Have I ever mentioned that I am a writer? My current project is a work of fantasy. One really fantastic aspect about writing fantasy is you get to create worlds. Sometimes you know exactly what you want, other times you look for inspiration. I find inspiration all around me. For example, Shell House by architect Javier Senosiain can inspire minds looking for bright, vibrant colors and a touch of whimsy.
Did I also tell you that I originally started college as an architect major? My parents were so proud. Apparently, the school accepted very few in this department and I had been lucky enough to make the cut. But it only took me a few classes to realize I didn’t want to spend the rest of my days creating designs for someone else’s company name, working as a drone. I may have left the major, but my love for design never died.
When it came time for me to create a special place for one of my character’s in my second book, I already knew what I wanted – something that worked with the natural environment in which it stood. It’s not hard to see why I was so taken in when I stumbled upon pictures of Simon Dale’s quaint Eco Home. Sure, it’s a little “Lord of the Rings,” but that’s not what I’m going for and my home isn’t hobbit size. I wanted what Simon had with a few minor upgrades – sorry, you’ll have to wait for the book to find out what those are. Take a few minutes and check out this unique beauty.
Simon Dale estimates it took about 1500 man hours/4 months to build this home. He took on the task armed with a hammer and chainsaw. Only scavenged and secondhand materials were used to make it come alive. It’s the natural wood frame and turf roof that draws me to this little gem. He didn’t set out planning such a hobbit style design. It happened organically through the use of natural materials. Simon Dale moved into the home upon completion with his wife and kids. The site and situation had been ideal for their needs. Simon, wanting to keep cost to a minimum had been offered the land free of charge. The owner simply wanted someone to care for the property. Today, Simon and his family have moved on to another exciting project. Could you imagine being the family to move in this little dream after them?
Still looking for inspiration in your art? You don’t need to be a writer for inspiration. Painters, sculptors, sketch artists and more can use a little charge now and again. Check out this collection of unique works of architecture. Maybe you’ll see something you’re looking for. There are some fantastic buildings.
Did you see any particular building that caught your fancy? Maybe something you want represented in your next manuscript or painting? What about the Eco House or Shell House? Have we become too accustomed to central heating and air to consider living in such works of art? Are they nothing more than inspiration at the end of the day?
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33 thoughts on “Where Do We Live – For the Story”
I guess I’m a boring person. I do like the organic house, but my favorite would be the log house in the third video. My dream has always been to own a log house on a semi-private lake. Where my characters live, especially as I get ready to start some YA and fantasy projects with my daughter, is another story. 🙂
I don’t think that’s boring. It’s whatever fits the individual or the story. Each of my stories has a different need. In the first book of my story you won’t find anything like this. You’ll find an average unattractive house, in need of some repair in a small desert community.
Other parts of the story will call for something completely different. This is just one example. I think log house sounds wonderful. I’ve been toying with something similar for a different story that’s currently brewing.
I love the idea of you working on a YA story with your daughter. That’s really special. I plan on writing a MG story for my kids at some point. Already has the title and a rough outline in place.
Sorry…it’s been nuts around my house today so I didn’t finish my response…you should have fun writing an MG story. I haven’t done that but did one for kids probably 4-7. Writing for kids is fun. 🙂
And I can’t wait to start working with my daughter. I think she’ll really get into it. She’s already coming up with good ideas and looking through photos for faces. I like to find pictures of people that look close to what I imagine my characters look like. I don’t know why. I just do. 🙂
I saw that story too. It reminded me of my childhood when I tried to dig my own hobbit hole. Thank you for sharing.
I’m not surprised. It’s an old story, but the pictures inspired some of my work when I got down to the nitty-gritty of homestead planning in some parts.
I think that’s priceless that you tried to dig your own. Sounds like something I might have done had I the tools and place for it. But I was always running off on adventures. LOL They had to send people out looking for me because I like to explore. Just call me Magellan.
The picture was fun to see, and it’ll be exciting to read about the house in your book. But, I would not want to live there myself. It looks cold and I’d be afraid of what would happen to my feet if I lived in a hobbit house. I’ve seen Lord of the Rings. Those hobbits had some big, hairy feet!
I thought the same thing when I saw it – cool, but cold. But then someone (Debra Eve) pointed out to me how most of it is underground and that should keep it insulated. I’m still not sure. The caves I’ve gone in were pretty cold. But it’s neat to look at. I’m always cold these days so I like warm things and the idea of big fury hobbit feet just turns me off.
Too funny, that eco house looks exactly like Bilbo Baggins’.
It’s pretty cute, isn’t it. I’ve seen some pretty amazing ones if you want to find a house that looks like Bilbo Baggins’. This is the economy version. 😀
Interesting Debra! I too love architecture. I used to draft homes along with my husband and then we’d build them and I’d decorate them. Love it. And my husband really misses it. But now we’re in a huge life change because of his accident. Even though I don’t write fantasy, I think that whatever the genre, even in our own lives, we create to some degree our own worlds. 🙂
I used to draft houses all the time. Especially before I dropped out of the architecture program. I had designed my own home, complete with amazing garage to house the large collection I planned to own. LOL Anyway… that was a lifetime ago. I agree, we all create to a degree. Some more than others. It depends on if you are keeping to the rules of this world or breaking them and creating your own rules.
I soooo like my traditional home. It has insulation in the walls to keep me warm in the Canadian winters that we usually have (this year has been an amazingly dry, warm year in Calgary). And I agree with Emma about their feet – no thank you. Thanks for the chuckle and a nice break to my day.
You’re welcome Louise. 🙂 I, too, have an affinity for warmth. I find myself feeling the need to bundle up more often these days. I’m happy that I can step into the hall and crank up the heat rather than try to fan the flame.
You had me at the Shell house, Debra. I’d seen outside pictures of it before, but never indoor images of the actual layout (I thought the bedroom felt too exposed personally). As for Simon’s Eco-house, I’ve read that it actually maintains heat quite well. Though I would be worried about water seepage… It doesn’t look well protected from the shifts of freezes and thaws.
Thank you for posting a piece that echoes both with my love of worldbuilding and my love of design.
Sorry for the late reply, Eden. Timing is everything. My computer crashed Friday morning. I’m only now getting it back up and running. I agree with you, the bedroom left something to be desired. I suspect the designer was going for a minimalist look. But I think we could have done something more with it soften it some. I fear if I lived all that green might start to have a tinge of brown around the edges. Eek! I’ve heard the same thing about the Eco-house, as far as heat goes. I hadn’t given water seepage much thought until now, but I can definitely see that being an issue. I’ve had my fair share of trouble in that area when camping no matter how well we thought we prepared and lined, etc.
You are most welcome, Eden. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
Green and brown go together well… I was thinking green and blue, but yeah, I see possibilities. Sorry about the computer crash. You are so right, timing IS everything…
He he he. I meant the brown on the plants. I have a black thumb. All the green in that open area wouldn’t look so green if I was in charge. LOL In the bedroom – Definitely, green and blue. Although, I do have chocolate brown pillows behind my indigo blue in my living room and it’s rather nice. Thank you for your kind words regarding my computer crash. When my husband opened his computer he got the same virus attack. I wonder if I sent it to him via file share. Hmm. Oops. It was a seriously ugly beast!
What cool videos! People who are creative, whether painters, songwriters, authors, architects, usually appreciate all types of art. This was a fun way to incorporate your love of architecture into your writing.
w/a Jansen Schmidt
Thank you, Patricia. I am happy you enjoyed it.
Your post made me think of my aunt and uncle’s house. It’s insulated with recycled tires. I agree with Patricia… I always love seeing writer’s passions turn up in their writing. And places have certainly inspired me. Great post, lovely!
Your aunt and uncle’s house sounds pretty cool. What a great way to recycle old tires! I remember reading about a house like that once. It wouldn’t have been theirs, would it? 😀 I grew up next to a house a guy built out of all kinds of things. It looked like a small old castle and sits on a corner. It even has a large wooden arched door at the entry. He sometimes gives tours for the local kids and I remember going with my church when I was rather young. There is one room made exclusively out of empty glass soda bottles. It always inspired me. Thanks for sharing, August.
I love that video, Debra. I get so excited seeing various types of architecture, especially the unusual ones.
The very first house in the video was from my country and there was another one from Poland as well – the crooked house. I blogged about that one a year or two ago. Other fun structures caught my eye too: the pod house, the bubble house, the organic one (a.k.a. Bilbo’s house) to name a few. I’m saving this video to watch it again tomorrow 🙂
I’ll have to search your blog for the post! I’d love to see more about the crooked house. I was curious about the plane as I heard one was placed in the canyon not far from us. I wondered if that was it or another one. But I find the other buildings much more interesting, myself. The ones that took some imagination in the design. That’s what I like to see. I’m so pleased you found the videos inspiring. 🙂
The Nautilus is my favorite, and I really loved how they integrated the curves and divisions. Great videos and post! I write about where and what I know, so I’ve set my two novels in places I’m very familiar with, Seattle and San Diego. 🙂 I love to use settings that will make locals go “Oh yeah! I know that place!”
It’s smart to write about what you know. You can make it more believable that way. Mine seem to tell me where they want to be. I started out thinking it was going to be in one location because that’s what I know, but when I was driving down the highway with the hubby one day we passed this town and something in my head snapped. A little voice told me, “This is the place.” I had to go home and make some changes, but it made the story so much better. I think the story knows what it needs. 😉 The rest is – well – it’s fantasy! I get to make up my world.
Very cool! I had a little fun designing a special room in my character’s house for EM#1 with a Koi pond and bridge indoors.
That sounds lovely Angela! I’ve dreamed of rooms like that for myself. With someone else to care for the pond, of course. LOL
See, I’m the type of person who’d love living in a hobbit house, so that would be right up my alley. I don’t write fantasy…not yet anyway…so I’ve never used visual prompts, but you got me thinking about how to integrate that process into non-fiction. Btw..I removed the word verification function on the blog, in the attempt to make it easier to comment, and with the desperate hope that it helps you with your commenting plight. *crosses fingers* If it doesn’t work, I’m so ready to blame this on Blogger…ugh.
I would imagine visual prompts could still help you, just a different type of visual. But I can’t say for sure. I’m such a visual person. Always have been. And, OMG! (Valley girl here) I was so able to post on your blog yesterday. It was a miracle. The clouds parted and heavenly light shown down from above! Angels even sang “Glory to God!” 😀 I’m such a bugger.
Totally cool. That hobbit house had me at the first beam. I would love to live there. You know, I bet it’s cozy in the winter and cool in the summer with nature providing the moderate temps. What a cool post!
Thanks, Tameri! Wouldn’t that be a cool place to at least visit. Like a little B&B! Role play for a weekend in the name of research. LOL
Sadly my iPad didn’t want to download the images, Debra, but I enjoyed your descriptions of the pictures. I love to look at pictures for inspiration. You look and look and all of a sudden one justs grabs your attention and won’t let go, doesn’t it?
Ah. I have the same problem with videos on my iPad. Sorry you missed them, Sheila. They really are lovely. But it’s true, we can be so taken in by something that it just wraps itself around us in such a manner that we can’t seem to shake it. Is that the beginning of inspiration or madness?