Federation for
Housing and

Eccentric Houses

This guest blog from Graham Allan, IFHP Council Representative for UK, is about three home owners of despised house styles like: 'Hobbit’, ‘Recycled Eco’ and ‘Pixie Grotto' struggling to save the structure from being torn down. Would you knock this down?

Which house is it for you – ‘Hobbit’ –‘Recycled Eco’ or ‘Pixie Grotto’.


A few householders in the UK are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the bureaucratic planning process to see whether they can still live in their dream home.


Charlie and Megan William have built themselves a turf roofed ‘Hobbit style’ round house in West Wales of natural and re-cycled materials. With more than 80,000 supporters world-wide they’re petitioning by appeal to save their idyllic home from demolition.


Hobbit roundhouse, North Pembrokeshire

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Further south in Devon, Jules Smith and Matthew Lepley have been given a three year stay of execution by a planning inspector over their house built of old filled tractor tyres, pallets and railway sleepers on a 20 acre (8Ha) plot. If they can make a go of their permaculture business it looks as if the house will stay. If not they will have to demolish it. Ironic really, as the neighbour only objected because of the business proposal.


Permaculture House, Devon

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But still further south and west Jonathan Melville-Smith has built a two storey pixie grotto ‘shed’ in Cornwall. The neighbours don’t like the look of his creation even though he’s been a finalist in the shed of the year competition.


Pixie grotto fantasy, Cornwall

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Interesting how people react to those who take their sense of enterprise ‘outside the box’ so to speak. There’s something some don’t like here whilst not so far away we’re being exhorted by those in control to think ‘outside the box’ and become enterprising and creative so as to save this and that.


I’m not commenting on how I would react to one of these houses going up near where I live but it does just suggest to me that several of the architectural creations of the past that we now hold in awe and reverence probably started life being despised for their waywardness and eccentricity.


Maybe if these three buildings don’t simply disintegrate or implode they will come in due course to be preserved and saved for the nation as idiosyncratic tourist attractions. Come to think of it maybe the tourists should come sooner rather than later and help them to become sustainable business ventures.