Small Traditional Cottage of “Hobbit House” in Pennsylvania
This is an unusual architecture in a countryside of Pennsylvania. The small traditional cottage is designed as hobbit house. The archicect Peter Archer creates this small traditional cottage to protect the owner collections of J.R.R. Tolkien books, manuscripts and artifacts. “He had been collecting since the early 1970s and had simply run out of space in the house. A good bit of his collection was in boxes stored around the house,” Archer says.
This small cottage of hobbit house is located in Chester County, Pennsylvania with 600 square feet. The interesting things from this house is the design of a distinctive “butterfly” window stemmed from Tolkien’s own sketches. The semicircular halves of the window open from a center hinge.
An 18th-century stacked stone wall on the property made this site, a short walk from the main house, a natural choice for the Hobbit House. From the beginning, Archer envisioned a structure built to look as though it had risen from the wall. “Other materials were selected for their colors and textures, timelessness and compatibility with the stone,” Archer says.
“The location ultimately selected was perfect in that the original stone wall had become a retaining wall at that point, with a change in grade of about 4 feet,” Archer says. “This allowed the building to have a more human scale at the front, while on the side and back the roof sits at about 4 feet above, giving an amazing scale, almost a miniature and certainly appropriate to a hobbit.”
The 54-inch round hobbit door, a detail straight from Tolkien’s text, was custom crafted of Spanish cedar. Although a number of professionals insisted there was no way to create a hinge that would work with the door’s perimeter, a Maryland blacksmith was able to forge a single-pivot model that met the challenge.
Handmade French clay tiles give the roof a distinctive profile.
Tiles: Northern Roof, Montreal
Archer’s team paid careful attention to the stonework throughout the cottage and grounds to ensure that it would feel appropriate to the original 18th-century wall.
A low, whimsical stone bridge arches over a drainage ditch. “Once the building was designed, the clients fell in love with it and wanted to go further and create walls and gardens befitting a hobbit, but set in rural Chester County, Pennsylvania,” Archer says.
Custom light fixtures in the reception area lend period flavor; textured stucco inlaid with slivers of roof tile cloaks the fireplace. An arch and rafters made from Douglas fir define the ceiling and add to the air of exquisite craftsmanship.
Framed with timber arches, the library area forms the heart of the cottage. It provides the owner with a quiet spot to read, reflect and study, surrounded by the Tolkien works and mementos he so dearly loves.
The cottage’s distinctive butterfly window, made from mahogany and so named because it looks like the wings of a butterfly when open, stemmed from Tolkien’s sketches, as well as his descriptions of hobbits preferring windows that showcase views of the woods. The semicircular halves of the window open from a center hinge.
As with the door, blacksmith Coldren created custom iron hinges for the butterfly window.
An eyebrow roof accommodates the curve of the window.
A small courtyard frames the dramatic stone chimney. The stucco surrounding the windows is studded with the same tile fragments that appear elsewhere in the cottage.