Inspired by the earth-sheltered tiny homes, often called Hobbit Houses, created by Simon Dale and others, designer, dressmaker and tiny house expert Kristie Wolfe is building a micro-community of three houses in Chelan, Washington. The first Hobbit Home is complete, and Wolfe hopes to have the other two done by the middle of 2016.
Wolfe’s Hobbit House is located on a 5.5 acre plot, and built into the mountainside so completely that it could be easy to miss on first glance. Visitors reach the small garden through a wattle fence and gate, and enter the home via a round door that Wolfe made from a large cable spool.
The inside, a total of just 288 sq ft of floorspace, is split between a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and living area. The interior design is based on the concept that it’s actually a home for a Hobbit carpenter, and design touches include cordwood floor, bespoke lighting, and even a woodworking bench and tools to whittle wood.
The home is completely off-grid, and the power system consists of three 100 watt solar panels, an inverter, and two 6-volt batteries. Water is delivered to a nearby water tower that feeds the home, while waste goes into a septic tank. A gray water system filters and redistributes waste water to the grass. Heating comes in the form of a propane fireplace in the living room.
“We made the building super sturdy to withstand the weight of being buried,” explains Wolfe. “2×6 studs on 12-inch centers and 3/4-inch marine plywood. Then we wrapped the exterior with Certainteed ice guard and house wrap and also used a moisture guard insulation by Certainteed as well to combat any water issues we might experience being underground. There’s also a French drain around the whole perimeter. Plus since there a heap of soil on all but one side it is incredibly well insulated and super quiet inside.”