The man that you see above is Simon Dale, a new home owner who did things differently. Dale, who obtained a free plot of hillside land in Wales, in the United Kingdom – he then spent four months building a “Hobbit house” for the very reasonable sum of £3,000 (about $4,700).
Dale, who had no experience in carpentry or architecture, built the home from the ground up with the help of his father-in-law, a builder. The timber-framed home uses plastic-covered straw bales for insulation. The walls are finished with lime plaster, as opposed to cement. A layer of earth covers the building and helps Dale’s home blend in with the surroundings.
Dale outlined the features of his home:
- Dug into hillside for low visual impact and shelter
- Stone and mud from diggings used for retaining walls, foundations etc.
- Frame of oak thinnings (spare wood) from surrounding woodland
- Reciprocal roof rafters are structurally and aesthaetically fantastic and very easy to do
- Straw bales in floor, walls and roof for super-insulation and easy building
- Plastic sheet and mud/turf roof for low impact and ease
- Lime plaster on walls is breathable and low energy to manufacture (compared to cement)
- Reclaimed (scrap) wood for floors and fittings
- Anything you could possibly want is in a rubbish pile somewhere (windows, burner, plumbing, wiring…)
- Woodburner for heating – renewable and locally plentiful
- Flue goes through big stone/plaster lump to retain and slowly release heat
- Fridge is cooled by air coming underground through foundations
- Skylight in roof lets in natural feeling light
- Solar panels for lighting, music and computing
- Water by gravity from nearby spring
- Compost toilet
- Roof water collects in pond for garden etc.