Join 3,514 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"Hobbit House"
December 17, 2012 6:18 AM   Subscribe

"A lifelong fan of The Lord of the Rings, for the last 50 years [Vince Donovan] has been amassing an enormous collection of all things J.R.R. Tolkien. So much so, he hired an architect to design a house to contain it."
posted by gladly (18 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's gorgeous. Too bad it's not earth-covered.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:24 AM on December 17, 2012


Other hobbit house. My favorite.

I like plenty of things half as well as I should like, but like half of them half as well as they deserve. No but seriously, much as I might fancy myself a fanboy, when I see a real one in action, it completely creeps me out. Am I the only one? There seems to be a real celebration of fanaticism these days, and maybe I'm just a cynic, but I don't think this is because "culture" honestly believes fanaticism is an appropriate outlet for energy. I just think they're trying to sell con tickets and loot. And so I see someone like this who has purchased every replica everything from SkyMall and I just think "duuuuuuude. no. step away from the pipeweed."
posted by jph at 6:38 AM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


So are you criticizing the house or the collectibles within?

Personally, I love seeing architectural attempts to build a Bag End....even if I have yet to see a successful attempt. I mean, c'mon, people, IT'S RIGHT THERE IN THE MOVIES.

As a cool factoid I learned the other day, Peter Jackson and his partner, Fran Walsh use the set from the first Bag End as a guest house...which makes me wish desperately to somehow get to know the couple and to be invited to come stay with them. Sighs longingly
posted by Atreides at 6:46 AM on December 17, 2012


Let's not forget The Shire in Oregon (now rebranded Forest Creek).

Previously (but none of those bendshire.com links work).
posted by Madamina at 7:06 AM on December 17, 2012


I always see the hobbit doors done as circles, but is that from the text itself? Or the illustrations/movies?
posted by DU at 7:17 AM on December 17, 2012


DU: Excerpt from the Hobbit:

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 and 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, dining-rooms, 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.

The real Hobbit houses are probably the landscape Tolkien grew up in and was surrounded by: The English countryside from Birmingham to Oxford. I'm always reminded of hobbit homes when I see the thatched roof cottages of the Cotswolds.
posted by vacapinta at 7:24 AM on December 17, 2012


From the first page: "It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle."
posted by jbickers at 7:25 AM on December 17, 2012


What I do not understand is that all of these failed attempts start from the concept of building a house. You start a hobbit home by tunneling into a hill. 1) buy a nice hill 2) start digging.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:42 AM on December 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm less creeped out by the house than the collectibles. Everyone's gotta have somewhere to call home and if someone wants to create something fanciful, then more power to them. It sure beats another stucco monstrosity of a townhouse. It's just the obsessive nature of fanaticism that bugs me. I guess I see it as a vulnerability that is being exploited. It is difficult for me to watch in the same way that I hate seeing smokers targeted by Big Tobacco. They're at the mercy of their corporate overlords, who hold them tight in the shackles of their own obsession/addiction.
posted by jph at 7:44 AM on December 17, 2012


This is really not as unusual as all that, of course -- there was a distinct fad in the US for what is variously called Storybook, Fairytale, or Cinderella architecture, itself an extreme interpretation of the English cottage revival that was one of the expressions of the revival-architecture trend (see also: French Provincial, English Tudor, Spanish) of the 1920s and 1930s.
posted by dhartung at 7:54 AM on December 17, 2012


Building an up-to-code dwelling into a hill is going to be expensive. Elaborate ventilation systems with redundant power, steel reinforcement, lots of doors and passages for fire egress, custom everything.
posted by MattD at 8:22 AM on December 17, 2012


According to the LoTR prologue, hobbits in the Shire mostly lived above ground in houses. Exceptions were the very poor and the one percenters like Bilbo. "A preference for round windows, and even round doors, was the chief remaining peculiarity of hobbit-architecture".
posted by Manjusri at 9:33 AM on December 17, 2012


Building an up-to-code dwelling into a hill is going to be expensive. Elaborate ventilation systems with redundant power, steel reinforcement, lots of doors and passages for fire egress, custom everything.

So you're saying it can be done. We break ground on Tuesday!
posted by Atreides at 9:53 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


It looks so cozy.
posted by cooker girl at 10:16 AM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hobbit architecture may be a poor choice for a neighborhood in Bend, but what about as a motel in New Zealand? Surely there's a place for an upscale, family-friendly hobbit-themed motel somewhere in NZ's countryside. There are only two hobbit movies left, people, get on it! (Rivendell could also be very cool)
posted by Green Winnebago at 10:18 AM on December 17, 2012


Everyone needs a hobby.
posted by sammyo at 10:18 AM on December 17, 2012


Fanboy or no, I've got to say that a wealthy dude building a 600 square foot house is pretty cool, and worth emulating. (Although there's no word on whether this is his ONLY house. . . )
posted by dlugoczaj at 10:18 AM on December 17, 2012


It's definitely not his only house. It's ostensibly a beautiful curio cabinet since in one of the pieces I read (there are a few versions of Crimmins' piece) this house has neither a kitchen nor a bathroom.
Of course, the house can be fanciful because it doesn't have to be practical. The $150,000 cottage has no bathroom, no kitchen, no bedroom and no plumbing. The only thing to do in here is imagine.

Like Bilbo Baggins, the house is quiet and modest; and so is its owner, who declined to be interviewed for this story.
posted by gladly at 11:16 AM on December 17, 2012


« Older I did not know the incense storing temple, I walk...  |  Today is the 25th anniversary ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments