A Brief Interview With Jasmine Dale, Co-Builder of the Hobbit House
Morgan: Hello Jasmine, your hobbit house really captured the attention of folks all around the world. It’s whimsical, organic design and beautiful details were some of the most eye-pleasing I’ve come across. How was the experience of living there?
Jasmine: Living in nature and visitors were a pleasure and a joy. The endless work and poor community dynamics were exhausting.
Morgan: Was it easy to heat and to keep warm in the winter? Was it cool in the summer?
Jasmine: Yes, the insulation and thermal mass design worked very well–it was warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Morgan: Were you able to keep it dry and avoid any problems with humidity and mold? Did the moisture barrier perform as you would have hoped?
Jasmine: The interior humidity was addressed by the design, the through-flow of air, and breathable walls and roof structure. It harbored no mold: plus we used borax in our cob mix.
Morgan: After your experience, what are your thoughts on underground living?
Jasmine: It all feels like a dream. However, earth sheltered buildings feel great, are economical, close to the living earth, and are protected from wind and heavy rains.
Morgan: If you built in such a way again, what would you do differently? Also feel free to share any general thoughts and insights about natural building.
Jasmine: We will not build again for ourselves, however Simon does design homes for other people… I think his main insight is match the input to the functional need, e.g., a quick simple shelter may last for 10 years and be worth that. A complex building, with all ventilation, aesthetic, and thermal calculations, etc., is a big investment and suits those with the resources, time, and desire for longevity. Simon is unlikely to find time to answer this more, I will see what I can do. He is exceptionally busy right now.
Morgan: What are you and Simon up to these days?
Jasmine: Up to now: Simon has discovered the beauty of walking, kayaking, and paragliding in this beautiful region, now liberated from the building site. He builds and designs ecologically sound structures locally. I wrote all I learnt from training over 1000 people over nine years at our homestead, into a practical workbook for integrating people and place: Permaculture Design Companion www.beingsomewhere.net/
Morgan: Thank you for sharing your time and knowledge, Jasmine. I wish you and Simon the best of luck on all of your endeavors. Your work has inspired many and will continue too.