A firefighter has decided to turn his love of ‘middle earth’ into a business venture – by setting up his own company building hobbit houses.
Matt Wright, 32, built a Lord of the Rings-inspired hobbit house in his own garden – and decided to start his own business after receiving lots of positive feedback.
He built the structure in the summer, which took around five weeks to complete – and now uses it as an outdoor bar.
The starting price for a bespoke adult-size house is £7,995 with each price varying depending on what the customer wants – with a replica of Bilbo Baggins’ Bag End costing around £50,000.
The ‘modular system’ means there is no limit to the shape or size of the design – and different modules can be used to make T, Y or X-shaped layouts, available within four to six weeks.
Matt, who has been a firefighter for seven years, was one of the first firefighters on the scene at the Nottingham railway station fire in January.
He lives in Forest Town, Mansfield, Notts with his fiancée Jules Ling, 30 – and plans to use his own hobbit hole as a bar on the wedding day.
He even proposed to his fiancée on Christmas Day 2015, by giving her riddles based on a scene from The Hobbit.
Mr Wright said he learnt his carpentry skills from a five-year stint as an engineer in the army before he became a firefighter.
He said: “I’ve always been quite entrepreneurial – from a business sense that’s been in the back of my mind.
“The combination of being a craftsman as well as the love for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films is where the idea came from.
“When I get an idea in my head I roll with it and I wanted something that looks quirky and really different and eye-catching – but it is really durable and innovative, the actual process of making the hobbit house is made from high density polyethylene which is basically recycled plastic.
“The whole structure will last 125 years which is out of the world in comparison with anything else in the market.
“It’s eco-friendly as well as an added bonus – we can make the environment a better place as well as making pretty cool spaces.
“There is so many different uses, glamping pods are doing really well at the moment.
“They can be interlinking so you can join them together – you could build a whole house out of them and be completely off-grid living, which is also a brilliant way the business can grow.
“Both myself and my fiancée are big fans of the films – when I actually proposed to her, I used the riddles between Gollum and Bilbo.
“The final riddle is, ‘what is in my pocket?’ – and that was what I did for Jules, like a treasure hunt around the house and different riddles.
“She obviously knew the answer was the ring.
“One probably takes four to six weeks.
“We offer a design consultation, we will go to a customer’s house and give free design consultation to ensure access is okay for us to install it.
“You can choose different internal wall coverings or floors, benches.
“We build it in our workshop which is going to be in Mansfield and then transport it on site and install it, including the soil stabilisation on top to allow grass to grow on top of the structure.
“I pretty much made it on my own with my dad who lent a hand sometimes.
“Once I am making them on a more permanent basis I could probably get that down to two to three weeks.
“It’s fairly technical, not something anybody could probably do because its such a unique material, it’s not something a DIYer could do.
“I made it for my own enjoyment, with us getting married in July we are going to be using it as a bar and it’s a bit of man cave for myself.
“It’s so nice and relaxed in there, when the sun comes out.
“We have horses, ducks and chickens in our garden and we can sit in there with a gin and tonic and just relax, we also have a TV in there.
“The response from everybody that saw it has been, ‘wow, this is absolutely amazing’.
“The research I have done, there is nothing else out there like our hobbit house.
“There’s a few wooden structures out there but not able to have real grass roofs and have a short life span, maybe 20 years tops, whereas this will outlive Bilbo Baggins!”
Hobbit House Ltd launched around two weeks ago and, while they have not had any orders yet, they have had a number of enquiries which they hope will turn into solid orders.
Matt, who also runs a successful luxury boarding cattery from his home, added: “I love being a firefighter but I am really passionate about Hobbit House.
“I could see it growing to a point where I may have to consider leaving the fire service but for the near future at least I am going to continue to be a serving firefighter as well as run the Hobbit House business.”
The Hobbit House Ltd website reads: “Our hobbit homes have an extremely wide range of uses, from camping/glamping pods, permanent houses, garden offices, classrooms, hot tub rooms, playhouses, man caves and much, much more.
“Our homes are structurally sturdy, strong enough to be built into a hillside, or even underground.
“If you have something in mind, you’re welcome to get in touch and discuss your ideas with us.
“Rather than just using sustainable materials, we use recycled waste plastic to form high-density polyethylene which is what gives our hobbit houses its amazing 125-year guarantee.
All our homes are custom made: including various sizes, shapes and interior design – truly bespoke to your needs.
“Our most popular adult sized homes start from £7,995 including VAT (2.3m diameter x 2m in length), increasing by £1,250 per additional metre in length.
“Playhouses start from £6,495.
“However, homes can be upwards of £50,000 if you want something on par with Bilbo’s pad.”
The structures are considered ‘permitted developments’ and, barring a more extensive structure, planning permission is not required.
They can be hooked up to electricity and water supply and can have real grass roofs to make them blend in with their surroundings.
To enquire about buying a hobbit house, go to www.hobbithouseltd.co.uk