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article imageMan builds low-impact woodland hobbit house for under $5000

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By Kev Hedges     Sep 22, 2011 in Environment
A man has built a home on a hillside in Wales reminiscent of a hobbit house straight out of JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings – all constructed from start to finish on a budget of £3,000 ($4,620).
Simon Dale's home is a woodland construction that took just four months to build and the low-impact, environmentally-friendly home now allows his family to live close to nature.
The home, built with the help of his father-in-law and volunteers, is dug into the hillside for low-visual impact and shelter from the elements. The framework is made of spare oak fallen from nearby woodland. The reciprocal roofing makes the home safe and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The walls and flooring are insulated with straw bales to keep the Welsh winter elements at bay and the roof was made with mud and then turf finish with a plastic sheeting base.
The inside of Simon Dale s home lit by candlelight
The inside of Simon Dale's home lit by candlelight
www.simondale.net
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Wide angle from (open plan) kitchen
Wide angle from (open plan) kitchen
www.simondale.net
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The fireplace and the inside balcony. All wood here
The fireplace and the inside balcony. All wood here
www.simondale.net
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Mr Dale used lime plaster as opposed to concrete and reclaimed wood for flooring. The hobbit-style house also has a skylight allowing natural light to feed in. But one thing Bilbo Baggins would not have had access to, is the solar panelling; Dale can now enjoy lighting, music and use his computer. There is even running water which flows from a nearby spring, reports Yahoo Finance News.
Mr Dale admits he has no real experience in the building trade:
I am not a builder or carpenter, my experience is only having a go at one similar house 2yrs before and a bit of mucking around in-between. This kind of building is accessible to anyone. 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.
View from inside on the balcony
View from inside on the balcony
www.simondale.net
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The inside of Simon Dale s hobbit home
The inside of Simon Dale's hobbit home
www.simondale.net
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The have-a-go architect admits it was a lot of fun and being able to create your own style from natural materials was very self-satisfying, he says on his website. And he blasted developers' style saying, "Building from natural materials does away with producer's profits and the cocktail of carcinogenic poisons that fill most modern buildings". Dale's wife camped in the nearby countryside while he completed his home, moving in only when Dale had completed the timber framework and roofing.
East window inside
East window inside
www.simondale.net
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Dale is currently helping out on a new project to build a new home in the Pembrokeshire countryside as part of the Lammas project – The first "eco-village" authorised by the Welsh government.
Once built the finishing touches were applied consisting of fairy-lights, wooden furniture, dream-catchers and colourful flowers – picked by the children from the wood. Dale and family can then relax with home-made bread and home-brew beer in true Baggins-style.
Family portrait
Family portrait
www.simondale.net
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The low-impact structure is not the only hobbit house in Wales: In the north of Wales there lies a tiny eco-village of seven dwellings hidden in an oak forest clearing by a little white river that cascades down to the nearby lake (Llyn Padarn).
The fairytale village has been described as "insanely jaw-droopingly beautiful" - The Cae Mabon Eco-Retreat Centre is set in the Snowdonia National Park at the foot of Elidir Fawr: a cool blue mountain lake with views of the peaks of Moel Eilio and to the east the summit of Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales. Up to thirty people can stay here in the seven huts and chalets enjoying song, dance, poetry and storytelling while experiencing yoga, healing and therapeutic workshops. Even some corporate intensives send its city-slickers here to help improve creativity and communication.
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