Fed up with huge mortgage payments, Simon Dale decided to take matters into his own hands – literally。
Armed with only a chisel, a chainsaw and a hammer, the 32-year-old moved his family to a hillside in Wales and started digging。
The result is a wooden eco-home – constructed in four months and costing just 3,000 – which would look perfectly at ease alongside the Hobbit houses in The Lord Of The Rings。
Mr Dale, who has no experience in carpentry or architecture, created his sustainable family home using scrap wood for floors, materials scavenged from skips and by diverting water from a nearby spring。
And while he was doing the building work, his wife Jasmine Saville and their two toddler children camped in the nearby countryside。
He said: "Being your own have-a-go architect is a lot of fun and allows you to create and enjoy something which is part of yourself and the land rather than, at worst, a mass-produced box designed for maximum profit and the convenience of the construction industry. Building from natural materials does away with producers’ profits and the cocktail of carcinogenic poisons that fill most modern buildings。
The family struck lucky searching for a site for their dream project. In return for looking after the area, the owner of the woods gave them their plot for free。
After digging into the hillside, Mr Dale – with the help of his father-in-law, a builder – first constructed the building’s timber frame。
The roof, which came next, has a layer of straw bales for insulation and is covered with sheets of plastic to make it waterproof. Finally it is covered with a layer of earth, which ensures the house blends perfectly into its surroundings。
Once the outer shell was complete, the family made an interior wall from straw bales stacked on dry-stone walling and staked together with hazel sticks。
Miss Saville, writing on her husband’s website, said: "Some past experience, lots of reading and self-belief gave us the courage of our conviction that we wanted to build our own home in natural surroundings. "
"For us, one choice led to another and each time we took the plunge events conspired to assist us in our mission. There were times of stress and exhaustion, but definitely no reGREts ."
As well as being made from sustainable material the Hobbit house, as it is dubbed by locals, has lime plaster on its walls instead of cement, a compost toilet, a fridge cooled by air from beneath the foundations and solar panels for power。
Mr Dale said: "This sort of life is about living in harmony with both the natural world and ourselves, doing things simply and using appropriate levels of technology."
Since building his house, Mr Dale is following the design to construct the first home in the Lammas Village, Wales’s first eco-development。