The Hobbit Hole Office


Dan Price, author and illustrator of Moonlight Chronicles, was featured in Lloyd Kahn’s 2004 book, Home Work. Dan’s Oregon underground hobbit hole has since been complemented with the addition of this underground office.


After spending several years printing, assembling and mailing my zine Moonlight Chronicles in various locations away from my beloved hobbit hole, I finally decided to build a studio where I could do it all in one small space. That summer I had ran across several bunks of 4×4 small-diameter lumber rotting away up at the local high school. It was free if I removed it in a timely fashion, which I did. After three weeks of picking and shoveling in the concrete-like riverbank I had a level space to begin building.

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Laying no foundation I simply laid down heavy plastic and built a floor. On the edges of the floor I began stacking the 4×4’s, drilling and nailing each one with long ring-shank nails. Once the right height was gained, I nailed on a flat roof using the last of the 4×4’s. (I would not recommend a flat roof as it leaked and had to be mega-sealed with expensive roof sealant.)

The entire outside was then painted with a heavy layer of tar to prevent rotting and to keep the carpenter ants from eating it all. (The ants have had their way with it regardless.) At this point I covered the structure with several heavy sheets of black plastic. Then I gathered all the river rock I had collected over the years, and without any mortar, stacked them against the walls. Between the plastic and rock I tamped dirt to fill the spaces. (I am against the use of anything as permanent as concrete.)

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A heavy-duty skylight was built with thick Plexiglas. A heavy door was built on one end. (Please weld your hinge pins to the hinges as several years before robbers pulled mine out and walked away with $5000 of my valuables!) The dirt that I dug out was then piled on top for insulation and covered with grass seed. I later learned that 3-inch rigid insulation equals several feet of soil. Wish I had added that to the roof before covering it.

Electricity was brought in thru a small hole drilled in the south wall for my new copy machine that printed the Chronicles. A long tall table was built along one wall from driftwood for magazine collation and stapling. No paint or stain was used on the interior.

This simple 6×12 studio cost approximately $200 and has served me well for many years. Only annual cost is traps for those pesky ants!

Dan Price

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5 Responses to The Hobbit Hole Office

  1. Anon says:

    interesting place to work.

    noted your comment re ants, ran across this, maybe it would work for you

    Safely Get Rid of Carpenter Ants in a Snap

    Nontoxic Carpenter Ant Bait My one cup of bait consisted of the following all of which cost less than $1:

    1/3 cup of powdered white sugar

    2/3 cup boric acid

    placed a couple of tablespoons of the carpenter ant bait in the lid of an empty jar
    put near spot you see ants
    ants should swarm around
    as they eat it and take it back to their nest, it kills them

  2. Anonymous says:

    Two more ways of getting rid of ants….

    1/ sprinkle corn meal around where they travel and they will pick it up and take it home as food. Unfortunately for them they don’t have an enzyme (or something like that) needed to digest corn meal and after 9 days to 2 weeks they will starve to death. I guess the corn meal must taste good but it isn’t good for them.

    2/ Mix icing sugar and baking soda and let them take that home. The baking soda causes gas and they explode. Ooooh! Messy.

  3. Linda says:

    Splenda works similarly.

  4. Kerry Brown says:

    No bait needed, just sprinkle some Borax Washing Soda powder around the perimeter and across their trails. Immediately effective. Plus this stuff can be used to wash surfaces and clothes and also treat wood. It acts as a mildew and mold killer and preventative. When I do framing on a building I put it on all the sill plates before I close up the walls. No more carpenter ants! Staple item for any homestead’s pantry.

  5. Diane-Nicole L. Hertzler says:

    Really Love it—–a lot of heavy work though. I always used to haul rocks for my garden but age has a way of creeping up and the rocks “seem” to get heavier. LOL. Anyhow I am impressed with the potential coziness and the functionality of that office. Thank you for posting this.

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