Our Hobbit Hole.Com Project History Enter the Forums Info and Links
What's been going on recently here?
See the forums for News Updates and our newsletter!
How did this website start ?
This website started on 12/16/2004, dedicated to blogging the fact that my wife and I would like to build and live in a Hobbit Hole one day. Below are a few of the original news posts. The current update on this project is farther down on this page, so you can click here to skip down to read it.
I have spoken with my wife and we are certain we can do this. My father-in-law would like to be our architect, and we will be discussing ideas with him over our Christmas visit to Massachusetts. I'm just creating the site now, designed to be as small as possible. Once completed, I will try to get posted on Slashdot.org and a few other sites. Hopefully my webhosting company can survive it and stay up.
I simplified a few of our previous sketches into a final sketch on paper, then created a simple concept sketch and converted it to gif format. Sorry if it's not detailed enough, but I was aiming for fast load times in the event of high traffic to the site. You can find it on the More Info & Links page here.
We've got links on a number of messageboards and related sites and are still working on increasing our hits. Thanks for the input we've already gotten from a few of you! At this point it's important to get the word out and try to make this project happen through publicity. Please donate for free just by telling your friends if you think they'd be interested! Thanks!
Today we have been linked from theonering.net, madville.com and a number of other livejournals and hobbit-related sites! Traffic has more than doubled, and we have received our first donations! Thanks to Kira and to Liz Haaheim! Thanks to everyone else for your feedback and interest in this project! You'll notice I moved the progress bar to the top of this page so it's faster for everyone to check. Updating as often as I can and trying to respond to every email personally, but I'll likely soon fall behind! Our hits: Day 1: 11, Day 2: 53, Day 3: 197, Day 4: 2518!!!
We've got a link from fark.com! Plenty more feedback, mostly positive! As for the negative feedback - if you don't believe in a project, then go about your normal surfing and forget that others are excited about it and enjoying it. Many people have voiced their love of this project, so we are convinced that its success will benefit many more people than just ourselves! We're thinking about offering tours once a month, so perhaps the tourism department of Queen Anne's County, Md would be interested in funding us as well and we can share the fun of the finished project! :)
Our site's Day 4 had about 2500 visits, but Day 5, yesterday, had more like 22,500 visits! Friends are definitely telling friends, so keep up the good work! I updated the 'Donate' link to say 'Donate $5' to make it clear that we're not asking much, and every little bit helps! Thanks to Ben for the suggestion! I've added a new question about materials in the More Info & Links section, since many have asked and it's a good question! We also received our first true hate mail, so now we *know* we're official! To that special individual, I'd just like to say that our love life is fine and thanks for asking! Now could that boy's mother *please* monitor his internet usage from now on? :)
So what has happened since to this website?
As you can see, when we started, we had explosive growth due to the creative nature of the project and all of the attention the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was getting at the time. As time went on, the growth slowed, though those reading this page now can appreciate that we are linked to from a myriad of sites across the internet. I tried changing the site format to a wiki, so that visitors could read information on earth-sheltered homes and building techniques, but spammers quickly overwhelmed us.
In the meantime, we decided to purchase a traditional house as an investment, and a means to get out of our apartment. The housing market in the Kent Island area of Maryland was heating up so much that we would soon be priced out of the market, since my single income alone could only finance us for the smallest percentage of houses. We found a small house just east of the island which was perfect for us, and our situation improved from the aggravations we had with neighbors in the apartment. We filled out all the necessary paperwork, and after a lengthy appeals process were able to have Tania officially recognized as being disabled by her juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Now we've settled in and are doing our best to save towards our Hobbit Hole, which has become a long term project for us.
What is the current purpose of this website?
I hope that this site can become something akin to a "How To Build Your Own Hobbit Hole" collection of resources. We've been contacted by so many people who have knowledge on so many varied aspects of construction and financing, that our hope is to bring them together. Many other people have contacted us asking for help in their own Hobbit Hole projects, and we hardly have all the answers, but can at least point them in the right direction or help them find people who do. A few people have even contacted us who have their own small Hobbit Holes, or similar earth-sheltered homes, so we would like to attract their information and pictures documenting their own experiences to help support others in their goals.
Since we still get a steady flow of traffic to this day, so I've decided to update the site and add forums in hopes of attracting a community of people interested in Tolkien's books, earth-sheltered construction, and sharing information on other kinds of alternative construction as described above. Now that I work a more-than-full-time job, and my wife is disabled, our time is limited as administrators. Hopefully we'll find some like-minded individuals who can help us keep this site thriving as we slowly work towards our goal of building our own Hobbit Hole and try to help others along the way.
What is a Hobbit Hole?
In the words of its inventor:
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots of lots of pegs for hats and coats -- the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill -- The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it -- and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another. No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, diningrooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the lefthand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden, and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river.
- J. R. R. Tolkien, "The Hobbit"
So what inspired this project? And why do you want to move out?
As you have probably detected by now, my wife and I are huge fans of the The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings series, and other books about the fantastic realm of Middle Earth created by J. R. R. Tolkien. While things have improved for us with my new job, and we currently live in a house just off of Kent Island, this is still our dream house. While we like our current house, in any house you're going to have noise and pay a lot for heating and air conditioning, and our current one is no exception.
What are the advantages of an underground home?
Most can be found in the FAQ section or Why Earth section on Davis Caves, but I'll reiterate a few of the most appealing ones. An Earth Sheltered home (ie: Hobbit Hole) is extremely low-maintenance. There is no roof to repair, no breakdown of foundation or walls, no rust or rotting. The primary part exposed to the outside world is the cement, which is sheltered from the heat and cold by the ground. The interior wooden panelling and floors would be stained and polished, and if kept dry, should last well beyond our lifetimes. Less power is needed for heating and cooling, since the earth does not change temperature quickly and *never freezes*. It also makes for a much more attractive outside, since the surrounding lawn and even hill overtop is all usable landscape for our kids to play on someday.
Are you die-hard environmentalists?
No, not really. I mean we don't like polluting and we think recycling is a good idea, but those aren't the main reasons behind this project. We just want a unique home straight out one of our favorite fiction fantasy worlds, to be our retreat from the outside world. We're actually quite huge geeks and fans of technology. Between the two of us we have plenty of geeky devices acquired over the years via E-bay and such. Broadband Internet access will be a must, since we both are online a great deal. If you want to know more about us, you can bore yourself with our livejournals, mine and my wife's.
How can I contribute?
If you'd like to contribute financially, then click on the Paypal donation button below and chip in as little or as much as you'd like. The money is set aside in a savings account and we occasionally add to it through public donations but mostly through our own money set aside towards our dream house. If you'd like to contribute by sharing your knowledge, feel free to visit our Forums.
All contents found on this website, unless otherwise specified, are (c) 2004 Robert H. Harrison
I believe the single picture is public domain. If it's not, let us know. It is a lovely picture, though.