Today, here’s a quick look at an outfitter of custom tiny homes out of bucolic Garrett County, Maryland, that specializes in creating pint-sized structures that “speak to the art of the small building movement” while incorporating an impressive amount of reclaimed, recycled, and locally sourced building materials and architectural elements. And given that the design/build firm in question is named Hobbitat and its homes are referred to as “Waldens” — alternately known as “Hobs” — this is one company that clearly wears its literary inspirations on its sleeves.
A relative newbie on the tiny home building scene that’s already received props from tiny house demigod Jay Shafer, Baltimore refugee and historic restoration specialist Bill Thomas and his wife, Sue, established Cranesville-based Hobbitat in the beginning of 2012 as a spin-off of their “normal sized” custom home building business, Blue Sky Ventures. With the creation of Hobbitat, the duo decided to “shank the size of the ‘house’ and move the construction process inside” according to the company website.
Hobbitat offers a highly customized tiny home design/build experience with prices ranging anywhere from $45,000 to $100,000 depending on size, plumbing/electrical requirements, and what reclaimed building materials and architectural hardware is used in the creation of the homes. The painstaking, detail-oriented build process takes approximately six to seven weeks — “we consider them [the structures] as much art as construction and that kind of commitment takes time,” explains the company — and standard features include Andersen thermal windows, foam-based “Cocoon” insulation, plumbing, and a fresh air intake system.
Each energy-efficient structure — they can be ultimately used as full- or part-time residences, in-law apartments, backyard studios, and on and on — is built to stringent Maryland building and energy codes.
As part of a major project that I'll disscuss in more detail below, Hobbitat has lovingly churned out an array of styles that are used to prompt potential clients to think about their individual needs, wants, and requirements as they start in on their own bespoke home building process. The “Funkamatic 513,” for example, features reclaimed chestnut flooring, reclaimed hemlock barn siding, a sleeping loft, and a corrugated metal roof. Another style dubbed “Poverty Barn” boasts recycled German siding, repurposed industrial lighting fixtures, and chestnut and pine flooring salvaged from a store in Pennsylvania.
And then there’s the Blue Moon Rising Center for Sustainable Education. Located near the shimmering centerpiece of Garrett County, Deep Creek Lake, this fledgling eco-tourism retreat doubles as a Hobbitat model community with 13 custom-built Hobs/Waldens currently standing on the property (built specifically for Blue Moon Rising, these cabins are the aforementioned existing styles). Now booking for the fall of 2013, potential Hobbitat clients are invited to visit Blue Moon Rising and “test drive” one of the cabins as a vacation rental unit before embarking on the creation of their very own.
Explains the Blue Moon Rising website:
Bill Thomas and his team carefully crafted the spaces to fully capture what Garrett County Living is all about. While each centimeter of space is as valuable as the next, the design creatively fits the comforts of home into a cabin in the woods. Built in the vein of the tiny home movement, our Waldens provide the best possible use of space for your vacation; a space to rest before your outdoor adventures, and then to relax and reflect afterwards.
Lovely stuff all around.