CLOSE
Courtesy of Steve Michaels
Courtesy of Steve Michaels

The Lord of the Rings Fans Can Now Own Their Very Own Hobbit House

Courtesy of Steve Michaels
Courtesy of Steve Michaels

The Lord of the Rings fans don’t have to travel all the way to New Zealand to experience the Shire, thanks to Steve Michaels. The Montana resident is the proprietor of the Hobbit House, a cozy abode modeled after the tiny creatures’ hillside dwellings. Once a private guest home, Travel + Leisure reports that the residence is now for sale, giving LOTR lovers the chance to live their Middle Earth fantasies in full.

“The Shire of Montana,” as Michaels refers to his entire property, is located in Trout Creek, Montana, about three hours from Spokane, Washington by car. It comes complete with 20 acres of rural land that's dotted with miniature fairy houses, a troll house inside a 700-year-old redwood, and tinier hobbit homes that “belong” to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. A home for Stevo Baggins sits near the driveway, and a “River Shire"—which Michaels constructed from a well—trickles in the background.

As for the Hobbit House, it’s built into a hillside and is mostly underground. The home is far more spacious than Bilbo Baggins’s fictional nook: It has two bedrooms, a full bathroom, a kitchen, a dining area, and a living room. There’s also an outdoor deck (perfect for meade-fueled summer gatherings).

It looks like Michaels is selling the Hobbit House along with its custom-made juniper furniture and other LOTR-inspired decorations (including wizard hats and a gold ring that dangles on a string from a rafter). That said, future owners aren’t allowed to rent the home out, which may dash some entrepreneurs’ dreams of running their own hobbit-themed B&B.

The Shire of Montana is currently on sale for $595,000. You can learn more about it here, and check out the pictures below.

All photos courtesy of Steve Michaels.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
Buckingham Palace Was Built With Jurassic Fossils, Scientists Find
iStock
iStock

The UK's Buckingham Palace is a vestige from another era, and not just because it was built in the early 18th century. According to a new study, the limestone used to construct it is filled with the fossilized remains of microbes from the Jurassic period of 200 million years ago, as The Telegraph reports.

The palace is made of oolitic limestone, which consists of individual balls of carbonate sediment called ooids. The material is strong but lightweight, and is found worldwide. Jurassic oolite has been used to construct numerous famous buildings, from those in the British city of Bath to the Empire State Building and the Pentagon.

A new study from Australian National University published in Scientific Reports found that the spherical ooids in Buckingham Palace's walls are made up of layers and layers of mineralized microbes. Inspired by a mathematical model from the 1970s for predicting the growth of brain tumors, the researchers created a model that explains how ooids are created and predicts the factors that limit their ultimate size.

A hand holding a chunk of oolite limestone
Australian National University

They found that the mineralization of the microbes forms the central core of the ooid, and the layers of sediment that gather around that core feed those microbes until the nutrients can no longer reach the core from the outermost layer.

This contrasts with previous research on how ooids form, which hypothesized that they are the result of sediment gathered from rolling on the ocean floor. It also reshapes how we think about the buildings made out of oolitic limestone from this period. Next time you look up at the Empire State Building or Buckingham Palace, thank the ancient microbes.

[h/t The Telegraph]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Ker Robertson, Getty Images
arrow
architecture
5 Scrapped Designs for the World's Most Famous Buildings
Ker Robertson, Getty Images
Ker Robertson, Getty Images

When an architect gets commissioned to build a skyscraper or a memorial, they’re usually not the only applicant for the job. Other teams of designers submit their own ideas for how it should look, too, but these are eventually passed over in favor of the final design. This is the case for some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks—in an alternate world, the Arc de Triomphe might have been a three-story-tall elephant statue, and the Lincoln Memorial a step pyramid.

GoCompare, a comparison site for financial services, dug into these could-have-been designs for Alternate Architecture, an illustrated collection of scrapped designs for some of the most famous structures in the world, from Chicago's Tribune Tower to the Sydney Opera House.

Click through the interactive graphic below to explore rejected designs for all five landmarks.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios