Temple: Hobbit house shines spotlight on natural building

TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) There’s a hobbit house tucked away in Central Texas.

(Photo by Chelsea Edwards)

It sits in a Temple backyard and was built by hand as a playhouse for the homeowner's grandchildren, big fans of the hit movie franchise.

"You mix play sand and straw together," says builder Tracy McLoud.

It's mostly made of cob which is similar to adobe- but instead of making bricks-

"You just take the lumps of cob and actually sculpt the structure without any formwork," she adds.

To create it, the team from Terra Living lumped and laid 43 tons of clay in bare feet- clay that was harvested in Bell County.

The team worked in between other projects for over a year and a half.

"It's almost an exact replica of the miniature model that we built," says McLoud.

The cob house balances on limestone and is made to last.

"[There are] cob buildings in Yemen that have been around for five, six hundred years," she explains.

Above the walls that are two feet thick sits a living, growing roof made of plants.

The designers used reclaimed materials to finish off the project, including a desk that was originally the door, a crystal serving dish for one window and a working window from a junkyard truck.

The best part might be the used slide that was sold to McLoud with a matching ladder for $35.

The creators are hosting a workshop to teach local residents the joy of natural building.

“It's very rewarding to be able to utilize the natural resources around you and it's very inexpensive as far as materials go,” says McLoud.

She wants to encourage others to bring a little magic to their backyards.

The “Introduction to Natural Building Techniques” workshop will be held at the Barrow Brewing Company in Salado on Monday at 6:30 p.m.