Saturday, April 6, 2013

The hobbit hole

Spring has sprung, and I'm feeling myself beginning to come out of hiding, like my crocuses coming up in the front yard.  The drama of my home-reno-gone-awry has finally subsided, and Ned and the new crew are making up for lost days.  Even with the snow in March, my Memorial Day deadline actually looks like a possibility, and with that in mind, I have finally started to think about how we are going to utilize the new space outdoors.

Living on the edge of Boston, we do not have a big piece of property.  In fact, what we do have for land is actually an inverted hill sloping towards the house, with another house behind us but only 20 feet higher.  For years we contemplated whether to remove the hill and make it a big yard, or instead to dig into the hillside and create a hobbit hole.  

I haven't had a big backyard since I was a kid.  I've lived in a city for the past 20 years, and balconies and courtyards are part of the charm of urban living.  The engineering alone to remove the hill was a ridiculous expense that involved lots of retaining walls, drainage concerns and safety issues.  In the end, knowing that our kids would spend more time playing soccer on a soccer field than in the confined space at home, we decided to turn what little yard that we do have into usable, livable space, and go for the hobbit hole.  Or even better, The Cabana.

This has been a consistent theme for me.  Back in June 2011, I wrote a post entitled Rooms Without Walls (  And last year, I told you of how we captured the space off our bedroom as shown in My Urban Oasis post dated 6/22/12  This latest phase (and hopefully last phase) will add a much-needed mudroom onto the house, another deck with the same details found in My Urban Oasis, a patio, and a 4-season outdoor kitchen/mancave.  There will also be a raised vegetable garden, a small grassy area for the kids to juggle the ball, and a play structure.

Stay tuned for the details as we get closer.  We are definitely playing the hi-low game here with an Ikea kitchen, butcher block countertops, and furniture from One Kings Lane, Overstock and Wayfair mixed in with sophisticated lighting, bluestone, glass tiles, custom millwork, and natural stone walls (though they will be capped with Techo Bloc slabs).  The tongue-and-groove siding goes up next week, so I'll scout some shots and begin to show you the pieces as we put them together - Definitely a more modern take than what's inside...