Lynn Dean is the author of the newly released book, Home Sweet Hole. Currently on Kindle (for the low price of $2.99 USD) and soon available in print, Home Sweet Hole takes Tolkien fandom to an environmental level, while tickling that Hobbit hole craving we all harbor.
To say I’m interested in Hobbit home designs would be an understatement. I’ve full-on researched the possibility of building one. And, let me tell you fans, there’s not much out there in the way of information or feasible plans. So, when I heard about Lynn’s book, I had to review it for myself.
When I asked her what had been the inspiration behind her book, she replied,
“I’ve been fascinated by both fiction and architecture since forever. As a child, I was a very slow reader because I took the time to paint each scene in my mind. I imagined what each setting looked like, down to the smallest detail. Small wonder that I chose to major in Environmental Design at the Texas A&M University College of Architecture. It was a brand new program at the time, emphasizing sustainable and low impact design.
For over 30 years I’ve worked as a residential designer, encouraging environmental responsibility and watching interest in the concept grow ever so slowly. Recently, though, public interest is really taking off, and it’s exciting to see. In conversations with clients over the years, many expressed a desire to live in smaller homes that would be less costly to maintain.
Most loved the “old world” charm of natural building materials, but they had trouble visualizing different ways of building. They worried about appearance and “live-ability” issues, but when the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies came out, suddenly they could see the possibilities.”
While it’s no secret I’m a Tolkien fan, my interesting in building a Hobbit hole goes beyond fandom. The concept is more energy efficient, has less of an impact on the environment, and it’s more cost effective. I don’t want to just build my own Hobbit hole, I want to love and take care of the Shire around me. And that concept, Lynn pointed out, is not just found in Tolkien’s Middle-earth.
“While a “Hobbit hole” evokes instant recognition, many real world cultures also built earth-sheltered or earth-bermed homes. Historic examples may be found in Ireland, Iceland, Scandinavia, and France to list just a few. So while fans of Tolkien’s work will recognize familiar design elements in these plans, they are not specifically linked to Tolkien’s books. Rather I think it’s fair to say that in both Middle-earth and the real Earth, earthen homes feature similar appealing characteristics.”
While Home Sweet Hole is not a lengthy book, I found it to be chock-full of talented sketches and creative designs. There are 12 floor plans within, each one carefully thought out and delightfully described. Reading through the book, it was wonderful to see how much thought was put into each element of design. Even though I found the floor plans very detailed, Lynn emphasized,
“…the book does not contain construction drawings, but each design is drawn to scale–a schematic sketch with the potential to develop into a build-able structure. So I intend them as inspiration, whether readers go on to consult a building professional or simply enjoy them as entertainment.”
They have indeed sparked my imagination, Lynn, and I would certainly recommend this book to all those who share my love for Hobbit holes as well as environmental-friendly home design.
To view more information and snatch-up your own copy of Home Sweet Hole, click here.
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