Monday, October 10, 2011

Hobbit House Built for $4650

Of course his labor is not costed in nor is anything approaching a real cost for the wood is attained.  Otherwise he has tossed together a worthy reinvention of traditional housing methods.  Even most traditional housing goes awry by actually attempting to provide the odd flat surface.

Field stone walls are massive, assembled with lime mortar and generally serviceable for single story construction.  It was used extensively by pioneers where field rock is a problem to begin with.  What it does not provide is much of a flat surface nor is it insulated.  Banking earth against them is probably a great way to provide extra insulation and appear to be the case here.

It appears that straw bales were used under the floor to provide insulation there.  All to the good.  The real problem will be the critter problem.  It is surely rodent heaven.

It is a reminder though just how removed we are from so called natural housing methods and more importantly how far removed from actually living in these types of structures.

There is a real demand for the equivalent in housing without the natural and the aggravation that will bring.  We just have not tried to do it using modern materials.  It also needs to be done cheaply without throwing away modern quality concerns.

low-impact Hobbit home only cost US$4,650 to build

13:35 October 5, 2011

Simon Dale, with the help of his father in-law, has single-handedly built this low impact Hobbit house in the woodlands of West Wales. The eco-house, which rose from a muddy hole in the ground and took three months to complete, came in at under US$5,000 (GBP3,000) - demonstrating that you don't need to be architectural school graduate to come up with the goods. There's no need to be envious, however, because Dale will give you the plans and know-how to build your very own.

Dale calls himself a "have a go architect" and he is proud of his family home made from local oak wood, stone and mud retaining walls, and straw baling for insulation.

"Some past experience, lots of reading and self-belief gave us the courage of our conviction that we wanted to build our own home in natural surroundings" says Dale.

The house has been built from local and natural materials, with a goal of having as little impact on the environment as possible. Lime plaster was used to coat the interior walls, which provides a breathable and greener solution to cement. Scrap wood was used for the flooring and fittings, a wood burner has been fitted to heat the house, and the fridge is cooled by underground air flow. A central skylight allows natural light to filter throughout the eco-house, and solar panels are used to generate electricity. Water is pumped from a nearby spring and the bathroom features a compost toilet, whilst rain water is collected from the roof for garden use.

Evidently the success of his woodland home is just the beginning for Dale, who is currently building his next project as part of the first authorized low-impact ecovillage in Wales. The ecovillage is an initiative of the Lammas Organization, which promotes the development of eco-housing and low-impact lifestyles.

You can check out the plans to Simon Dale's Hobbit House on his website.

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