Starting next month, fans of “The Hobbit” can spend $500 a night to crash in a cozy house — complete with a circular entryway and and a “living” roof covered in leafy plants — that looks like it was imported straight from the movie set to the Hudson Valley.
“After I saw ‘Fellowship of the Ring,’ I thought Bilbo Baggins’ house was the coolest house I’d ever seen,” said Jim Costigan, who owns the place with his wife, Jodi. “I went on the web and said, ‘Someone must have built one already,’ and I couldn’t find one. I found people who had ideas, but they clearly weren’t in construction.
“I found myself saying, ‘That’s not how you do it — that’s not how I would do it.’ ”
So Jim, a 35-year veteran of the construction industry who specializes in high-end Manhattan development, decided to build his own version of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins’ Bag End which, according to JRR Tolkien’s much beloved description, is a home that “means comfort.”
“This is my interpretation of a Hobbit house that you can actually live in,” he said of the 1,500-square-foot home which took him, Jodi and their four kids eight years of weekends to build.
And now you, too, can go there and back again: The Hobbit House is hitting AirBnb in September. after serving as the Pawling couple’s summer getaway.
The two-bedroom, two bath home is built into the Earth with two to three feet of soil surrounding its rot-resistant materials. It features four skylights, is ultra-energy efficient and has a system to ensure fresh air is circulated into the home.
“I wanted to make a super energy efficient home sort of to show people there are different ways to build a home,” said Jim, 57. “It’s not Passive House certified, but it’s built to Passive House standards.”
The property, situated on a dead-end street about 90 minutes north of Manhattan in the quiet Dutchess County community of Pawling, includes three patios, a barbecue, a pond and a hot tub.
He’s hoping Tolkien nerds don’t quibble about the details — like how the front door is red, not the famed green one Gandalf tapped upon to start Bilbo on his adventures.
“It was never supposed to be an [exact] imitation of Bag End, so that was never part of the consideration,” said Jim. While Jo allowed a few “Lord of the Rings”-related artifacts to be incorporated, she drew the line at decorating the whole place on theme, saying it wouldn’t appeal to everyone.
And the cost to build it all?
“More than I can stomach!” Jim said, laughing. “I don’t want to divulge it because if my wife finds out she’ll probably kill me.”