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Earthbag Building & Other Natural Building Methods

Hobbit House with Second Story Deck

Hobbit House with 2nd story Open-air Deck (click to enlarge)

Hobbit House with 2nd story Open-air Deck (click to enlarge)


Here’s another version of the Hobbit House (five versions altogether) showing an open-air second story deck and rectangular windows. The deck adds another 471 square feet of living space at very little extra cost. This design is perfect for hot climates where breezes make a big difference in comfort. The deck can be accessed by stairs or a ladder.

Hobbit House plans

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14 Responses to “Hobbit House with Second Story Deck”

  1. oli says:

    I live in a tropical climate. It gets really hot and humid here and catching the breezes is so important. My house plan was your 33 foot roundhouse somewhat adjusted and customized. I planned to have big overhangs, 4 to 5 feet to protect walls not only from moisture but from the sun as well, in order to keep the house cool.

    i think this plan is absolutely great. It provides a solution to all the anxiety I had in relation to having good airflow.

    Robin’s comment on overhangs is a concern I share. How do you think a wide overhang, can be incorporated into plan to protect the first floor walls. (By the way lots of wind driven heavy rains here during that season so wide overhangs is a must).

    Thanks for your valuable work on this site.

    • Owen Geiger says:

      Yeah, like I said earlier, it’s best to create overhangs to protect the first story as well. You don’t want the walls absorbing the sun’s rays, so your plan to use 4′-5′ overhangs is good. One option is to build a 9′ high wall so you have a little more room to attach overhangs. This has the added advantage of creating higher ceilings, which will also help keep you cooler.

      I haven’t had time to work out the best building method. I’d be inclined to embed horizontal wood poles above the windows and doors, and then add some rafters (or rafter poles) that angle down from the bond beam. Roundwood is a little harder to work with, but around here it’s dirt cheap, so I like using it.

      Also note, I highly recommend screened transom vents above doors and windows in tropical climates. We used these on our Roundhouse Stuido: see page 52 of my Earthbag Building Guide and/or search this site for photos of this project. And I recommend lots of casement windows (the kind you can swing out to catch breezes) so you’ll have excellent cross ventilation.

      So to be clear, you can add an open air 2nd story to the 33′ Roundhouse that would function and look similar to this other design. [After thought: wait a while and I’ll mock this up in Sketch-Up. Other projects are already in the pipeline, so give it week or so.)

  2. PaulB says:

    I like this idea. Put screen wire or mosquito netting over the slats and you have it made! You could easily build stairs into the walls as you are laying the bags, then add a railing on the open ends. This could be done on either the inside or outside to give access to the roof deck.

  3. Robin says:

    My new summer house i think. Really great. I would maybe create a overhang for the first floor too to save the plaster and shade the first floor. 

    But take it easy with the windows. is it really possible to have that many windows?

    • Owen Geiger says:

      I’ve been thinking of how to add an overhang on the first floor to protect the walls, prevent leaks and prevent overheating.

      I love windows. I like the views and they allow lots of ventilation. You can add as many windows as you want if you frame them in.

  4. Harold says:

    That looks very comfortable. Is the roof/upper deck floor slab reinforced stabilized earth mix Dr.?

  5. Luke Anthony says:

    Now you’re just showing off! ;)
    This is definitely one of my new favorites.

    Very cool idea, I’m keeping this in mind for another project next year.

    • Owen Geiger says:

      I would LOVE to have one of these. In climates like ours, catching the breeze is so important. Yeah, it’s hot, but if there’s a breeze then it’s not bad at all. Even better, you don’t have to pay for the breezes. Lesson: work with nature, not against it.

  6. Jerry Thornton says:

    Thanks Owen, I am planning a earthbag structure here in the Blue ridge Mountains. I have seen your mountain cabin design and have a question. The plan indicated there is wood siding. Is this so?
    Can you recommend some designs that would work well in the mountains?
    Thanks,
    Jerry

    • Owen Geiger says:

      Most of my plans will work if you insulate the roof. We always recommend starting out with something small like this Hobbit design. And like I said in a post the other day (Three Roundhouses Design), add on gradually so you can avoid debt and move in right away. Roundhouses are my top choice for speed and ease of construction and stability. Avoid domes in rainy climates unless you’re building a roofed dome.

  7. Jerry Thornton says:

    This is really cool !! I love this addition to the roundhouse !!!

    • Owen Geiger says:

      Glad you like it. The deck seems real practical to me. It would be a great place for lounging, working on a laptop, exercising, parties and even sleeping on hot nights. Also note, the basic concept is very simple. There are millions of houses in tropical countries that are raised on stilts to capture breezes.

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