Tolkien-inspired "Hobbit House" graces Chester County, Pennsylvania

A devoted collector of J.R.R. Tolkien memorabilia, having spent thirty years accumulating a private collection, wanted an appropriate house to showcase the collection. Architect Peter Archer overcame surprising engineering challenges to bring the house to reality.

The house, which is not open to visitors, is located in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The architect, whose firm is currently working on a similar project in Tasmania, employed a team of craftsmen including a blacksmith to create the custom wood features and ironwork for the house.

The hobbit house is of modest size (only 600 square feet, or about 56 square metres), and it sits a short walk from the owner's main dwelling, reachable along a stone path through an English garden. The stone for the project was recycled from an 18th century stone wall on the property (the wall was not destroyed for its materials, but had long ago collapsed from natural causes).

In spite of its small size, the hobbit house presented unique engineering challenges, including the need to mount a 150 pound (68 kg) circular door from a single hinge. Several people told the architect it couldn't be done, but a blacksmith from Maryland solved the problem immediately. The doorknob is in the center, not near the edge, just as Tolkien described, and the house also features a "butterfly" window based on Tolkien's own sketches.