A hobbit-hole in my backyard? It may sound crazy, but I can tell you that my kids love it. It is the coolest playhouse ever. Plus, they can enjoy the grassy hill for sledding in winter and water sliding in summer. This was all my wife's idea. She dreamt it, and I got to be the one to bring it to reality. I'm not a construction expert; this was a total do-it-yourself job by a complete amateur. It has turned out rather nicely, I think. Here is the story of how it came to be.

Since this is in blog format, the posts are in order from newest to oldest. To read this in chronological order, start with How it all Began and use the "Newer Post" links. Or click on the links under Blog Archive, in order.
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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weatherproofing the Entrance

I am anxious to start on the back wall, but first I needed to get the entrance far enough along that it could survive the winter--in case I run out of time before it starts to snow. I finished building out the wall on the left and right sides, so there is no longer a gap, then I sealed all the seams and cracks and stained it all. This is not the completed entrance, but it should be good enough to make it through the winter, just in case. Now I am turning my attention to the back wall, which will include a large window. Once the back is done enough to be at least weatherproof, I can get the dirt put on top of the tube. Then it will be down to finish work on the exterior and interior.
Here is another angle on the entrance. I may be giving away my location here, for those familiar with that mountain. ;)
Here is a bird's eye view, taken from up in the cherry tree. I can't wait until I can cover up that unsightly tube!
Maybe in my next post, I will include some people, so you can get a better idea of the scale of this. The tube is 6 feet diameter and 15 feet long, which should give some idea. I have to duck pretty low to enter, as the door itself is only a little more than 4 feet in diameter.

A Couple of More Looks

Here are a couple of more looks at the interior as it stands now.

Looking toward the front...

... and toward the back.
Obviously, the ribwork to support the interior, rounded walls is not complete. I only have it installed on the left side of the entry, as you come in. It will be installed throughout eventually.

A Peek Inside

I finally have some progress to show on the inside of the hobbit-hole for a change. Here you can see where I have installed that interior partion wall that I built a few weeks ago. Notice how it separates the space into two "rooms". I am sitting down on the floor in the second room (the parlor), which is larger than the first (the entry).

I have another piece of wall going in later that will cover up the studs and wiring. And of course, I will finish the wall surface off nicely so that it looks really cool, rather than that ugly OSB.

You can also see the horizontal boards running along the inside of the tube, like ribs. I will be attaching flexible wood paneling to this ribwork, so that the round walls have a wooden look, rather than corregated metal. Herein lies another reason for the interior partition wall: it also serves as a key support to the rib structure. (And the rib struture in turns gives more support to the partion wall.)

Here is a closer look, showing the ribwork and also the beginnings of a built-in bench. The bench was an immediate hit, not only for the kids, but for myself and other adults wanting to check out the place. It is sooo nice to have a place to sit down in there, especially for those of us with stature more resembling a wizard than a hobbit.

Of course, this will all be finished off nicely with wood to cover up the studs, wiring, corregated metal, etc. Also, I will be working on the doorway, so that it looks nicer, and so the studs are not exposed. I have a nice floor covering planned as well.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Extending the patio

Every time I work on this project, I get less done that I plan. This time, I only managed to add another row to the patio. It will eventually extend out as far as the sand there. Those are chunks from an old concrete pad that my brother-in-law got rid of. Man those things are heavy! I also am toying with the idea of having steps lead up the hill to the left. I put three there just to remind me. I think I will need to reposition them a bit later. The kids think the stairs idea is awesome.

Wiring for the lights and fixture

You may wonder what this is. Well, hopefully later pictures will make it more clear, but I will try to explain. Inside the hobbit-hole right now, there is nothing but a 4-foot wide by 15 foot long floor in what is otherwise an empty corrugated metal pipe. In order to get lighting in there, and also to separate the space inside into two "rooms" I am building a rounded partition wall, to be placed a little short of half-way in the pipe. There will be no door in this wall, only an opening. The first "room" will be like an entry, with a bench, and hooks for walking sticks and pointy hats and such. The second "room" will be sort of a parlor, with places to sit, and probably a small table.

Wiring from the outside will pass through the front of the hobbit-hole and run hidden under a bench/shelf that I will build on the left side as you enter. From there it will run into this partition wall. You can see the guts of that wall, pre-assembled here. I have wired it for a fixture and four lights (only two boxes for lights are visible; the other two are on the opposite side. This way, both rooms will be lit with two light fixtures. They will be old fashioned looking--reminiscent of old lanterns, to be more consistent with a real hobbit-hole (which of course has no electricity).

This is just about ready to haul out and install in the hobbit-hole. It will be a tight fit, and will take a bit of clever maneuvering to get in place, but I have done a dry run, so I know it will work.