Land o’ the Hobbits

The Shire

This is slightly frightening.

I love naive folk art, whimsical artist-built environments that spring up organically from the imagination and houses that are hand-built by eccentrics, like mushrooms growing in the deep forest.

But when this style is misappropriated by marketers, it’s just downright creepy.

Via “The Future of Real Estate Marketing” comes “Hobbit Living in Bend“, a new housing development in Oregon called The Shire, featuring Olde World cottages and an “old world village” made up of faux thatched-roof half-timber medieval buildings.

As my friend Howard Freeman notes, “The Shire: Combining the excitement of DISNEY’s feature film The Lord of the Rings, with the shoddy workmanship characterizing today’s disposable, market rate housing industry”. And since it’s a gated community he also wonders if they’ll have a gate-man with a hunch back or a club foot, just for effect.

Woodland Cottage

For a home of a similar vein, but much more authentic, check out Simon Dale’s home he built for his family, a low-impact woodland home in England.

** UPDATE **

As a follow-up to this post, the nephew of the developer of this subdivision, Drew Meyers, who happens to work for Zillow, wrote a post about The Shire that really helped put a face on the development. His story is sweet and makes the place sound good-hearted and endearing, rather than like some bold calculated marketing plan to pander to kitschy nostalgia-lovers. I had written in the past about cynical developers catering to the tastes of the lowest common denominator (Thomas Kinkade – Painter of Blight), and thought this was something like that, but I think I was mistaken. Good luck to these good folks!

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