A Few Pictures for Those Interested

I figured this would be the easiest way for anyone interested to look at some photos! Keep in mind that the Hobbit is awaiting your personal interior finishing touches (Floors, counter tops, trim, paint, tile, and fixtures) Check it out.

 

Changed the lanterns out front. I like these ones a lot better.

16 inches or so from the Nor’easter.

 

 

Happy Father’s Day!!!…..Hmmm…Never heard the Tractor Make that Noise Before

Hello again  free folk of Middle Earth! Especially all you fathers out there. I hope you enjoyed your Father’s  Day. I certainly did. Ethan put together a notebook of nearly all the Construction Blog Posts. What a gift! It was fun looking back on everything we did together. Really fun.

We had beautiful weather in the Northeast this weekend. No news on the selling of the Hobbit house. Patience is a virtue people. Gotta be patient.

Like I said last week the blog is winding down. I’m actually  having trouble loading my pictures into my blog library. Something is wrong and I haven’t had time to figure it out.

So as a Father you’ve kinda sorta have done it all on a number of fronts over the years. You know like cutting the lawn. So as the kids got older they took over the cutting of the lawn for me. But even though they were taking care of it you always have your ears open for strange noises. or sudden stoppages. Especially of the motor. Like when you run over a stone or a log. The motor usually stops with an extremely loud bang when you hit a big rock or tree branch. You’re supposed to go around those things or stop, get off the lawnmower and throw them into the woods. Right???

Yeah that’s right Jim.

Yeah that’s the usual procedure.

So Terence was cutting the lawn. And I’ve never heard a ride on lawn mower actually scream in my 35 or so years of cutting lawns. Not only did the lawn mower scream but it screamed a second time when he started it up again. There’s some sort of English lit. thing about giving physical attributes to inanimate objects.   Not sure what the word is. But when you hear a lawnmower scream like it was a human being you stand up. I was definitely standing! It actually scared the hell out of me. Luckily after all was said and done the mower started again.

And as Terence drove by while I was sipping my Father’s Day gin and tonic I could of sworn I heard the lawn mower say,”Get him off me!”

Weird right?

Have a great week!

Thanks for listening.

Jim

Oh! You Forgot to Pick Up One of the Signs!!!….

All that is gold does not glitter.

Not all who wander are lost.

The old that is strong does not wither.

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

 

Of Aragorn….

 

So. Where were we friends of Middle Earth and other free folk of the civilized world? Oh yeah. Trying to figure a way to avoid being in the same room with my Mother-in-Law. It ain’t easy people. Trust me. I have a plan though. I’ll explain later.

So it really is the end of the line here people. What an adventure. A lot of hard work too I might add. I’d like to thank everyone for tuning in all these years. I hope you’ve enjoyed my sense of humor. Hmmmm. Yeah, maybe not. If I didn’t get through to you on that front I hope that maybe you learned something about the construction process and the fine art of Hobbit House building. I learned quite a bit.

I don’t know if there’s much else left to write about but for those of you keeping up with things the Hobbit House will be featured in JLC (The Journal of Light Construction) magazine in the July issue. It will be on the second to last page of the magazine in the “Backfill” section. Editor Tim Healey stopped by during the open house on May 19th with a camera. He interviewed me and all. Hopefullly that might spur some additional interest in the house. Exciting. Very exciting. We’re also going to be featured in Concrete Home magazine. Not sure when though. I’ll keep you posted.

So selling a Hobbit house is no easy task in case you were wondering. I do have a bunch of little odds and ends to finish to get my final C of O (certificate of occupancy). Our idea was to put out a couple of open house signs and have a couple of people drop by if they’re interested in finding out what a Hobbit house is. You know maybe they take a picture or two and put it on Facebook. Get the word out that there really is a Hobbit House out there. Put it to you this way. A lot of people showed up the last two weekends. What a cast of characters too. All really nice people. Really nice. They all loved the house and what we did. Wish everyone out there could stop by. Pictures really do not do this house justice. It’s way too cool.

Even if I don’t sell it everyone’s response when they see it has been worth it. It’s funny but everyone who comes in has their own ideas about how to finish the insides and what they would do on the outside. There are some really great ideas out there for sure.

So we are going to have a more formal open house next weekend. I put an ad in the Sunday New York Times in the Vacation and Country Properties section. Saturday June 16th from 10-3 if you were wondering. The signage thing is key. If you set it upright you can just lead people right to the house. I mean if they have a curiosity regarding hobbit homes that is. Its funny cause more than a few women have commented that they weren’t interested in the Hobbit when they initially saw it on Zillow. But once they got there and went inside they completely changed there minds. The Hobbit is really cool. The scale of the house is deceiving. It looks small when you see the pictures of it but it is a 1500 square foot house.

So the plan is to bring the grill over to the house and put it on the roof.  You know so if someone wants a hog dog while they’re walking the grounds they can grab a bite to eat. I’ll have my Mother-in-Law man the grill. This way I don’t have to listen to her banter about how she let me use her bathroom for  the last six years. According to her the place never would have gotten finished if it wasn’t for her house near by and Scott tissue paper. Geez. Hopefully she can cook a hot dog on the grill without alienating potential buyers. Hmmm. Maybe I should tell her the open house is Sunday.

That might be a better plan.

To top it all off the Editor and I are driving home from McKinney and the Editor notices one of my Open House signs that is still in place on the side of the road. I tell her to just pull over quick and I’ll jump out and get it. She’s about to stop and then says wait let me pull up it’s too dangerous to stop here. Ok. She pulls up. Then she says the same thing again. OK. Now I’m not just hopping out and getting back in. I wanna say she did this four times. By the time she finally stopped and let me out I had to put running shoes on and shorts. I think I was at least a quarter mile from the sign. I think she did it on purpose because I over ate at dinner. Totally ridiculous.

I really did over eat. I could use the exercize as well.

Have a great week and I hope you are all enjoying summer!

Jim

 

Of Open Houses……

One does not simply walk into Mordor.

Its black gates are guarded by more than just Orcs.

There is evil there that does not sleep.

And the great Eye is ever watchful.

It is a barren wasteland riddled with fire, ash, and dust.

The very air you breath is a poisonous fume.

Not with ten thousand men could you do this.

It is folly…..

 

Boromir talking after the Elf King Elrond tells the Fellowship they must bring the Ring to the Land of Mordor and cast it into the fires of Mount Doom in order to destroy it.

 

Yeah. That was a bit of a heavy lift.

 

Building a Hobbit house the way we did here was a heavy lift as well. A lot heavier than I had imagined. I was looking over my old posts and I had written at the start that I thought it would take about three years to build. Way underestimated that by quite a bit. Who knew Hobbit houses were so difficult to build? Actually, to be honest, the Editor did. She’s more of a realist than I am. I’m a perpetual optimist. Even when I know in my heart of hearts I could have used 10,000 men. Ten would have been more than enough.

So we had our open house Saturday May 19th! Wow what a turnout. The weather was absolutely miserable. Rained all day pretty much non stop. But it was fine. We had a steady stream of people right from the get go at ten. I didn’t leave until almost 530! What an interesting crowd too. Of course we had some Lord of the Rings people show up who were totally into the house. We also had non Ringers, if you will, who were just curious and wanted to see what the inside was like. I bet about one hundred or so people showed up over the course of the day. There were also a number of people who couldn’t make it because of previous engagements as well. But it was fun. A lot of fun and very satisfying for me. I was really proud of showing off the house and letting everybody know that it was built with the help of my wife, sons, my daughter and their friends.

We had a collage of pictures showing the different phases of construction over the course of the last 6 years. The pictures were cool. Man we did a lot of work on this house. It’s hard to even quantify what we did and accomplished. The pictures brought back a lot of memories for me and my family. A lot.

For the record for anyone still interested in seeing the house I know that a number of people will be coming up on Saturday June 2 between 10-2. Also I’m usually there at those hours almost every Saturday so if you really want to get inside the Hobbit just contact me and I’ll give you a tour.

Just a few Hobbit House Open House fun factoids for the record: So we actually had a lot of stuff to get together for this event. You know food, tent, drinks, cups, pastries, yada,yada, yada. This kind of stuff all adds up. So we split the duties up so no one person had to do it all. We’re all pretty busy. I had that Mother-in-Law of mine get the table clothes for the tables under the tent. You know to put the food on. Who knew table clothes for this thing were gonna cost $100 bucks!. Yeah that’s right. One  hundred grand simollions! Of course I wound up giving her cash before hand and when I asked to see the receipt it quote  unquote “Got wet from all the rain”. Yeah right. Then I see her sneaking into McKinney and Doyle with one of her bookclub friends and I’m saying to myself “Little old ladies living off social security don’t have lunch at McKinney!”  They just don’t.

I should have had her clean the septic.

Yeah. Gotta remember that next time.

Anyway like I was saying spread the word that the Hobbit house is for sale via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, carrier pigeon or whatever other way you can for me. That would be really nice, I’d appreciate that.

Oh yeah almost forgot to tell you. A guy from the Journal of Light Construction was at the open house. He took about a gazillion pictures and interviewed me. He said he’s thinking of putting the house in the “Backfill” section. Pretty exciting. I’ll let you all know when it comes out. If and when that is. That would be awesome. A selling feature if you will.

Sorry about the lack of pictures. I didn’t take any this weekend. I think I talked for eight hours straight.

I’d also like to thank everyone who made the long trek in the inclement weather Saturday to come and see the house. I really appreciate the effort you made to get there. I’m glad  you all came. It meant a lot to me. Thank you. Very much.

 

Enjoy your work week!

Jim

 

A Graduation!…..and a Bunch of Pictures

Concealed within his fortress the Lord of Mordor sees all.

His gaze pierces, cloud, shadow, earth, and flesh.

You know of what I speak Gandalf:

A great Eye, lidless, wreathed in flame.

 

The Eye of Sauron.

 

Welcome friends of Middle Earth to another installment of the Hobbit Hollow Construction Blog! Had to get in some Lord of the Rings quotes in there right at the start. There’s no need to explain to those of you who get it. That’s all I’m gonna say.

For the record we were up in the Albany, New York area going to our son Jude’s graduation from Sienna College. And just for the record the ceremony was ridiculously long. Over three hours. Glad that’s over with. That was Sunday. Saturday they had a mass and a cocktail hour afterwords which was really nice. Then we went out to dinner with Jude, Terence, and Ethan. That was a quick 4 years. It really is amazing how fast time flies by. Scary.

Jude did well. We’re proud of him.

Don’t have time for much here though. A couple of pictures.

Railing installed at the stairs on Thursday.
Chimney done and capped.
Jude getting his diploma.

That’s three down one to go for me!

Yeah baby!!!

Walkway stones set.

The chimney looks good right?

Don’t forget the open house is next Saturday the 19th of May!

Have a great week!

Jim

 

Bolt D’Oro……….The Kentucky Derby Picks!

Yeah the Derby. That damn derby. I’ve been payin’ for years and I haven’t seen a nickel. And isn’t always interesting how when you go to OTB (Off Track Betting) and pick up tickets for your sons and daughters you never seem to get that money back….they’re always losing tickets too!

Gonna go for the superfecta only next year. I think it paid out 19,000 on a dollar bet. I’m told if you bet on Justify you owed the house $1.50 on a $1 bet.

We did have the mandatory Derby get together. That Mother-in-Law of mine. Jeez. You wanna hear someone scream at a horse and his rider. I think it was the first time in the history of the Kentucky Derby that a jockey turned completely around in the middle of a race looking for who the hell was screaming at him. And we were in New York mind you. My ears are still ringing.

Bolt D’Oro had to go to the ear doctor after the race. The poor thing.

The construction blog is toast this week. I worked all weekend to tired to continue the blog. I’ll give you the pictures. It’s the best I could do. My apologies.

Chimney nearly complete.
They finished wrapping the skylights as well.
Did the walkway path up to the top of the house’
Started the patio on top. Was 4 pieces shy of finishing. The cable rail is up if you look close.
Got the postcards delivered for the Open house. If you know anyone interested in Hobbit Houses let them know.
Changed the lanterns out front. I like these ones a lot better.

Did a bunch of other stuff as well. Interior lighting, door trim, window shelf, yada,yada,yada. Travis helped put all the electrical outlet covers on and helped clean the outside up. Huge help there. Thanks Trav.

See you all next week!

Jim

 

Salvador Dali…..He’s Not Allowed In

My business is with Isengard….with the rock and stone.

Treebeard

 

My business is with the rock and stone as well. Except I’m not going to be flinging any stones at Orthanc. I’ll be setting them.

 

Apologies to you non Lord of the Rings people out there.It’s just something I thought of after finishing up over at the house. Been laying bluestone for most of the day. Trying to get my walkway paths done before the Hobbit Hollow open house on May 19th. I’ve got a lot to do and laying bluestone is a bit time consuming.

Welcome again friends of old and strangers from distant lands!

I think we’re experiencing the coldest spring on record here in the northeast. Pretty miserable. It is supposed to warm up this week though. Or thank God is more like it. The prediction is 80’s. That would be nice.

I’ve been working like a demon as of late. Or should I say like a demon of the ancient world. ( A reference to Morgoth’s Balrogs in case you were wondering) Anyway I’m gonna keep this short and sweet….I think….Just a rundown of what’s going on over at the house. As I’ve said we got the ball rolling on the bluestone and with the help of Travis and his friend Matt we got quite a bit done. Check it out.

So the idea here was to make the entrance wheelchair accessible so my nephew Luke could get inside. I also didn’t want to make the stone level which would have made the installation easier. I wanted rainwater to run off the stone so I pitched it away from the house at a quarter inch per foot more or less.

Matt and Travis walking the stone out to me.

It’s a slow process because each stone varies in thickness. You have to in a sense custom fit each one.

These are 2′ by 3′ stones. The 2 inch thick ones were heavy. I did a little extra on Sunday.

Walkway up to the Hobbit coming along nicely.

I also trimmed out a door to kind of give the house a finished feel to it.

The stonemason got started on the chimney. It should be completed this week if all goes according to plan.

Chimney started.

The fence guy also installed the cable rail on the roof where the patio is going. It came out really nice but I forgot to take a picture of it.

I also framed out the wall in the mechanical room and sheathed it with plywood. Not sure if I’m going to have to sheetrock this for the building inspector. The electrical inspector said I have to cover the area up….which I was going to do anyway. Makes things nice and neat. Probably going to paint it white for looks.

Foaming the mechanical room wall.

It’s a real spaghetti western back there.

Sheathing the wall.

I was going to put in a note about Salvator Dali. Dali was  a painter who lived around Picasso’s time. We saw some of Dali’s work while we were in Spain. He really wasn’t a painter he was just sick. I had an animated discussion about Dali with Jude and Terence. Well I got  a little animated. Put it to you this way. Salvatore Dali would not be allowed into the Hobbit house even if he offered  all the money in the world.

Don’t know why I put that in here.

Hope you all have a nice week.

See you soon.

Jim

Hobbit Hollow For Sale!!!!!

Yes people the time has finally come! We are going to have a public open house on Saturday May 19th rain or shine from 10am to 4pm! So if you happen to be in the neighborhood or are interested in seeing what a real Hobbit House looks and feels like drop on by. Everyone is welcome and of course there will be food. Hobbits love to eat for all you non Lord of the Ring fans out there. We’ll be serving elevensies, lunch, tea, and supper. Only kidding but we will have sandwiches and a few other things to munch on as long as they last. It really depends on how many Tooks and Brandybucks show up. They tend to eat a bit more than the average Hobbit. If more Boffins and Bagginses show then there should be plenty for everyone. Hmmmm. At least I hope so.

In all seriousness though if you are interested in checking the house out on that date you can email me for the address at jimcostigan@xccllc.com

It’s very exciting. I have a lot to do before that time but we’ll do the best we can to get the house as ready as possible. A nice warm sunny day would be terrific. The next two weeks should see quite a bit of the outside being completed. The bluestone for the roof patio and walkways is getting delivered Wednesday. The stone mason had a bad weather week last week so I’m hoping that we get some decent weather so that he can finish up on the roof. That’s kind of critical for the open house.

Worked on a bunch of things this weekend. I installed the closet doors and had Ethan and my nephew Travis work on clearing and cleaning up the property. It’s a lot of work. I think we have at least another two days on the outside. It’s coming along nice though. Here they are having at it.

Ethan and Travis cleaning up the site.

Travis also helped grade the walkway paths to receive the bluestone.

Grading out the roof patio area for stone.

The young lad did a heck of a job!

I also set up the electric out by the garage area so we have temp power for when we start the garage. I ran a 10/2 wire out there and used a 30 amp breaker in the panel. Tried the skill saw and it seemed to work fine. I could have ran like 4 extension cords to get power but I might not have gotten the juice I need out there. This way my set up is quick and easy.

On another note I had a squirrel get into my attic at home. What a pain in the neck. I don’t have time to get into it right now but I have a trap set on the roof.

Gotta go.

See ya soon.

Jim

Concerning Hobbits

Three Rings for the Elven Kings under the sky,

Seven for the Dwarf Lords in their halls of stone,

Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne,

in the land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

 

One Ring to rule them all,

One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all,

And in the darkness bind them.

 

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

 

Sometimes the winter just brings out the worst in one.  (I hear the weather in the land of Mordor is quite bad.)This weather is just not helping my mood as of late. This coming week is not supposed to be much better. You can’t fight Mother Nature as they say. Ya gotta go with what you’ve got. Ah well.

I started reading the Fellowship of the Ring the other day. The prologue was good. “Concerning Hobbits.” They did a good job in the movie version with this part of the book. I think I read these books when I was in eight grade. Hmmmm. That’s quite a ways back. Terence just read the books and I believe Jude is finishing up the first one as we speak. Tolkien is not for everyone for sure. He can be a bit dry and a little long at times but all the same I’m finding it quite entertaining and I really wish I had more time to read. I wish I had more time for a lot of things.

Don’t we all Jim???

Yes I would say that must be true.

There really isn’t much to talk about this week as far as the Hobbit is concerned. The mason finally got going on the skylight veneer stone. It’s looking good. He gave me a price for the chimney as well which seems good. I’m hoping he can finish in the next week or two. The weather for the coming week doesn’t look to promising as I said earlier. I also got a number for the stair railing at the concrete steps at the front of the house as well as one for the cable rail where the rooftop patio is going to go.  The fence guy says he should be able to get the railing on the rooftop in by the end of the week and the stair rail in two weeks. We shall see. I’m also meeting my excavation contractor to take a look at a bunch of the final site work. And I should be getting my bluestone delivered this week as well for the patio and the walkways.

Next weekend should yield a little more on the picture front. Let me show you what the stone mason started.

Veneer stone going up around the skylight wells.

I finally finished hooking up the hot water heater. It’s a Steibel Eltron Tempra 29 Plus. This is a German engineered hot water on demand unit. So simple and easy to install. Very nice. With the touch of a dial you control the water temperature that the unit delivers.  The display shows you the current temperature that the unit delivers. If it’s not hot enough just turn the dial. It’s nice because you lower the chance of getting scalded by hot water coming out of the faucet. This unit gives you unlimited hot water. There’s no hot water tank that is storing hot water for you. Which is great because now you are not spending energy heating water that you are not calling for. I could have sworn I had a picture of this unit but it’s not there. Oh well. I’ll try to remember to put it in next week.

So my hope is that in the next two to three weeks we will be finishing up things on the outside of the house which will be nice.

On another note check out how fast my son ate this fish when we were in Portugal.

That’s the fish coming out of his big mouth.

Georgia looks on in disgust…… We all kind of did.

Castle tower in Segovia, Spain.

Enjoy your week! Stay warm!

Jim

All That Once Was is Lost…….For None Now Live Who Remember It

Long time no see people. Sorry about missing the last two weeks. I was away in the sunny land of Spain visiting my darling daughter Georgia. We left on a Friday and returned on a Monday. I was thinking at the time of our leaving that I was going to be able to post something before leaving. Clearly that didn’t happen. I guess I’m a perpetual optimist. Don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing. I guess it’s more of a mixed bag if you will. Let’s get going Jim times a wasting…..

Welcome friends of old to the everlasting saga we call the Hobbit Hollow Construction Blog. Yeah. We’re still working on the Hobbit house it’s true. Looks like I’m going to have to turn into an Immortal Elf the way things are going. It certainly has been a long time people. A very long time. Progress continues.

So I guess you were wondering about the title. As I was saying went to visit Georgia over in Spain. I don’t want to bore you too much but we visited a little town called Segovia. Turns out the Romans visited Segovia as well like 2000 years ago and decided to build an aqueduct there. Yes people. It’s still there.Not only is it still there but if you’re into how to build things and know a bit about building things I would have to call this one of the wonders of the world. The aqueduct is about 800 meters long and at its  high point is about 92 feet tall. The Aqueduct brought water from the mountains 13 kilometers away to the Roman fortress/city on a hill in Segovia. The water traveled mostly underground from the mountains via a tunnel system until the end where it needed to span the valley where the city was. How did they build it?……None now live who remember.

Check it out.

the Ancient Roman Aqueduct of Segovia Spain.
Jude, Ethan, and Terence under the pillars of the earth.

Pretty unbelievable that something like this could still be standing almost 2000 years later. These are mortarless joints as well. This reminds me of the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It certainly wasn’t.

This structure brought fresh water to the Roman fortress on the hill. Inside the walled portion of the city is a beautiful cathedral and a castle that is right out of the movies.

If you get a chance to go to Spain. Spend a day or two visiting Segovia. You will not be disappointed.

Had the unfortunate experience of having to take my Mother-in-law out for brunch Sunday. Ever go out to eat with someone who orders something that isn’t even on the menu?  And then actually demands she be served it! Well, that happened this Sunday.

Mother-in-Law: I’ll have the steak and eggs.

Server: Sorry.That’s not being served.

Mother-in-Law: I’ll have the steak and eggs.

Server: Well I can ask if they’ll put that together but that will definitely be quite a  bit extra cause we don’t serve that.

Mother-in-Law: I’ll have the steak and eggs.

The server now looks at me and I can see what’s in the bubble over his head. It cannot be uttered here though. We nodded at each other and later on the steak and eggs came out.

Ya gotta love brunch.

Hey Jim did anybody tell you that you’re supposed to be talking about building a Hobbit house?

Hmmmm. Yeah kinda forgot about that.

Work proceeds as it has. I started hooking up the hot water heater the other day. Very cool little unit. It’s a hot water on demand unit from Germany. It uses (3) 40amp double pole breakers to heat the water. Not sure if that means anything to anyone but that’s a lot of electric.

I also installed the interior doors. While I was away I also had a painter prime the inside of the house and paint the trim on the outside of the house. I also finished the siding on the north side. Check it out.

North side siding now complete.

It took me way longer than I thought to finish this. Over the windows was brutal.

On another note the mason started the finish on the skylights. He poured concrete around the bottom and installed wire mesh around the corners to help stabilize the corners. It was a lot of work.

Wire mesh being installed at the corners.

I also prepped the chimney area for the mason as well. I had to extend a bunch of pipe and wire a couple of electrical boxes that I need him to install into the brickwork.

Chimney area ready for brick.

The big grey pipe is the stale air exhaust for the HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator)

I talked to Scott the mason about tapering the brick at the bottom to make it look a little interesting. I think he got what I want. I’m hoping that in another week and a half the work on the roof will be done.

There’s a long list of little odds and ends that have to be done now. Quite long. I’m back working in Manhattan again so my struggle continues. My hope is to have the house ready to show by the end of May beginning of June. I won’t be finished but I think it will be presentable.

Anybody have any idea when Spring is supposed to get here???? It’s freezing outside!!!!

Have a great week!

Jim