Our Hobbit Hole.Com Forum Index Our Hobbit Hole.Com
Our Project to Build and Live in a Hobbit Hole
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Okay, lets design a Hobbit Hole

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Our Hobbit Hole.Com Forum Index -> How to Start Building
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message

Joined: 30 Jun 2007
Posts: 19
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:45 pm    Post subject: Okay, lets design a Hobbit Hole Reply with quote

I think Log Rhythms, Inc., my design company is going to go ahead and design a hobbit home...with or without permission from the Tolkein Lawyers. Of course we can't call it "Hobbit" because that is an infringement on copyright. So from here on out it will be called "earth sheltered", people sized, built to code, practical, and not in-expensive. Our goal will be to take a flat piece of ground and build or at least design (including virtual walk-thrus) of a comfortable earthsheltered home. No short-cuts, goofy glass bottled walls, un-likley energy sources....none of that. Something that is totally cool...and works! And works for a long time. for me that means access to utilities, ease of maintanence, appreciation, quality building materials, and quality art and craftsmanship.

Okay, the gauntlet it thrown.... I will keep you posted of developements. If you have any thoughts about basic design, materials, considerations, pitfalls.....let me know.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Site Admin

Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:06 pm    Post subject: Large concrete pipes? Reply with quote

I think the easiest way to get a quick and dirty hobbit hole would be to bury large inter-connected pieces of concrete pipes. I mean using huge water-drainage pipes that are 15 feet or more in diameter in various shapes, then sealing them together with pitch to make them water-tight and burying them underground. Then once the outer shell is completed, building a more cozy wooden interior. I'd probably want to build bookshelves and storage into the curved walls on the side, and a curved wooden ceiling to preserve the rounded shape.

Building a raised wooden floor with trapdoor access would allow you to run all your interior plumbing and wiring in the bottom curved portion of the pipe afterwards with easy access while creating a flat floor. You could probably even heat the air in the enclosed conduit so the floor would be warm and put in vents so the heat could rise up to warm the living quarters above.

I guess the main question would be how difficult it would be to cut the concrete piping, and figuring out how well structural integrity would be maintained depending on how many cuts you make for windows, doors, and skylights. I'd want a full lawn on top of the dirt covering the pipe to prevent erosion, but you'd probably have to be careful to keep trees or anything with strong root systems from developing, or they might crack the cement eventually.

Anyone else have ideas for a simple main structure?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Joined: 22 Mar 2008
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You really don't want to cut the concrete pipe. You want to order the concrete pipe with whatever tees, flanges, and connections you need already integrated during manufacture. All joints should be lap joints, not butt joints.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 26 Apr 2008
Posts: 3
Location: Tidewater area of Virginia

PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:11 pm    Post subject: Large Pipe Reply with quote

Having installed many pieces of the larger sizes of pre-cast concrete pipe I can assure you that IT IS NOT THE WAY TO GO. First off, the larger sizes of pipe - cylindrical - over 8 ft. in diameter - and the larger sizes of elliptical - say over 10 feet (long dimension) are not cheap. Second - and probably more important - this stuff is very, very heavy. A piece of elliptical pipe large enough for a room weighs several thousand pounds per lineal foot - and they come in standard 8 ft. lengths. Without cutting a standard piece of pipe, or order a custom length, the rooms with be 8, 16 or 24 feet long x the width of the pipe. For the full-size sections, you would need to rent a very large capacity crane (100 tons or greater) to place these pipes. The trucks that transport them would need to be able to drive right up next to where they need to be placed as extra handling is time consuming and expensive.

The ground under the pipe would need to be able to support far more than the weight of a conventional house. We are talking about several hundred pounds per square foot empty. In heavy construction, we often need to place 2 to 4 feet of stone under the pipe - and it still ends up settling a little. For a dwelling, where the floors stayed level and did not move out of alignment, it would be required to place a reinforced concrete footing under the pipe - an additional cost.

This large pipe has very thick walls - at least 10 inches, and some of the largest elliptical pipe has a wall thickness of over a foot. It is designed to be buried just a few feet under a road carrying a few score tons. It can also be buried 20 feet below grade and then backfilled and compacted. It is way over designed for the purpose of using it for a dwelling buried with 2 to 5 feet of dirt with grass on top.

While the concept is very good, the actual use would cost hundreds of dollars per square foot of living space before any of the interior was finished. I toyed with this method myself a few years back, and found it to be just too expensive for materials and labor and equipment.

I have wanted to build a "bag-end" style house for some time, and I have spent the last few years researching the various building methods that could work. I have come to the conclusion, that the cheapest (in material cost) and the most reasonable in terms of labor, is to build with ferrocement using high strength wire mesh and high strength mortar.

For this type of construction, on hi-tensile steel welded wire mesh and #4 (half inch) rebar is used - with expanded metal lathe on the inside for a better finish. Chicken wire must never - ever be used for ferrocement construction for any dwelling that will be backfilled - it just isn't strong enough. The mortar strength should be at least 8,000 psi. With several layers of mesh (4 x 4 - 9 GA) plus #4 rebar 12 inches on center each way - with a finished thickness of 2.75 to 3 inches, you would have enough strength to support at least 5 feet of lightly compacted soil over the structure.

One great advantage of ferrocement construction is that the individual components are relatively easy to handle. The individual rebar pieces can be handled by one person, or better a couple - and the wire mesh, which is supplied in 5 x 10 ft sheets can be trimmed and placed over the rebar after the basic shape of the structure has been determined.

Also, with ferrocement - you will be able to replicate the basic design of Bag end including the high (in hobbit scale) vaulted arches in some rooms and the rounded sections of the connecting halls.

If the area is available, it would also be better for general living - and may be required by code - to have all of the rooms along the same line - straight or curved - so they all have at least one window. Imagine that after entering bag end - instead of only being able to turn left and having rooms on each side of the back hallway, they was another hallway and row of rooms on the right of the entry. Only a few closets, pantries and storage rooms need be on "the backside" of the dwelling with no windows. The "back hall" could extend each way with an additional entry/exit door at each end. Thus, when looking at the "hill. there would be a main entrance at 6 o'clock, with an additional door at 2 or 3 and one at 9 or 10 - depending on the curve of the hill, etc.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger

Joined: 19 Aug 2009
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting vid here Dug outs in Az


Also have you seen my other thread in introductions about burying a mobile park home?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 26 Apr 2008
Posts: 3
Location: Tidewater area of Virginia

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:54 am    Post subject: Cost of concrete pipe for a hobbit hole Reply with quote

It has been a long time since my last post. I finished the draw bridge I was building and am now working on a few large reinforced concrete buildings for a government scientific facility.

My design for a "Hobbit Hole" is close to finished. I will be building with thin shell concrete as I indicated in my earlier post. I have purchased a 41 acre tract of land on north east Arizoan - up on the Colorado Plateau. The land is arid (less lan 11 inches of rain and 18 inches of snow per year) there is a good aquifer and my well should be able to irrigate a few acres. My intention is not to replicate the Shire as seen in the movie or described in the book. Of course if I could afford to move to some semi-remote area in North or West Yorkshire or maybe Cornwall away from the coast - I would do that. In any case, I will have a nice area for a kitchen garden and after the house is backfilled, I will plant grass on the hill over the roof.

The basic design for my Hobbit Hole will be a cross between the illustrations in the various books, the description in "The Hobbit" and the Bag End that Peter Jackson created for the LOTR movie. I am trying to replicate the Entry Hall and Front Door, the Parlour, the Study and the Kitchen as closely as possible.

The back hall, bedrooms, and guest bedrooms will be a design of my own with some inspiration from the movie Bag End as well as some of the different illustrations done for the books, etc. It will be built on a radius, mostly facing south - with the entry door in the center - with rooms to the left and the right of the entry hall. All rooms will have at least one window. This does not include the laundry, pantry or any storage rooms or the back hall.

The majority of the floors in regular rooms will be stamped concrete - colored with mineral pigments. Only the bathrooms are to have tile floors. The back hall and storage rooms and pantry will have plain concrete - hard troweled. I am leaning toward a brick floor in the kitchen. There will be a working fireplace in each regular room. Modern heating will be zoned underfloor hydronic heating with solar collectors on the top of the hill with propane back-up. I may also install heating coils in the back of the parlour fireplace.

My Bag End is to be built from thin shell reinforced concrete will be very labour intensive, and my son and myself, along with the help of a few close friends will esentially be free. there will be some laborcosts - mainly the placement of shotcrete and the plasterers to finish the interior as it is applied. The materiels cost for the entire complex (current iteration) should be upwards of $80,000.

I am planning on a 2 year time period for all construction. I also plan of it taking half-again as much time as I have estimated. I will be doing alot of preparation before hand - building window frames, door, cabinets, and other details before I start construction on the shell. I have also made up plans for some of the Hobbit inspired furnishings - although they are actually very similar to Mission Style of craftsman Style - with a little extra ornamentation and carving. I do plan on building most of the furniture ahead of time as well, and using in my current home.

This will be my retirement home with 1 main bedroom, 2 guest rooms, a study, a living room (Parlour) a kitchen, a dining room, a large entry, s small side entry, a laundry room, a large pantry with root cellar and 3 full-size bathrooms and a small half-bath.

For those who still think concrete pipe is the way to go consider this:

Precast circular concrete pipe - 96 inch i.d. = 8 ft. length - Class II (thinest) Weight per 8 ft. length = 24,000 lbs. cost per ft. = $310 = $2,480 + shipping and installation

Precast concrete elliptical pipe - 116 inches high x 180 inches wide x 8 ft. length - Weight per 8 ft. section = 58,000 lbs. Thickness of wall = 13 inches. Cost = $742 per ft. = $5,936 + shipping and installation

Please keep in mind that the transportation of this heavy pipe - often either 2 - 4 per load for 96" pipe or just a single piece of the large elliptical pipe cost several dollars per mile. There is also the cost of having a large crane to unload and place the pipe. Ideally, the base/foundation for the pipe will already be prepared so the pipe can be unloaded and placed directly in its final position. Handling it twice will increase costs dramatically. The road to the home site must be capable of handling a heavily laden multi axle tractor trailer combination. If they get stuck, you pay for getting thm out and the time the truck is not availble for other deliveries. Also, your crane has to get to the site, and they cost hundreds of dollars per hour.

Large pipe also requires specialized lifting slings that cost $ to rent. Multiply the cost of several sections of pipe, along with site work and foundations, placing, sealing joints, cutting openings for windows, and backfilling - you are looking at upwards of $150,000 for the cost of materials and installation for a modest size Hobbit Hole - and you have not spent a cent for the interior - floors, plumbing, electrical, A/C & heat, fireplaces, appliances, wall finishes, etc. I have made detailed estimates for a 1,600 sq. ft. earth sheltered "Hobbit Hole" made up of pre-cast concrete pipe and sewer structures that run around $350,000. That could be shaved down to around $290,000 with lots of sweat equity and lower quality interior finishes. I estimate that my "Bag End" - at over 3,500 sq. ft. - will end up costing about $160,000. "all-up" with a great deal of sweat equity.

I hope to have a basic sketch scanned and posted in the next few months. I will not release final drawings (without details) until the permits have been granted and the project has been started. I do plan of having a completed set of drawings with all specifications stamped by a registered professional civil enginer available for sale when the house is completed. My house is designed for 5 to 8 feet of earth cover.

I will try to make regular postings as time and circumstances permit.

Wishing you all good health and a happy life, I remain, C. W.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger

Joined: 14 Apr 2011
Posts: 3
Location: Hornsea, East Yorkshire

PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

just a quick thought, would contacting WETA Workshop and seeing if they would make usuable hobbit furniture be a possibility???
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 26 Apr 2008
Posts: 3
Location: Tidewater area of Virginia

PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:58 am    Post subject: Hobbit style furnishings Reply with quote

I have actually made up some drawings for hobbit style furniture by using still photos from the movie. I hope to be able to put out a few "big folk" size chairs and tables based on those drawings for the house. I also like Craftsman style and Mission style furnishings and I think with a little embelishment, they would be very appropriate for a hobbit house. I have about 600 board feet of tropical hardwoods left over from a boat project that will do nicely I should think. Maybe a nice desk like the one in Bilbo's study made from African Cherry or African Mahogany. I want to build my bed out of Peruviam Walnut. I already have a big trestle dining table that seats 8 that is made from clear White Oak that will go in the dining room.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Yahoo Messenger

Joined: 18 Aug 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is important to note that the designs of the hobbit homes in the movies falls under the artist license not Tolkien's. Hobbit on the other hand is. People have been making plowed earth structures similar to these for ages so borrowing the design is far from illegal. Though I bet they are very efficient homes and would love to see a finished one.
Indianapolis roofing contractors
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 21 Sep 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's hard to imagine being sued for calling your home a Hobbit Hole. This is positive publicity for the book writers and movie makers and would only add to their revenue.
earth homes
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Our Hobbit Hole.Com Forum Index -> How to Start Building All times are GMT - 4 Hours
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group