Fantasy Hour: Grassy Knolls & Hidden Abodes

Looking for something to daydream about? These woodland hideaways blend scenery with inspired whimsy.

Some call them Hobbit homes, but let’s try on permaculture-minded, fairy-tale inspired woodland hideaways. Dug into a hillside or camouflaging with their natural environment, they could even be called latter-day Smurf dwellings.

What’s so appealing about a home tucked away in a hill or hidden amongst a cluster of trees is that it visually resonates with a kind of eco-idealism most of us can relate to or have read about in Tolkien tales. The homes I’m about to wax on about look like life as it’s meant to be lived, in harmony with the natural world and not geometrically opposed to it.

The most stunning example of a “Hobbit house” hideaway I’ve ever come across is this low-impact woodland home in Wales, United Kingdom. Excavated stone and mud was used to construct inner walls and the foundation. Straw bales in the floors and walls allow for insulation, while a mud/turf roof protects against the elements.

Japanese architect Kazunori Fujimoto designed this strikingly stark and minimalist home as a vacation hideaway, nestled into the few remaining trees adjacent to a heavily-traversed tourist road. Meant to provide privacy separated from their otherwise suburban-esque surroundings, it melds in rather than stands out. Though it is certainly unusual.

As one blog described it, it’s more of a sculpture than a house, “a concrete bunker obscured by the surrounding trees.”

Perhaps an obvious treatment of the wooded vacation home, I nevertheless can’t get enough of small houses like these, partially obscured by both design and the woodlands.

Finally, this prefab house in Adelaide, Australia spans a creek via a trussing system. That means the structure of the home is supported by those triangular units below, like a bridge of Madison County.

Or a moon over my river.

Images: A Low Impact Woodland Home; Kazunori Fujimoto; Mango and Ginger

K. Emily Bond

K. Emily Bond is the Shelter Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in southern Spain, reporting on trends in art, design, sustainable living and lifestyle.