“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 meant comfort.” J. R. R. Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings
Given the direction of society right now, we all seem to want to hole up at one point or another. Building an underground bunker for when it all comes to a head? It’s a good thing hobbit-holes are back in style!
Realtor.com and SFGate spotted an excellent example of these Middle-earth style dwellings in River Falls, Wisconsin. This one is on the market for $285,000.
The home was built in 1972 at the height of the energy crisis for Pat Clark and Emogene Nelson, two professors from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. According to the listing agent, Dale Antiel of Edina Realty Inc, “going underground was quite the way to save a lot of money” during the crisis.
The home, dubbed the Clark Nelson home after its first occupants, is quite small—2,236-square feet, and the furnace is always kept at 60 degrees fahrenheit. However, it’s always “very comfortable,” so says the agent.
This two-bedroom, two-bath house is on its second owner, who has held onto it for 30 years.
“It’s priced below market right now, and the price is negotiable. It does need some updates. It hasn’t had any updates in 30 years.”Listing agent Dale Antiel of Edina Realty Inc.
Antiel estimates the true market value would lie between $325,000 and $350,000 if brought up to 2019 standards. Beyond indoor fixes, there is gardening to be done.
“It’s a little overgrown on the outside.”Listing agent Dale Antiel of Edina Realty Inc.
That’s nothing that a good trim and some seed packets can’t fix.
Beautify your hobbit-hole with some seed paper products.
The hole was designed by architect Michael McGuire, of Stillwater, WI. During the 1970s, the earth sheltered houses became popular as a design-conscious method of reducing heating and cooling costs.
Try another type of reduction and reduce the amount of plastic in the oceans with a reusable water bottle.
Even underground, it isn’t a dark place. Natural light is abundant with five skylights.
“The outside is always coming in. You don’t feel like you’re in a cave at all.”Listing agent Dale Antiel of Edina Realty Inc.
The simple place also has three wood-burning fireplaces. This helps keeps the place cozy. Banquette seating in the living room recalls architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s residential designs. Double doors lead to the yard.
For a home of this size, the kitchen is quite spacious, offering plenty of counter and cabinet space. Plus, there is a breakfast nook! Built-ins designed to do things such as hold books or art pieces are all original and in good condition.
Outside the home, there is plenty of space—3.5 acres to be exact! This is plenty of space to do what one pleases.
If indoor privacy is a necessity, each bedroom is its own suite. It has plumbing for a wet bar, a full bathroom, private balcony, and a wood-burning fireplace. Antiel thinks it would make a great bed-and-breakfast.
“You have a nice little living area in each bedroom.”Listing agent Dale Antiel of Edina Realty Inc.
The charms of underground living may just snag a full-time resident who appreciates the intriguing design.
“Some people just want to live there because they think it’s just the coolest place ever.”Listing agent Dale Antiel of Edina Realty Inc.
Whether you are a Lord of the Rings fan, a J. R. R. Tolkien fan, a general fantasy lover, or just want to get away from the world—maybe it will be you who takes on the project of flipping this hobbit-hole into a place that means comfort.
Write your own fantasy novel with eco-friendly notebooks and pens.