Real-Life Hobbit Holes Take Fans to Middle-earth Ahead of ‘Lord of the Rings’ TV Show

They have all the hallmarks of real hobbit holes – rustic craftsmanship, country charm and the famous circular doors with the knob squarely in the middle.

But these actual houses are worlds away from the Shire and not even on Middle-earth.

Instead, the houses were painstakingly designed by The Lord of the Rings superfans, and with The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power set to hit Amazon Prime on Friday, there’s never been a better time to kick off your shoes and put your hairy feet in a cozy cottage Bilbo Baggins would be proud of.

The Amazon series, which cost around $500 million to make, is set in JRR Tolkien’s legendary Second Age, when the illusory rings are forged and the age of men faces its perils.

Viewers will recognize the elf queens, dwarf lords, battle-hardened men, and even the odd fire demon, but these are the hobbits die-hard fans have come to cherish, some more than others.

Own Your Own Hobbit Hole in Vermont, USA

For general designer and The Lord of the Rings enthusiastic Cynthia Clayton, the 2014 final of The Hobbit trilogy sparked a vision that would cost him $350,000 and 6,000 hours of work.

“At 60 I suddenly became obsessed with the idea of ​​building a hobbit house and as I looked around our 12 acres of greenery I realized we had a Shire landscape overlooking a beautiful view,” explains Clayton, now 66.

“I had a strong background in design and architecture and a somewhat hesitant but strong-willed and very talented ‘hands-on’ husband, so that was the game.”

Clayton and her husband Pepper, 59, a mechanical engineer, embarked on the huge project, building their 5-hectare estate in Middletown Springs, Vermont, on the hillside.

They began digging in October 2016, and for the next two and a half years the pair invested everything in building the energy-efficient 1,100 square foot hobbit hole while gradually bringing Clayton’s dream to life.

The finished cottage features a round doorway, clawfoot tub, full kitchen and dining area, living room, library, and even an on-site bar with a track dance floor, a big screen TV and a piano.

“My focus was architecture as an art installation,” says Clayton. “I wanted to create art that you could not only see, but immerse yourself in.”

In 2018 the project was completed and Clayton began renting the cottage on Visit and Airbnb until she’s ready to retire and move in herself.

Poor health has since changed his plans and the property is currently on the market for $788,000.

“It was a very difficult decision to sell the Hobbit House, but I take comfort in knowing that it has brought happiness to so many people and will continue to do so,” says Clayton.

“A lot of people said it was magic, and as a designer, that’s the biggest compliment – creating a dream come true.”

Round doors and romance in Texas, USA

A circular door and a bed await guests entering this hobbit house.  Photo: Dasha Wright

Maria Gold, 54, and her husband Ben, 55, spent $45,000 and 1,400 hours converting an old shed at their home in McKinney, Texas, using all natural materials.

“I grew up in Romania near the Carpathian Mountains and have always been fascinated by primitive architecture and building with natural resources,” says Gold, an entrepreneur. “We originally built the house for our kids to have a special place to hang out with their friends, but it turned into something else entirely.”

Gold enlisted the help of her husband, a sales engineer, and three children to launch the project in March last year, delicately handcrafting a round door and a circular wooden bed.

“We started our project with a $1,000 order from Home Depot for building materials that were delivered to our home,” Gold says. “From there, we traveled all over Dallas to flea markets and fairs to see how we could make every detail authentic.”

For the next four months, Gold spent up to 15 hours a day designing and building, while her husband became an expert in flaring and scraping wood. And their hard work was widely appreciated.

“We wanted to share the magic with others, so we put the chalet on Airbnb,” says Gold. “We had at least 30 The Lord of the Rings fans spend their wedding night here and there have been several marriage proposals.

“People tell me that as soon as they open the door, they enter another reality. It’s a place where people can come and forget the problems they have in the real world and enjoy a day or two to immerse themselves in The Lord of the Rings.”

A luxury hobbit house on a vineyard in Sussex, UK

A Lord of the Rings fan on a trip to Sussex.  Photo: Jacqulyn Hamilton

In rural Sussex, Brazilian brewer America Brewer and her British husband Nick have built a luxurious version of the hobbit hole entirely from scratch.

The property, which is nestled in the Oastbrook Estate vineyard in Robertsbridge, features 300-kilogram bulbous doors, a hand-painted blue domed ceiling, a thriving rooftop meadow and two spacious en-suite bedrooms.

“We were inspired by The Lord of the Rings engages in the design of the building, but we wanted the property to be both atmospheric and luxurious on the inside,” explains Brewer.

“Building the hobbit house was quite an effort as we had to design the building completely from scratch and also figure out how to build it on the side of a hill.

“It took us almost a year to build and we used local craftsmen for all the oak work. The door itself weighs 300 kilograms and the hinges were hand-forged nearby.

The attention to detail inside the property is painstaking, with the golden trees of Gondor etched into the ceiling and cobbled floors in every bathroom. The hobbit hole also has a hot tub and a fully equipped kitchen to bring it into the modern world.

“I think our customers love it for a lot of different reasons,” says Brewer. “You have the fantastic elements of the Lord of the Rings and view of the vineyard lined with oaks and willows. It’s almost from another world.

Updated: September 01, 2022, 06:55

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