Inspired by the success of the Hawaii treehouse she built for $11,000, Kristie Wolfe began searching for land to build a “Hobbit”-inspired village. Knowing that there is land to be found for cheap in this country (she bought her Hawaii property for $8000), she began to search the Northwest for sites.

Building your own Hawaii minimal house for a vacation’s cost

“There’s a lot of land everywhere, if you look on craigslist, if you look on zillow, you can find property so it’s not really that there’s not a lot. The issue is with property that’s in my price range- I’m looking for property that’s $10,000 to 20,000- usually there’s a reason why it’s cheap, it’s either an easement problem or you have to drive through a crappy neighborhood… but if you’re wanting to be off-grid, it opens up a whole world of selections, there’s a ton out there.”

Wolfe paid $18,000 for 5 acres on a hillside above Lake Chelan, Washington. Being a couple miles down a dirt road, there was no option to be on the grid so Wolfe put in a solar panel, septic and a water tank (filled by truck for now) and began to dig the first of her underground homes.

At 288 square feet, Wolfe’s “tiny house in the shire” was over the maximum square footage allowed for an un-permitted build so she went to the county for approval. With only hand-sketched plans on graph paper, she was able to get a permit.

The structure went up in a few days “with a lot of help from family and friends” and it was “wrapped and roofed” in a few weeks and then Wolfe finished the interior on her own.

Inspired by the “Hobbit” books, films and cartoon (from 1977), Wolfe wanted to recreate the cozy feel of a hobbit hole. “Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole and that meant comfort.”

Rather than buying expensive custom details, Wolfe got creative. She used the top of an old cable spool – scavenged for free long before the build- as a round door. To create round windows, she hid secondhand ($10) square windows behind repurposed circular mirror frames. For a very unique cordwood floor, she cut scraps of wood (found beside the road and old firewood) into into one-inch-thick pieces glued down with a heavy construction adhesive and grouted by hand (again thanks much help to friends and family).
Wolfe has broken ground on the 2nd and 3rd hillside homes. She doesn’t plan to change much of her design except to make the windows larger. The completed “village” will include an above-ground communal kitchen built to look like a thatched-roof English-style pub.

Filming credit: Ivan Nanney-

[Kristie’s “Tiny House in the Shire” rents on Airbnb]

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33 Replies to “Kristie Wolfe builds underground home & sets rural WA hamlet”

  1. I remember when this house and the treehouse in Hawaii vids Kirsten did for this lady were way under 50,000 views. I've followed the vacancy rates of her places on airbnb over the years from time to time when I remember to and all of her (and her partners' places) are typically booked out and making a small fortune. This ended up being great advertising now that viewership is well over 9 million. Nice business this woman has going for her and her partners. It also shows that on airbnb, vrbo, etc. creative and unique dwellings are in demand. With some knowledge, a relatively and comparatively minimal and smartly researched investment plan in the land and structure, and some sweat equity, you're golden. I like the vision of responsible entrepreneurship that creative minds like hers can engender in this world. It reminds me of some of the great treehouses I've stayed at in the Amazon basin in years gone by…not only making a dwelling fit in but merge with its natural environment and become a backdrop, or scaffold, if you will, for the natural environment itself as well, as it continues to grow.

  2. Hi. I just found you on you tube. I'm 41 yr old dude in waco. I like ur art. I like your style. Keep on creating girl. You are very ,,,,very ,,,good at it. You should do more furniture and resin projects. I built your storage bed . . Kinda.. and I want to do a resin project like your live edge project, and the texas top thing was real cool.. 🙂

  3. What a great build and the house is great too. Just a thought, Large round concrete Storm Water Pipe Sections, Block up the back end and waterproof and backfill, the front has a door and windows. Level concrete / wooden floor. quicker and stronger. Maybe! :-))

  4. Get this woman to build anything a treehut or a henhouse and have her do it in summer not winter and you''ll have millions of views and lots of your male viewers will be very happy for the next 3 months.

  5. This is gorgeous and very inspiring, but my brain won't stop wondering about how bad bugs/spiders would be in a place like that. It's probably not even a real issue, but my fear of spiders is strong! 😂

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