Simon Dale knew from the very beginning that he wanted to take up a project in the future one day. He even knew what the project would be — building his own house.
His reasons for this were plentiful, and he never wavered from his conviction of wanting to build his own house, even though he lacked the skill and training needed for such a construction project. Even though it was a long and strenuous journey, Simon was excited to start.
Simon’s dream to build a house had many reasons behind it. Simon’s reasons for creating somewhere to live by himself were rooted in the thought of making a place where he and his family could settle down one day and be proud.
It wasn’t all sentimental, though. Simon also knew that by creating his own house, he could save a ton of money and build something that was an extension of himself.
So began Simon’s search for land to build his house on. As luck would have it, Simon stumbled onto the perfect patch of heaven – — nestled on a hillside in Wales.
The place was perfect for building his dream house. It offered a glorious view from the window as it was located on a high elevation, and, even better — was being given to him for free. However, there was a catch to this free deal!
The landowners were ready to provide the place to Simon and his family for free, but they had something in mind regarding payment, only it wasn’t money. The landowner wanted Simon and his family to ensure their living on the land wouldn’t affect its purity.
So, to live on the land free of cost, all Simon had to do was promise to take care of it and its natural beauty! Simon didn’t hesitate for a minute and agreed to the conditions.
Jumping Into Action
With land in hand, and a vision in place, Simon got to planning. Simon wanted to design a house big enough for his family, which consisted of his wife Jasmine and their two kids. Simon’s vision consisted of something simple but fitting for his family of four.
The Dales weren’t looking for something over-the-top. Alongside building something just for them, their aim was also to ensure that their plans didn’t make them break their promise to the kind owners of the land.
Drawing Up the Plans
Simon quickly drew up a tentative plan of how he wanted the house to look, what he wanted to include, and the amenities he thought would fit them. Sadly, though, Simon’s enthusiasm didn’t translate into possession of skill.
Previously, Simon only worked on a building similar to what he had in mind, but that was the extent of his talents. It was his ambition, more than anything, that was driving him forward. However, he found help from an unlikely and more experienced relative.
FIL to the Rescue
Simon’s lack of experience may have hindered his vision, but rescue came from his father-in-law. The older man was a well-experienced builder, able to patch up the gaps in Simon’s knowledge.
Simon might have felt out of depth at first, but with a skilled ally and his supportive family behind him, he was soon raring to go. Plans in hand, the duo soon broke ground on the vision of the future house.
For the design, Simon followed some simple steps before finalizing it. Firstly, he and his father-in-law surveyed the hillside site, noting everything from the slope to the possible points of access.
Next, they made a list of all the materials that could withstand the weather conditions of their new home. They worked hard on visualizing it aesthetically. A lot of consideration went into making the design ready for implementation.
A Natural Path to Building
Adhering to the landowner’s condition that Simon takes care of the land and his own need to build as naturally as possible, Simon started foraging for natural ingredients and materials for the house.
For his dream Hobbit Home, Dale and his family sourced materials from nearby forests, dumpsters, from the ground — from any natural sources they could. Leaves, mud, stone — all that and all more went into the building. Simon aimed to bring to his home the ancient tradition of making houses with natural materials instead of the new practice of using industrial ingredients.
Once Simon had gathered all the suitable materials for his construction, he got to work building a sturdy timber frame, which would act as the house’s skeleton.
The timber used for the framework showed off the natural curves and texture of the tree trunks, making a stunning visual and proving to be the first step in Dale’s vision for the Hobbit House. Once the beautiful structure was up, the visionary man turned his attention to the roof.
The Roof Over Their Heads
For the roof, Dale used multiple layers. Firstly, he covered the roof with straw to keep the home insulated and warm. Secondly, he covered the straw with plastic to keep the water from damaging it.
Lastly, he used some earth to help the house blend into its naturally earthy surroundings. Once the roof and the framework were in place, Dale tackled the walls using more straw, sticks, and dry stones, ensuring stability and endurance.
A Medley Coming Together
The roof, the wall, and the framework soon started coming together, giving a face to Simon’s dream of a Hobbit House. Simon, his team, and his family members felt overjoyed seeing their hard work pay off.
Soon, the floor was laid down, too. The pallets were the first layer to be put down for the floor, followed by straw and floorboards. With the floor in place, the house’s basic structure was ready.
A Family That Works Together
Despite the work being incredibly hard and, at times, challenging, the Dale family all pitched in to make their dream a reality. It was only as a team effort that everything truly happened. Simon’s father-in-law helped with the overall planning work and the building part.
His wife Jasmine kept the morale high and assisted in collecting the materials required for the construction. Even the young children pitched in when they could. However, building a house also meant many troubles in their lives.
The back-breaking work might have been for something good, but building a house meant that the family had to find temporary accommodation for the time being. The Dales lived without proper amenities, like electricity, for months when the Hobbit House was being made.
The adjustment was difficult for the family, especially after years of living in a modern house. The shock of having to do without amenities was hard, but the family made it through, and the result was worth it.
The Rain Before the Sun
More than just the accommodations proved difficult while the construction took place. Given that the location for the Hobbit House was Wales, the rains were a frequent companion on their journey.
Over the four months it took to build the house, the working hours amounted to 1000-1500. Often, the rain dampened not only Simon’s clothes but also his dreams. But the family slogged on through rain and sunshine, and soon their efforts yielded their dreams.
The Hobbit House
The months of sacrifices paid off, and soon, at the end of the journey, a beautiful Hobbit House stood ready to welcome the Dales. The house was a study of beauty in architecture, design, and technique.
Within just four months, the Dales had brought to life a beautiful, habitable, almost magical house on a hillside in Wales. The best part? They did it all under $5000, an astonishingly limited sum for a home!
Simon’s dream house took less money and even less time to build — all thanks to their tireless dedication. Within just a $5000 budget, the family of four had a beautiful home to live in.
That amount would have barely covered a deposit on a new house today if Simon had opted to buy, even without getting any work done. On top of that, the house also brought great personal satisfaction to the family and fulfilled a dream nobody could take away from Simon.
An Ode to Nature
Simon’s house was an ode to nature with all its amenities designed to keep from harming any of the lands around it. This was, of course, due to both the landowner’s wishes and Simon’s dreams.
Some of their ideas to make their house more nature-friendly were to make their very own fertilizer for their now lush garden and opt for solar panels for energy, amongst other things.
The Final Flourishes
The cozy house was an inviting abode that was a revolution in the field. The house moved beyond commercial houses and had many factors that set it apart and above them.
The breathable limestone walls, wood-burning stove for heat, the underground air for cooling the fridge, and the skylight — it all made up a perfect house for the Dale family, who loved nature and enjoyed a simpler and wholesome life as opposed to a commercial one.
A Backyard Garden
As a family whose whole purpose is to be as nature-friendly as possible, growing their food was the natural next step. The Dales converted their backyard into a mini garden where they grow their food.
Not only does this help them save money as opposed to buying it from the grocery store, but vegetable gardening is also a great bonding activity for a family of four. They enjoy hearty meals made of self-grown ingredients and an unparalleled sense of joy every day.
A Dream Come True
For Simon, building Hobbit House was a dream long coming, and ensuring it was naturally safe was his priority. Both Simon and Jasmine faced difficulties, but whenever they wavered in their conviction, they turned to reading and self-belief to keep them going.
The result was one they were incredibly proud of. The massive challenge of building the Hobbit House was worth it, and the family finally had a house they were proud to call home.
A Good Example
The house wasn’t just for the family but also for the world to see what could be done if one believes in a dream. It was a way to teach people that houses can be built keeping in mind the natural impact and a limited budget.
The Dales aimed to provide people with a blueprint of a new lifestyle based on minimalism and a desire to do right by the planet.
A Media Star
The low-impact and innovative designs of Hobbit House soon brought reporters to the Dales’ doors, and the family, especially Simon, became media stars in their own right. The world soon became well-versed in the genius of Hobbit House.
What Simon achieved with the limited time and money was impressive and groundbreaking during that time. The house soon became an international sensation, with people lauding Simon for using naturally sourced materials.
The Next Jump
For the Dales, the Hobbit House was the perfect place, but they wanted to take their vision and make it into something bigger. So they decided to recreate the Hobbit House on a grander scale in Wales.
The need for space was also a pressing issue for the family, as the kids were growing up and would need their own space. With this in mind, the foursome packed their bags and began the next chapter — building the Lammas Project.
The Lammas Project
Based in Glandwr, Wales, the Lamma Project was started in 2009 by the Dale couple; the eco-village, spread across a 76-acre land, was the first of its kind in the UK.
Housing nine households, the one-of-a-kind project drew people from afar and soon became the base template for future such models to follow. The Dales worked tirelessly for four years before finally moving into their new lodging in 2013. But the road to their unique journey was fraught with difficulties.
Running Low on Cash
No matter how little you want to spend, every project requires some dough. This was where Simon was coming up short for the Lamma Project.
Even though the Hobbit House helped Simon save some money, more was needed for his next venture. When he set out to build the eco-village, he only had $630 in his pockets. With the ethereal Hobbit House, Simon had proved he could work on less, but he still needed some help.
Making-Do With Help
Thankfully for Simon, his vision required some money, but more than that, it needed him to be resourceful and think out of the box. For materials, Simon once again relied on collecting most of what he could from the surrounding areas, as he had with his first project.
His second wave of help came as volunteers. More and more people heard about this new venture, and soon, he had people vying to give him a helping hand to make the project successful, effective, and efficient.
The Second Wave of Work
Just like they had the first time, the Dales were again without a roof over their head, but that didn’t stop them. This time around was easier for them to adapt as they had the experience to guide them.
With the need for a house looming over their heads, the Dales got to work on their new home— which they now planned out to be a three-bedroom house.
The New Plans
This time, the plan was to build something bigger and better, and Simon’s designs were made accordingly. Since they had more land to work on, Simon’s vision included the plans to build multiple properties in the area.
These included roundhouses, glasshouses, workshops, and households for other people to live in. With the new hands joining in, the project seemed all the more exciting, and the time to build was back.
The Undercroft was the first building priority for the Dales once they moved into the area. The design for this building was inspired by their original Hobbit House and was made similarly.
The building has windows on the sides to allow the sun in, helping the couple grow various crops there. The beautiful house even has a bath for an ethereal experience of a soak under the stars.
The next project that Simon tackled was a workshop for himself. This place was designed to give Simon a place to work on his ideas and became a boom for his future creative endeavors.
The workshop was made keeping the need for space for more significant projects in mind, and so was installed with double doors. Over the years, it saw many of Simon’s ideas come to life and proved their need again and again.
A couple of years later, Simon’s next idea came to play — establishing glasshouses in the village. The construction took over nine months and was built keeping in mind the windy weather of Wales.
The sturdy and efficient building was built on a remote part of the land and could house plants without being affected by the hillside winds. Many innovative ideas were incorporated to make the glasshouses more efficient. This became one of the crowning achievements of his DIY projects.
The Feeling of Community
Since the entire point of the village was to live and grow together, every building was made keeping in mind its effectiveness in helping the inhabitants of the Lammas Project.
For example, the glasshouses have many crops and plants like grapevines and peach trees, which help not only feed the village but also fetch a pretty sum when sold. The people, especially the Dale family, are dedicated to living a more natural life.
The Main Residence
The Dales stayed in a building called the “Earthlea” on the land, which took them over six years to build and set them back almost $34,000. That amount might not be small, but it’s still not much compared to other houses.
The building gathered a lot of media attention, and in 2016, the home was featured on an episode of the documentary show Grand Designs. Simon’s new house soon became the talk of the architecture world and stood out amongst the others of its kind.
The Current Life
Despite the happy times and successes, the Dale family couldn’t escape the harsh truths of life and lost their house in a tragic fire in 2018. Even though their friends and families tried to help them, the Dales had to give up their home and start again.
Since then, the Dales have laid low and moved on somewhere else, but Simon’s work continues to inspire others to follow in his footsteps. And we’re sure the Dales will soon be back to surprise everybody with a new and innovative project.
When you think of a home that hasn’t been touched for over 70 years, you’d expect it to be covered in cobwebs from head to toe. However, a couple of real estate agents were in for a big surprise when they came across an unassuming Toronto home…
A Not-So-Ordinary Home
From the outside, it seemed like this quaint Toronto home was completely normal. Those who lived closeby claimed that not many had ever seen the inside of 148 Jane Street. Everything seemed dull until a real estate team got a strange phone call…
The Dynamic Duo
Long before they entered the world of real estate, Gladys and Carla were sisters and knew each other very well. Eventually, though, they decided to join forces professionally and developed a successful working relationship. One sister handled closings while the other worked to find new clients. Over the years, the sisters have established themselves as extremely sought-after real estate agents. One day came though that completely turned their lives upside down. It all started when the phone started ringing…
What a Strange Phone Call
Gladys and Carla have been experienced real estate agents for a while now and thought they had seen everything that the housing world had to offer. On one typical day, the dynamic duo were convinced that it would be just another day at the office. However, everything changed when they suddenly received a phone call from a mysterious individual. In no time at all, the person made a unique offer and it didn’t take long before what they had to say piqued the pair’s interest…
A Conflicted Woman
The person who called Gladys and Carla went by the name of Joyce. Despite sounding hesitant, Joyce told the sisters that she was considering putting her house up for sale. It was clear that she was conflicted but was ultimately open to the idea. Joyce simply called the first company she found online and asked the sisters if they could come and inspect the home. Surely enough though, they were in store for a big surprise…
A Day Like No Other
There was no denying that Gladys and Carla had seen some crazy things over the years. They had seen some truly horrific homes and managed to work magic out of them. When Joyce called them, they didn’t know what all the fuss was about and were convinced they could help her. However, as soon as they turned up at her house and began inspecting the place, many twists and turns started coming their way. They simply weren’t prepared…
She Was Hiding Something
While people usually get excited when they get in touch with a real estate agent, it was clear that Joyce didn’t sound this way. She had an apprehensive tone in her voice when she contacted Gladys and Carla and there was a good reason why. The sisters began to assume that the woman was keeping a secret from them. They were determined to find out what she was hiding, but it was far beyond their wildest dreams…
They Feared the Worst
At first, the sisters were worried after Joyce mentioned that she had lived in the same house for the last 70 years. Their worries only got greater when she said that she hadn’t updated the place during that time period. They only had one kitchen remodeling and that was many decades ago. After seeing a lot of horror shows in houses over the years, the sisters were fearing the worst. However, this wouldn’t stop them from being surprised…
A Special Case
More often than not, homeowners hide negative things about their houses such as leaks and mold. The more secrets they can successfully hide from real estate agents, the higher the value of the home might end up being. However, this wasn’t a normal kind of transaction that the sisters were dealing with. It became increasingly clear that Joyce was hiding a very big secret. In fact, it was something that Gladys and Carla had never experienced in their many years in the industry…
Time to Check Out the Place
As the inspection date got close, the sisters got increasingly worried about what they might find in Joyce’s home. At 96 years of age, Joyce had lived at home for such a long time and Gladys and Carla were convinced that they would find a house that was in complete disrepair. When they walked through the door though, they ended up discovering something completely different. They knocked on the door and nothing could prepare them for what they were about to see…
What a First Impression
As Joyce opened the front door to let the sisters in, Gladys and Carla couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Having first seen the unassuming exterior of the house, all they were expecting was more of the same. However, the interior of the home was anything but decrepit. The front hallway completely blew them away as they could never have expected to see this upon entering Joyce’s home. And yet, they were about to see a ton of other surprises…
Incredible Time Capsule
One thing was for sure – it appeared that whatever was inside Joyce’s home had, as advertised, not been changed for years. It was as if Gladys and Carlia had stepped into some strange time machine that had taken them back to the early 20th century. Prior to entering, they had assumed they’d be able to sell the house for a good price. Now though, it looked more like they were sitting on an absolute goldmine. The shocks just kept on coming…
The first thing that Gladys and Carla expected from Joyce’s house was that it would be in a terrible condition, full of dust and broken items. Then there was the second option, which was to expect a completely ordinary house, one that looked just like what was on the outside. And yet, the interior of the house was neither of these things. The third option was something from another world and the more that they inspected, the more surprises came…
A Hidden Gem
As they were in the thick of inspecting Joyce’s home, the sisters couldn’t believe what they were seeing. After just a few minutes, Gladys and Carla knew that they could sell this for a lot more than they had expected. It was clear that Joyce maintained her home really well over the years and had worked hard to maintain the ’40s feel of the home. Some of the rooms had brightly colored wallpaper and each room seemed to have its own identity…
Each Room Better Than the Last
It seemed like each room was better than the last one that Gladys and Carla had inspected. By the time the inspection had come to an end, the sisters were convinced that this was the most pristine home they had ever seen. They realized that the house reflected Joyce’s life and identity and this is why she was so reluctant to contact anyone about it. However, there was one thing that the sisters knew might be a challenge moving forward…
Will Others Like It?
Seeing that Joyce had decorated the home with a very feminine style, this could lower the number of people who might be interested in purchasing the home. There were a lot of purple and pink motifs across the house, which would probably not appeal to a lot of people. The sisters knew that it might cut deep into the sales to redecorate the entire home. It turns out though that all it took was one key room to save the house…
This Room Saved the House
After seeing so many pink and purple rooms around the house, the sisters were lost for words once again when they went down into the basement. Against all the odds, Joyce’s house had a man-cave down there! It was the last thing Gladys and Carla expected to find down there. They believe that it was the space that Joyce’s husband would use from time to time. With a bar, wood paneling and plenty of other masculine amenities, the sisters were now onto something special…
The Backyard Was No Good
After everything they had been amazed by, the sisters were sure that they’d also be impressed by the backyard. Maybe Joyce had some sort of secret garden back there. However, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Ultimately, the backyard brought Gladys and Carla back down to reality. It felt just like the front of the house, except with some more grass and a shed. And yet, the biggest discoveries of the home were still yet to come…
Despite having a good idea about how they felt about the home, the sisters knew that they needed an actual inspector to come along and give the home a legitimate appraisal. Although they were confident that the house was still in good condition after all of these years, they knew that an inspector would be able to unearth any underlying problems hiding beneath the surface. Needless to say, Carla and Gladys were worried about what the inspector might find…
The sisters were understandably worried that the inspector might discover some deal-breaking problems with the house. On that fateful day, the inspector perused the home and left no stone unturned. What was only a couple of hours seemed like an eternity to Carla and Gladys. Nevertheless, they need not have worried as it turns out that the house was basically pristine. According to the inspector, the place had been the same for the last 70+ years. All they had to do now was put a price on it…
As soon as the inspection was over and they had an idea of what exactly they were putting on the market, Gladys and Carla were ready to come up with an appropriate price for the house. After a few houses of evaluating and making sure all of their details were covered, they came to an agreement of how much they thought the house was worth. They came up with the following asking price: $699,000! It didn’t take long before a bidding war was underway…
The Listing Went Viral
In just a matter of time, the sisters’ listing could be found in many newspapers and websites and word got around very quickly. It seemed like all sorts of people, even those who weren’t interested in moving house, were interested in the place. The house became a huge story and captured the attention of the local community, and beyond. Although people were amazed that the place was virtually untouched, they soon learned that Joyce had made one change…
She Actually Renovated the Kitchen!
Although many were amazed by how untouched the house had been since the ’40s, they soon learned that there was one feature that had been modified over the years. It turns out that Joyce had actually renovated the kitchen about two decades after moving into the place. Apparently, she wanted to replace certain appliances with modern versions. So while the rest of the house hadn’t been touched since the ’40s, the kitchen hadn’t been touched since the ’60s, which is still very impressive.
Why Sell Now?
Despite people’s interest in the home, many wondered why Joyce would want to part ways with such an incredible time capsule. Why sacrifice something that she had kept untouched for over 70 years? The reason was actually pretty sensible. Joyce was ready to retire and wanted to be taken care of during the golden years of her life. It seemed like a justifiable reason, but it must have been difficult to say goodbye to her home. So what’s next?
When Joyce and her husband moved into the home in 1942, it was a very different time. Things have changed a lot in the ensuing 70 years. So one question that everyone has about Joyce’s house is whether the new owners will keep it as the time capsule it was, or whether they’ll want to renovate and modernize the place. While the new owners will obviously have the right to do whatever they want with the place, many want the following to happen…
Make it Into a Museum?
Many believe that whoever ends up buying Joyce’s house should honor the fact that it has been virtually untouched for the last 70+ years. The best way to do that would be to convert it into a museum, specifically harking back to the ’40s. Unless the purchaser is willing to live in this home and keep it the way it is, many believe this is a good way of preserving the historical quality of the house. Whatever the case, some speedbumps were sure to come…
One detail about the listing that could have proved to dissuade a number of potential buyers was in regards to beautiful furniture in Joyce’s house. It turns out that none of it would be included in the sale, which was bound to disappoint a number of people. The reason for this was that Joyce’s daughter wanted to hang onto the furniture after probably having a lot of sentimental connection to it. This was something that customers were simply going to have to accept.
Same Bedroom for 70 Years
It’s amazing to think that Joyce, now approaching 100 years of age, has lived in the same house since she was 24. Every aspect of the house seems to tell a specific chapter in the book that is Joyce’s life. One of those chapters pertains to her master bedroom, which she has slept in over the last 70+ years. Despite the fact that many decades have come and gone, it still looks as pristine as ever. But wait, there’s so much more…
Every aspect of Joyce’s taste seems to be a designer’s dream come true. “I like soft colors, and I like things to match and flow well together,” she said in an interview with The Daily Mail. “I prefer tone-to-tone to bright colors.” Her passion for bright colors can be found in even the smaller details of her home, especially in the bathroom. Not only do the gold accents stand out, but so do the towels, bath mat, and even the toilet seat cover.
Close Attention to Detail
Every part of Joyce’s special home seems to be laden with meticulous detail. From the two bathrooms and three bedrooms to the many fireplaces dotted around the house, the furnishings are very much from a bygone era, with layers of future decades peppered in throughout. While every room seems to have its own unique color scheme, there is no room that sticks out too much. They all seem to complement each other very well. But that’s not all…
Convenience Is the Name of the Game
While everything in Joyce’s home appears to be very old and from another period in time, there are plenty of modern conveniences that are hidden in plain sight. Take the laundry room, for example, which is fully equipped and has all the essentials to ensure that your clothes are always clean. They might be old, but the shiny cabinets look as good as new. Even this room shows just how much time and effort Joyce put into the home from day one.
To Sell or Not to Sell?
When Joyce had that important phone call with Carla and Gladys at the beginning of this entire process, it was clear that she was unsure about how she felt about selling her house. She knew it would be very difficult to say goodbye but felt like it was possibly the right thing to do. With so many relics and memories that she always wants to hold onto, Joyce was on the verge of selling the house and moving on with her life.
Location Is Key
While the interior of the house was certainly the major selling point, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t other great things going for it. For a start, it was in a great neighborhood that many people would dream of living in. Seeing that prices have been rising in recent times here, it’s not exactly easy to find a home in these parts. That’s why Carla and Gladys knew they had hit the jackpot with this home.
The Price Is Right
After working in real estate for so long, Carla and Gladys had built up the experience to sell many homes in Joyce’s neighborhood for high prices. And it looked like her house wasn’t going to be any different. After everything was said and done, they worked out that the house could be worth a whopping $968,000. They just needed to make sure that it was in immaculate shape and that Joyce was 100% committed to selling.
Could She Back Out?
The three women made sure to have a full dialogue after the inspection to ensure that they were all on the same page. Carla and Gladys couldn’t believe though that Joyce was so sure about what direction to take this process in. While many individuals in her position might have continued to be hesitant about selling, Joyce ultimately felt like it was the right thing to do. But did everything go according to plan in the end?
Closing the Deal
Ultimately, the deal went through and Joyce ended up selling the house before finally moving on with her life. After working in real estate in Toronto for the last three decades, Gladys and Carla had never experienced a house quite like this before. Having worked through many houses in this part of the world, they never saw and probably never will see again a home quite like Joyce’s. This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.