plush furnishings. They have been built with sustainable principles in mind too, and include excellent insulation, passive cooling and solar panels for electricity.

Hobbiton Movie Set

As the set was built out of easily damaged materials like polystyrene and untreated wood, it was rebuilt to be more structurally solid for The Hobbit
As the set was built out of easily damaged materials like polystyrene and untreated wood, it was rebuilt to be more structurally solid for The Hobbit

When Peter Jackson spotted the Alexander Farm during an aerial search of the North Island, New Zealand, he knew he'd found the perfect location to bring The Lord Of The Rings to life. A massive construction project involving the New Zealand army then followed.

As the set was built out of easily damaged materials like polystyrene and untreated wood, it was rebuilt to be more structurally solid for The Hobbit films and now stands as a tourist attraction, open to visitors for tours.

If you'd like to visit Hobbiton yourself, the tours start at NZD$79 (US$55) per adult – kids can get in for free and youths cost NZD$39.50 (US$27.5). For that, you'll get a tour through all the movie locations and an explainer of how a beautiful patch of New Zealand farm was transformed into the Shire.

That rounds out our journey to Middle Earth. You can check out more photos of the hobbit holes in the gallery and please let us know in the comments if you live in a hobbit hole-style home or would like to.

1 comment
John Banister
I'm surprised at how many of these projects feature earth sheltered housing built out of wood, but I suppose that way they'll be naturally self composting over time.