A Woodland Home That Isn’t Just For Hobbits


Everyone is all a buzz about the cute little “hobbit house” created in a rolling hillside. Not only is it attracting praise for its aesthetic, but its simplicity and sustainability as well.

After trying to move to the countryside and raise his first child with his wife, Simon Dale was put off by the price of mortgages, and was on the brink of renting a home when the family met a woman who told them they should try and build their own house. The family enjoyed the concept of being your own architect as well as the idea of being closer to nature. “Being your own have-a- go architect is a lot of fun and allows you to create and enjoy something which is part of yourself and the land rather than, at worst, a mass-produced box designed for maximum profit and convenience of the construction industry,” explains Dale.

The first ray of luck came upon them when a land owner gave them permission to use his land for free, as long as the family would look after the area. Dale built his woodland home with his father-in-law, friends, and even passersby. It only took a total of four months from start to finish until they were all moved in and settled.

Building the house only cost about 3,000 pounds, an amazing price to pay for your family’s first home. The main tools needed to build this cozy bungalow consisted of a chainsaw, shovel, chisel and a hammer. A number of reclaimed wood pieces were needed for the floor and roof construction, and the bulk of the home was made of stone, straw and sod. A wood burning fireplace heats the home, and the rest of the power is created from a solar panel. Even the refrigerator is cooled with air that flows from the under the home’s foundation. The result is an economical dream for the family. But even still, the process wasn’t all romance and fairy tales.

The family of four, which included two toddlers at the time, lived under canvas for weeks while the house was being built. There was rain, nights by candle light, no bathroom and no electricity. How does a family do it? Jasmin Saville, Simon Dale’s wife says, “I can assure you of a few things. Children like mud, diggers, tools, wood and candlelit extended camping. Mums hanker after cosy cafes and make frequent excursions to venues with warm, clean toilets. Children see materials taking form, observe the construction process and make a lot of connections; they see their parents being effective.  Everyone wonders at the nature of slug slime. Then one day you get a house.”

Saville admits there were definitely times of stress and exhaustion, but has absolutely no regrets and nothing but satisfaction. In fact, the family has since moved into their third self-built home and is active in the area of building projects such as an emerging “eco village” in Wales. The village emphasizes sustainable living on another level with a sense of community that includes low impact gardening, car sharing and integrating the living spaces of everyone involved.

You can find more details about just how the woodland home was built here.


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Irina Brenner
Irina Brenner5 years ago

I love it

LMj Sunshine
James merritt jr6 years ago


LMj Sunshine
James merritt jr6 years ago


Chrysta Stoutenger

Wow, that's so cool!! I had no idea that was a real house.

Duane B.
.6 years ago

Thank your for sharing.

Terry V.
Terry V6 years ago


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson7 years ago

too cool. i love it. id just need space for my books and crochet stuff. pretty sure my bf would die without xbox.. hmmm.. an idea..

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe7 years ago

The house pictured is really cool and I would love to see the whole thing!!

My husband plans to retire next year and wants to go into an apartment or something so that he won't have to cut grass anymore! I don't think I'd be able to talk him into building a Hobbit house!!

char l.
Past Member 7 years ago

When we bought our 20 acres, we were going to finish one of those 500 sq. ft. portable cabins to live in. After a year, it is going away. I got tired of the work, the lack of amenities, and the lack of space. We now have a 1350 sq. ft. double wide (used) that makes me feel like I have a mansion, LOL.

I think cozy is good, and by US standards, we have a cozy house. (When my thrift store sofa arrived, I realized that the huge living room really isn't, LOL.) It is well insulated, and seems pretty energy efficient.

I had gotten clinically depressed living in the cabin, and part of it had to have been a lack of windows. It had 4 windows - small ones - and two 9 lite doors, which we thought was okay for the size. Nah. The new house has HUGE windows and is oriented for east and west light, rather than north/south as the cabin was.

I think that, just as animals become testy and/or depressed if they don't have enough room, people can, too. I think making an effort to be energy efficient is good, but people also need a modicum of space. I love the style of these "Hobbit houses", but the size not so much. I'm not a Hobbit, I'm a people.

And after just trying to "finish" an already framed building, I have NO desire to build one from scratch. I'm good at doing stuff, but a whole abode is too overwhelming.

Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright7 years ago

I would love to live in something like this.....sure is a lot nicer than the crap they build or used to build.