Get Inspired: Simon Dale’s Houses

I love all the different ways architecture and sustainability come together. This house, designed and built by Simon Dale in 2003, caught my eye a few years ago and even to this day, I still long to live in a place like this. Hit the jump to read more about this awesome house!

The inside of the Hobbit House, image from

Not only does this house make it feel like you’ve stumbled right into Middle Earth, it was made on a budget of 3,000 pounds (about $5000 USD according to the current exchange rate!). Simon Dale designed and constructed this two-story house for his family, complete with a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom. Rather than concrete and other common building materials, the roof and floors are made out of straw, a great insulator for cold environments. The stone outside has been outfitted with solar panels. However, from the photo below, it seems like indoor lighting isn’t too much of an issue during the daytime as natural light floods this delightful house with joy.

Natural indoor lighting in Simon Dale’s home. Image from

Other ways that this is a low-impact house is that the toilets compost human waste and the water comes from a nearby spring, but rather than a pressure system that delivers the water, it’s gravity (way cheaper in terms of energy budget and capital). Even the fridge is has a small carbon footprint as it’s partially chilled from the cold air beneath the house. Guess it really helps that this house is in Wales.

Simon Dale’s new home, the Undercroft. Image from

Although Simon Dale and his family no longer in this house, they live in a new location, which they call the Undercroft. It’s quite similar in terms of designing process to the Hobbit Home except this has been built in mind for long-term living. The surrounding green house-like area (below) and sheep barn will last for years to come.

The green house attached to the Undercroft. Image from

Okay, all of this is great, but I’m not saying that everyone needs a Hobbit House or Undercroft. These sustainable designs for cold UK environments probably wouldn’t work in, say, Arizona, United States, but there are many ways houses can be designed and/or retrofitted according to the climate and surrounding environment to reduce their carbon and water footprints.

Information about this house is from and

Cover image from

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kerry says:

    A great article about environmental sustainability, but your ignorance to not know that Wales is a country of it’s own in the UK and not in England is astounding really as it’s on the map of the UK as it’s own country and the last time I checked we had our own flag/national anthem and our own language. Diolch Yn Fawr.

    1. Green Grounds UVA says:

      Thanks for catching that mishap. The article has been edited accordingly!
      – Meigan

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